En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - June 06, 2011

From: Monroe, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Saving seeds of western red cedar from Monroe WA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to know how to save and store seeds of western redcedar if not planning on planting them their current year.


On our Native Plant Database for Thuja plicata (Western arborvitae) (also known as Western Red Cedar), here are the Propagation Instructions:

"Description: Cuttings taken in Dec. or Jan. and treated with hormone root very well. Western cedar is also easily grown from layers or seeds. Occasional dormant seeds are found which require stratification.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 34-41 degrees for 30-60 days. No treatment may give satisfactory results.
Commercially Avail: yes"

This USDA Plant Profile Page has pictures of the tree and seeds and shows that the plant is, indeed, native to Washington. After some more searching, we found a long technical paper from the USDA Index of Species Information that had this paragraph germane to your question:

"Germination:  Germination is epigeal.  Western redcedar seeds germinate
well without stratification and remain viable for at least 7 years
stored dry (5 to 8 percent moisture) at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 deg C)]. 
Stratification may improve the germination of some dormant seed lots.  However, in others it may lower the germination capacity. Haig reported germination rates of 73 percent, and Schopmeyer reported germination rates of 34 to 90 percent."



More Propagation Questions

Assuring berries on Viburnum dentatum
October 27, 2008 - I just purchased 2 blue muffin viburnum bushes-I live in Kansas-How many years will it be before they get berries? They are full size(3-4 ft) Do I need to trim them down for winter or just mulch the...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Passionflora Incarnata propagation
March 20, 2012 - Would a cinderblock raised bed, 8 inches in height, be sufficient to contain the roots of passiflora incarnata and keep them from traveling to places where I don't want the vine? Are the roots deepe...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Prunus Mexicana in Rusk TX
July 29, 2009 - How do you scarify seeds from the Prunus Mexicana? Can the branches be made to grow roots?
view the full question and answer

Reproducing Echinacea 'Sunbeam' from Powthan VA
August 03, 2011 - I would like to reproduce a flowering plant- Sundown echinacea. I have a plant now. Can you give me info on how to do it? thanks so much.
view the full question and answer

When are seeds of Indian paintbrush mature from Bend OR
July 14, 2010 - How do I know when to collect seeds of Indian paintbrush - when are they mature?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center