Growing a Cork Oak Indoors

loctanJanuary 26, 2012

So I found some Cork Oak acorns last year and decided to plant them indoors because I'm in zone 7b and didn't think they would do well outside. I have two that germinated over a year ago and yet one is 6.5 in and the other is maybe 4 in. Is this normal? How much growth should I expect? They are indoors in Miracle Grow potting soil. I throw a Miracle Grow stick ever few months.

They are otherwise green and healthy. Its just that the trunk is extremely thin and they aren't growing very quickly. In contrast, I planted an avacado tree at the same time and it's now over 3 ft tall. It gets sun only from the window. I'm having problems finding information online so any information would be appreciated. Thanks

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Sounds like it needs more sun. And probably also a deeper pot to accomodate its taproot.

Keep it cold in winter - an unheated greenhouse would be fine. It'll tolerate temperatures down to around -10 to -15*C. Conversely, a heated house in winter won't be good for it.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Those types of potting soils aren't all that great for oaks. They probably keep the roots too moist. Cork oaks need pretty dry and or well drained soils that that are kept on the dry side. It needs to be outside too. Just bring it in when the weather is bad.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:44PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i have grown acorns in straight bark .. that is how important high drainage is to the oaks i know.. so i agree your potting media is potentially problematic ...

and i do NOT know this oak ...

now.. it seems to me.. the only problem is your expectations .. for tree growth ...

if i understand.. it went from a one inch acorn to 6.5 inches in its first season .. it its annual growth rate as a percent was 650% ... i will yell ... WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT ????

hundreds of acorns plant themselves in my sand.. and if they get 4 inches tall and 4 leaves the first year.. that is perfect.. and if they MAYBE double that the second year.. yippee ... and if they make it to 18 inches the third year.. wow ...

instead of thinking of it as a tree.. and how babe trees grow .. your expectations seem to be along the lines of perennials/shrubs ... and frankly.. trees from seed simply do not grow that fast ...

its alive.. its a tree.. relish your success.. and quit stressing your child for under-performing .. lol

and it is a tree.. and it does need to go outdoors ... and you better start figuring out what to do with the zone inappropriate tree ... for the next 100 years ... it will not succeed with vigor indoors ... you claim z7.. and are fooling with a z9/10 [see link] .. its fun.. but where is the reality in this????

good luck


ps: this link says:

The cork tree is an evergreen, keeping its leaves in winter. The tree grows very slowly, adding less than a foot of new growth per year. The bark grows equally slowly and the first harvestable cork, known as virgin cork, is usually not taken until the tree is over 25 years old. The tree will grow in zones 9 or 10 within the United States, preferring the warm, dry climate of southern California.

===>>> and keep in mind.. the one foot per year.. is on an established tree.. not a seedling ...

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 9:24AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Quercus suberin has a much wider range than is mentioned in that article. I remember reading (somewhere) about established, harvestable trees in New Jersey and Maryland. I've seen them in Virgina, and South Carolina. They were introduced to N. America in the 1700s.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 12:39AM
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