which redwood is the easiest to grow?

BoskoSLOMay 5, 2014

Hello people!

I'm in search for an answer for which redwood tree is the easiest to grow at my home? Few weeks ago I tried with giant sequoias. A few germinated and died after 1 week. I think because of the fungi disease. Then I was wondering my self. I knew that there are more types of redwood trees around but which one besides the giant sequoia is the easiest to grow and is more tolerant to diseases, soil or temperatures? As far as I know is that there are at least 6 or more giant sequoias already growing in my country and the tallest is around 50m in heigh in the city "Kranj-Slovenia" So i'm sure that all other redwood trees should be able to grow in my country "I live near the alps where summer can get hot and winters very cold and I have enough sun light over the day because I don't live behind a mountain".

Oh and I'm kind of new to the growing trees or any sorts of plants at my home. So i'm not a professional gardener.

I'm grateful to every answer you give me. Because I'm very interested in growing my own trees from seeds.

Have a nice day!

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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Sounds like you are in the colder parts of Slovenia. If you were right by the Adriatic you could probably grow the coastal redwood (Sequoia semprevirens).
So you are limited to "big tree", the interior species: Sequoiadendron. Damping off of newly germinated seed is a problem that can possibly affect practically anything, from tropical orchids to hemiboreal Larches, so don't feel too bad about losing your first try. You just have to correct the conditions, possibly use a fungicide, and try again. Increase air circulation, water less, etc. Read the wikipedia article.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:06AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Just looked at your weather stats. (or nearby)


It's a little milder in winter, but much wetter than I expected. Apparently you're in that band at the southern perimeter of the Alps - starting in the much milder Lake Maggiore area - that has heavy year-round rainfall due to the clash of humid Mediterranean air and cold alpine air. So your summers are very wet. That puts you between a rock and a hard place with regards to "redwoods". Although your summers are mild by US standards, 79/59, I'm concerned such a moist atmosphere is going increase the likelyhood of foliar diseases on Sequoiadendron. OTOH, if the 50 year low there is -23C/-10F, you are somewhat borderline for Sequoia semprevirens (coastal redwood), although some hardier ones have surely survived that on the US east coast like the tree in Silver Spring, MD, in 1994. How cold did your garden get in 2011 or was it 2012? I know there was a cold winter in central Europe recently.

So I'd say if you can get seeds of both, you should try both. Unless you are much cooler than the capital city and should not try coastal redwood, in which case your summers will be cooler and less likely to bother Sequoiadendron. There's a guy at 3000' of elevation in Greece who is trying both, his username here is fotis I think. Try to contact him and see if he has any advice.

There's always deciduous Metasequoia...which I can guarantee you will grow like gangbusters in your climate. (and whose seeds are probably easier to germinate than either Sequoiadendron or Sequoia)

This post was edited by davidrt28 on Mon, May 5, 14 at 11:22

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:19AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Might be best to plant baldcypress or dawn redwood -- similar and prb'ly much easier to grow.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:21AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Yes beng, those would definitely be easier. (and probably easier to germinate)
but, if he wants an evergreen, they ain't evergreen, that's for sure.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:24AM
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So dawn redwood? Well at least it's a redwood :)
As of now that I'm really new to this tree growing and gardening I will probably decide to buy some dawn redwood seeds and give it a try. And of course read some articles around the internet how to germinate them and so on. Maybe in the future I will try the giant sequoia again when I have more experience. I won't live long enough to see it 80m tall anyway :). Growing plants always interested me because it amazed me how big can plants grow from such a small seed and possibly in my life time.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 11:31AM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Here is the page of the guy who is growing both (well, all 3) in Greece.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.gardenweb.com/auth/nph-logincheck.cgi?action=public_profile&user=fotisr

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 12:16PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Metasequoia would LOVE your wet conditions and probably grow pretty fast for you. Although it likes heat in summer (more than you have) it also likes water - here in the Eastern US, they get plenty of heat, but sometimes a bit less water than it ideally wants. Usually *enough* water, but I believe that they probably would reach their highest growth potential with just a bit more summer rainfall - or at least more reliable.

I know that some of our Midwest US posters have had their Metas defoliate during summer droughts. I haven't seen it happen here in Maryland - we do have droughts but rarely as long or severe as the Midwest can have.

As David basically said, you might be a bit too humid for Sequoiadendron and a bit too cold in your coldest winters for Sequoia sempervirens.

It's too bad there isn't some long-lost evergreen variant of Metasequoia out there. Of course since Metasequoia itself was "long-lost" it's unlikely such a thing would ever be found!

This post was edited by hairmetal4ever on Mon, May 5, 14 at 12:20

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 12:18PM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

I would give both Sequoiadendron giganteum and Sequoia sempervirens a try if I was him. His climate sounds Washington DC like, and certainly both species grow there, if not quite to superb standards.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 9:30PM
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So it's 100% true that the giant sequoia is harder to grow at home than the dawn redwood? ( disease, temperature, soil, sunlight, water tolerant...) Today, 3 more giant sequoia saplings died from the fungi attack. Well s**t happens. There are still two left alive and more to sprout in the next weeks "I hope so". Maybe there is still hope for my Giant sequoias. If not, well maybe I will try next time in the future again when I gain more experience about gardening. I really chose probably one of the harder trees to grow and care. I hope the dawn redwood will cut of much better and have more success with them.
Ordered about 300 dawn redwood seeds, Can't wait for them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 2:23PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

I have about 20 little Dawn Redwood seedlings I sprouted from seed. They range from just "standing up" out of the potting mix to starting to have their first "true" leaves push out from between the cotyledons. They're outdoors in about 2 hrs of sun per day and bright shade the rest of the time, and I'll probably slowly start giving them more sun as they grow, to where they'll be in full sun by the time fall rolls around.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Dawn Red is relatively easy and it is FAST, FAST, FAST.

Their only negatives are sensitivity to salts in the soil. Also,
although very cold hardy in the dead of Winter, they will be set back if you are inclined to either early-Mid Spring frosts, or premature heat/wind once the new growth starts in the Spring. Locally, this prehistoric tree tends to do very, very well in heavily urbanized and suburbanized New Jersey. If you really get into growing them, you might wanna grow some of the color cultivars (some are yellow, some creamy/white). Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:32PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

"So it's 100% true that the giant sequoia is harder to grow at home than the dawn redwood? ( disease, temperature, soil, sunlight, water tolerant...) "

The answer of course is it depends. In the native habitat of giant sequoia...they are easier to grow! (In American English, "at home" would just mean at one's residence, whereever that is. Do you mean "in my area"?) In many other climates, particularly moist ones like yours, Metasequoia is easier. But if the seedlings are dying so readily I wonder if you have some other issue going on. Too wet? Poor air circulation? Do you germinate other tree & shrub seed successfully? But I'm not very knowledgeable about germinating conifer seeds - never done it - so hopefully someone else can help you figure your problem out. Pictures are always helpful.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:34PM
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dawn redwood or Japanese cedar(not a redwood but gets very large and has similar appearance)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 9:42PM
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Xtal(z8b Temple. TX)

Had to chime in on the irreparable damage that's been done to the Giant Redwoods in California. I hope they can put a stop to those who would cut parts of those trees for their own personal gain. The damage they've done would take centuries for those tree to cover those wounds. I hope the Parks Dept there can stop that and put those criminals behind bars!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:23AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I have had great luck with mail order bare root metasequoias. There is something I do that kills the ones I grow from seed at two or three inches.

Oh, and if you go the seed route get them from a reputable source. Ebay seeds were germinating at a couple per hundred rate for me. Think it was FW Schumacher seeds at sixty or more percent.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:54AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

FW Schumacher has an "80% cut" that is sorted for viability - for me about 70% germinated. Including a couple that I must have inadvertently dropped, since I have a few "extras" in the individual cells that I don't recall planting in there.

Mine haven't gotten to 2" yet - we'll see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:42AM
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Just sowed around 100 metasequoia seeds and put them in a green house. :)
Beside growing giant sequoias and soon the metasequoias in the same conditions, same soil, same temp,.. I grow the royal empress trees too. Firstly the were growing very, very slow just after the germinated but now as the temperature is rising and it's not that cloudy any more, they start to grow faster and faster. I sow about 50 of royal empress trees and as the majority started to germinated I forgot to water them for 3-4 days and most of them died but ~15 survived and they look very healthy with no sigh of fungi attack or anything else. Besides I'm growing them in my home made compost they I got it from near a forest and some kind of mushrooms stared to grow from it but quickly died.
Oh and I have only 1 giant sequoia seedling still alive. It looks healthy but it's not growing any more. Haven't seen any progress for a week. Maybe it's growing roots? or it's being attacked by the magic fungi disease.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:30AM
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Well, well. I feel now really dumb and should be embarrassed. I was just sprinkling my sequoia saplings as well as the royal empress ones. And by doing that the soil didn't get moist enough deep into the soil where the root ends. basically I watered 2/5 of my saplings and the rest was just dead dry and that's why the sapling were growing so damn slow. Yesterday I pulled out for the first time a dead sequoia sapling and it had a very long root. About 5cm long and probably the half of the root dried out in the first days and then the whole sapling died.
I feel kind of stupid now and I should :)
Let's hope I will have much more success from now on.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:07PM
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