How to Grow Sequoia Trees from Seed

Have you ever wanted to grow your own Giant Sequoia or California Redwood Tree?

In this article, follow along my journey as I grow two types of Sequoia:

California Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens – also known as Coast Redwood) and Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum).

Sequoia Sempervirens – is the tallest tree in the world and thinner than its rival Sequoiadendron Giganteum).

These seeds are dark and reddish in color and look like this:

Sequoiadendron Giganteum are still very tall, but these trees have a thicker base (like the kind you may have seen people driving through).

The seeds are lighter in color and sort of look a little bit like oatmeal.  Here’s a photo:

I recently ordered a fresh batch of seeds from The Banana Tree, an exotic seed company that has been around for decades.  A wonderful company I highly recommend.

This is my first attempt to grow them in many years.  The last time I tried, I had one seedling that survived but was eaten by a slug overnight!  🙁

I have just planted two batches of each kind in a small pot with 25 seeds each.  I used a sand/loam soil mixture, specifically Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus soil.

In the past I used standard potting soil and had no problems, but a sandy, well drained mixture should provide better results.

Provide bright light and keep warm – ideal temperature around 68 degrees.

In the wild, sequoia seeds that have the best germination rate are ones that have fallen to the ground before the last snow and are slightly covered by soil.  Seeds on the surface exposed to too much sunlight may not make it.

How Long Do Sequoia Seeds Take to Germinate?

Typically, sequoia seeds will usually germinate in 3 to 4 weeks.  They usually have a low germination rate, however, there are a few tricks (such as stratification) you can use to speed up the process.

For advanced gardeners, please see this detailed scientific report on how to improve germination: Seed Germination of Giant Sequoia by Lauren Fins, University of Idaho.

When they do sprout, the seedling should initially look like a blade of grass with a beautiful green color.

My Sequoia Seedling Journal

I have officially planted both California Redwood and Giant Sequoia with 25 seeds of each in two pots as pictured below.  After this photo was taken I added a slight amount of soil on the top.  They were planted on July 9, 2019.

Please keep this article bookmarked and I will update it with new photos and information once the seedlings sprout.

Update: July 26, 2019 – First sequoia seedlings have finally started coming up from the soil!  As mentioned in a report I read from a university, the seedlings will first look like an upside down “U”.  The root will be in the ground, and the initial opening leaves will also be in the soil which results in the “U” appearance.

The day after they looked like this:

Giant Sequoia Seedlings
Giant Sequoia Seedlings (Sequoiadendron giganteum)

Currently, there are about 5 Giant Sequoia seedlings that are alive and well.  None of the California Redwood seeds have sprouted yet, but will keep my fingers crossed.

So, it looks like it took a little more than 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate – which is a week or two less than expected.

In the next day or two I will move them to a safer, stable environment to maximize the chances of keeping them alive.

Stay tuned, for the next update in a week or so…

While waiting, be sure to read this related article: Can I Grow a Sequoia in My Backyard?

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