How to grow the Mediterranean stone pine (Pinus pinea) from seeds

pine seeds
Unpeeled pine seeds

The natural range of the Mediterranean stone pine, Italian stone pine or simply stone pine (Pinus pinea) extends from southern Europe to Western Asia (Lebanon). It can grow over 20 meters tall, but remains much smaller as a container plant.

Its seeds the pine nuts are an important ingredient in the classic Mediterranean sauce “pesto alla genovese”. They can also be eaten raw, and not only do they taste good, but they also contain unsaturated fatty acids and selenium.

pine nuts
Pine nuts from Pinus koraiensis (Korean pine)

Unpeeled seeds must be used to grow small pine trees. Seeds from the supermarket will not germinate.

Soak the seeds before sowing for about 24 hours.

Pine seeds germinate

The substrate should be permeable, a mixture of soil and sand is suitable. The sowing depth is two to five centimeters. Keep the soil evenly moist.

At 64 to 72 °F (18 to 22 °C) it takes three weeks for the first seeds to germinate. The location should be bright but not in the hot summer sun.

pine seedlings
Stone pine seedlings about four weeks after germination.

When the young pine trees have reached a height of about five centimeters, they can be placed on the balcony or the terrace. However, they must be slowly accustomed to direct sunlight.

young pines
About three months old stone pines.