Not only is it attractive and distinctive with its softly draping pine needles, but the Mexican weeping pine tree (Pinus patula) grows in diverse areas, from Virginia to Hawaii. If you choose to grow this beauty, you will be happy to know that propagation by seed is a snap and is the preferred method. Weeping Mexican pine trees thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and 9.
Collecting cones and soil is the first step. Collect only closed, golden brown cones from the Mexican weeping pine tree. Gray cones are old, and the seeds won’t germinate. Also take two to three handfuls of soil from the base of the tree, which you will use in planting the seeds. The cones won’t open until they’re dry, so spread them on a tarp or cement patio in the sun, and they should open within one week. When the cones open, shake them to remove the seeds.
Any container will work as a germination pot as long as it has adequate holes in the bottom to allow for the free draining of excess water. Fill the container with a mixture composed of a quality potting soil and the soil you collected from the base of the tree. Moisten the mix until it is soggy, then set it aside to drain while you prepare the seeds. Although Mexican weeping pine trees don’t require stratification, soaking the seeds in room temperature water for 18 hours before planting improves germination.
Check the potting mix to ensure that it is moist but not saturated; it should have the consistency of a well-wrung sponge. Push the seed into the potting mixture to the same depth as the seed’s width and cover it lightly with the mixture.
Care During Germination
Set the germination container in an area that receives indirect sun, and ensure that the potting mix remains moist at all times. The seeds could sprout in as little as one week, although germination might take as long as 60 days. Because Mexican weeping pine trees have small root systems, the seedlings tend to establish better if planted in the landscape after they reach 4 to 6 inches in height. This should occur within four to seven months of emergence.
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