I want to open with two thoughts: First, I’d like to think that having a green thumb is a skill you can learn and second, even though sequoia trees are only found on America’s west coast I’d like to think they can grow anywhere (within geographical reason).
With these two thoughts, I want to introduce the point of this post: to help you grow your own sequoia tree! It’s really simple I promise and as long as you don’t live in an incredibly different geographically climate than America’s west coast, growing a redwood tree is a definite possibility.
STEP 1 GATHER YOUR MATERIALSTo start with you’ll need sequoia seeds, dirt, and a pot so it’s a pretty simple endeavor! There are three different kinds of redwood trees though so you have options as to what kind of giant redwood you want to grow.
Sequoiadendron giganteum – also known as the giant redwood, is the largest of the redwood trees
Sequoia sempervirens – also known as the coastal redwood, is the tallest tree in the world
Metasequoia glyptostroboides – also known as the dawn redwood, the fastest growing of the redwoods
Once you have decided which kind of redwood tree you’d like to grow you just need to acquire the seeds. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where they grow wild, great! If not there are many tree farms you can order a packet of seeds from and in my experience they come with a great success of sprouting.
STEP 2 PREPARE FOR PLANTING
The seed package will generally come with instructions for preparing the seeds for planting. The redwood tree seed needs to first be soaked in water for 24 hours and then refrigerated for a month before being planted. These steps essentially prepare the seed for the elements it would experience in nature to stimulate it’s growing ability once it was planted.
In addition, keep in mind any extra seeds you may not plant should be kept in their packet and refrigerate for long-term storage.
STEP 3 PLANT THE SEED
Once you have done all the preparation steps for the seed, you should plant the seed about an 1/8th inch into the dirt. It’s important to consistently water the seed and keep it in a warm environment until it sprouts.
You can opt to create a greenhouse for the plant while waiting for it to sprout, which may lead to a quicker germination, or just keep it in a warm location. Either way, the average germination time for a sequoia seed is 21 days. It’s important to note you don’t need sunlight to sprout the seed, it just needs to be consistently warm.
STEP 4 CARE FOR YOUR SEEDLINGAfter the seed is sprouted you can feel proud because getting a sequoia seedling is the toughest part of growing a redwood! It may take several different seeds to be planted before you get a seedling, and because the germination time is so long I’d recommend planting several pots so you don’t have to wait another three weeks if your first attempt doesn’t sprout. It’ll be an awe-inspiring experience when you see the little sequoia seedlings and imagine that it can eventually turn into one of the world’s largest trees.
Once it is sprouted, keeping the seedling watered and with access to plenty of sunlight is very important for its continued growth. Since sequoia trees are native to a temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest that doesn’t get too warm or too cold, you must be careful about where to place your seedling. You can opt to keep it in a greenhouse as it grows to a larger sapling or you could put it outside to gain maximum sunlight and exposure to temperature fluctuations that could help it feel like it’s in its native climate (though if you live in an area with significant cold/warm temperatures it is important to keep your seedling indoors through these temperature extremes), and you can also keep it inside within view of a window with good sunlight exposure.
Sequoia trees are slow growers so whatever method you intend to employ it will be a long-term commitment until the seedling turns into a sapling. I have used both the indoor and outdoor and they have both worked equally.
STEP 5 KEEP UP WITH YOUR TREEAs your sequoia tree continues to grow bigger make sure you’re keeping it watered, giving it access to sunlight, and house it in a large enough pot for it to grow. It’s a fun experience to watch the seedling grow over the months.
I’d encourage you to take a picture every month of the seedling to track its growth. You’ll be amazed to see how it grows over time! Depending on how fast your tree grows and the size of the pot you started your seedling in you’ll want to replant it into a larger pot once you see it starting to outgrow its current pot. A good indicator is if the branches of the tree spread out past the width of the pot.
Make sure that when you do transplant your tree you break up the roots slightly. This way the roots are stimulated to grow and reach out into the new soil. It’s also important to fertilize and water in the tree as well following the move.Since redwood trees are the world’s tallest tree it would make sense at some point that you want to get it into the ground so it has the opportunity to grow to its potential. As a rule of thumb, you want to wait til the tree becomes a sapling at about two years old before it can handle being outside year-round in most climates.
Growing trees, in general, is a pretty great experience and not only is it enjoyable for you and your family to watch it grow, but it’s beneficial for nature too so it really makes sense to give it a try!