Water and Sunlight. Luck and time. Ancient Redwoods grow to enormous heights but it takes hundreds of years. Through photosynthetic processes they can thrive quite well even in cold climates.
If you are trying to grow your own it can be somewhat tough. They produce six to eight million seeds per year in cones but 95% of them are not viable. They need to be dried and picked around December or January preferably. After a few weeks as the cone begins to open you plant it. These plants are not recommended for a suburban neighborhood. They grow enormous root systems and can grow 120-150 feet during a person’s lifetime (fifteen stories high). It can be very dangerous. That being said here are 4 tips from a redwood growing website:
Directions (these apply also to Dawn Redwood and Giant Sequoia):
1. Plant at least 20 redwood seeds shallowly in a cardboard or peat pot using clean potting soil. Plant shallowly because the seeds need light in order to germinate. The germination rate is only 5%.
2. Place the pot in a plastic bag and seal it with a rubber band.
3. Keep MOIST in a cool area with indirect light, no sun. Seeds must not become dry during the germination period but do not over-water.
4. When the tree is a few inches tall plant the pot and all in a larger container with more potting soil. Don’t overwater but keep the tops misted; remember, they normally live in a rain forest.
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