How to Grow Cypress Trees From Seed

Written by nancy wagner
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How to Grow Cypress Trees From Seed
Bald cypress grow from seeds kept cold and moist for 90 days. (cypress image by Przemyslaw Malkowski from

Cypress trees offer a wealth of benefits, including adding variety to the landscape and providing habitat for a variety of wildlife. One type of cypress tree you can plant from seed includes the bald cypress. While bald cypress grows in southeastern swamps, you can plant bald cypress seedlings in other places with normal or dry soil. The key to sprouting the seeds involves keeping them moist and in a cool place for several months before planting.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Seeds
  • Plastic bag
  • Vermiculite
  • Refrigerator
  • Small pots
  • Potting soil
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Gather seeds from a mature bald cypress cone. Mature trees produce seed every year with the best seeds produced at three-year intervals. You'll find the seeds at the base of each scale. Seeds reach .25 inches in length and look irregular in shape.

  2. 2

    Fill a plastic bag with vermiculite. Moisten the vermiculite with water.

  3. 3

    Add the cypress seeds to the vermiculite, making sure the seeds are buried. Since the seeds will not sprout while in the vermiculite, you can place several dozen seeds in the plastic bag as long as all of the seeds are kept deep in the moist vermiculite.

  4. 4

    Seal the plastic bag, and place it in a refrigerator. Keep the bag in the refrigerator for at least three months.

  5. 5

    Remove the plastic bag from the refrigerator after a minimum of 90 days. Separate the seeds from the vermiculite.

  6. 6

    Plant the seeds in small pots filled with potting soil. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. Place the pots in a sunny location, and keep the soil moist while the seeds sprout and start to grow. The plants will continue to grow for several months before they're ready to plant outdoors.

  7. 7

    Choose a site outdoors to plant your seedlings with the site containing well-drained, moist soil. Add sand or clay to the soil, if required, to create a moderate, acidic soil. Make sure the site gets plenty of sunlight.

  8. 8

    Plant the seedlings in your prepared site, making sure to allow room for them to expand. Keep the seedlings watered since they require lots of moisture to grow.

Tips and warnings

  • Plant cypress seeds after the last spring frost; allow time for the seeds to stay in cold storage for at least three months prior, and then allow several months for the seeds to become big enough to plant outdoors.
  • Make sure you choose an outdoor site that gives the plant plenty of room to grow.
  • Avoid planting bald cypress seeds in shallow limerock or hardpan.

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