Giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum - care instructions

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It is one of the most impressive, largest and oldest trees in the world and can still be admired today in Germany in many different forms. We are talking about the giant sequoia, botanically Sequoiadendron giganteum. The impressive coniferous wood is perfect for local climatic conditions and can quickly become an eye-catcher and soothing shade dispenser in the garden. But he needs a lot of space for that. Apart from that, the redwood shows itself to be an extremely easy-care and robust plant that can be cultivated with little effort by gardeners who do not have much experience yet.

Short profile

  • botanical name: Sequoiadendron giganteum
  • other names: giant sequoia, giant sequoia, redwood, Wellingtonie
  • belongs to the family Cypress Family (Cupressaceae)
  • Growth height: 50 to 95 meters
  • Growth rate: 60 to 90 cm per year
  • straight stem, very thick with age
  • Foliage: scaly, blue-green needles
  • Fruits: small, rounded cones
  • Root: usually no deeper than 1 meter, but very wide
  • largest known tree species
  • Age: over 3500 years
  • evergreen

Species and occurrence

Natural occurrences of Sequoiadendron giganteum exist today only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada at altitudes between 1300 and 2000 meters. In the nature reserves of California, the stately tree grows in damp locations with high rainfall. Giant sequoia trees are usually smaller groves amidst yellow pines (Pinus ponderosa), sugar pines (Pinus lambertiana), magnificent firs (Abies magnifica) and Colorado firs (Abies concolor). In the past, the sequoia was also widespread in Asia and Europe. Despite its size, the redwood was first discovered in the mid-19th century and reintroduced into Europe by British scientists. Special breeding forms are:
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Aureum': breed form from Ireland, grows slower and only 20 meters high, dull yellow shoot tips
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Glaucum': bluish dandruff needles, grows slightly weaker and less broad
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Pendulum': rare form from France, narrow columnar growth, height up to 28 meters

Care Instructions

In the following you will learn all about the ideal growth conditions for the sequoia in the garden. Yes, an attitude in the garden is possible. Read more here...


Sequoias in the forest

The site for a sequoia should be chosen wisely. Finally, the tree reaches in the course of his life stately growth heights and thus also gigantic root extents. Too close to the house or planted a fence, he can eventually cause problems after years. Sequoiadendron giganteum deserves a single position in the garden, if possible in sunny to partially shaded position. At the bottom he makes up for a good water storage capacity no special requirements.
  • Single position
  • sufficient distance to buildings and property boundaries
  • Light requirement: sunny to partially shaded
  • Young plants sheltered from the wind
  • humic, moist soil
tip: The mountain redwood already reaches heights of growth of up to 10 meters after 10 years.


Young specimens of the sequoia are preferably planted a bit protected, so that they are not exposed to direct wind in the cold season. Even in nature, the giant sequoia is initially protected by neighboring pines and firs, which dominates them only with increasing age. Since young trees are still somewhat sensitive, the woody plant should only be planted outdoors when it has grown more than one meter.
  • Time: spring or autumn
  • choose cloudy or rainy day
  • Planting distance to buildings: 15 to 20 meters
  • possibly observe local limit guidelines
  • Loosen soil thoroughly
  • Planting hole: three times the size of the root ball
  • Planting depth: flush with bale level
  • fill humus soil and get stuck
  • At a distance of about 50 to 60 cm, dig a trench around the planting hole
  • Depth: 5 to 10 cm
  • Water regularly during the first few months
  • Avoid waterlogging and dryness
tip: In the North American area of ÔÇőÔÇőorigin, the groundcover hazel is often found as a companion plant of the sequoia. It is therefore advisable to plant a few hazel plants (Asarum caudatum) when planting the tree. The planting provides a good root protection in summer and winter (against evaporation of water and cold).

to water

A sequoia tree is very sensitive to dryness. While the conifers are otherwise very adaptable, there is nothing worse for them than insufficient amounts of water in the root zone. A larger Wellingtonie can completely dry out a moist soil in just one day. Persistent waterlogging gets the tree but not synonymous. However, he survives short-term root wetness mostly unscathed. If the casting behavior is not right, the coniferous wood becomes susceptible to diseases such as fungal infections.Regular watering is therefore crucial for good growth and prosperity. Helpful for irrigation in the first time after planting in the field has been found to be about five centimeters deep ring ditch around the root area. Even older trees have to be watered regularly during dry periods.


If the giant sequoia is planted from a size of about one meter to its final location in the garden, it must not be forgotten to carefully supply the coniferous wood with nutrients. So the root production is increased in the following year and the plant grows well. For this purpose, a long-term fertilizer such as compost or horn shavings should be used, which releases its nutrients only slowly. Mineral fertilizers burn the sensitive roots quickly. In the following years, some mature compost or slow-release fertilizer is mixed into the ground each spring.

To cut

Giant sequoia

Sequoias, like other conifers, do not require cutting. Only sick or dried shoots should be removed regularly.


Although the mountain redwood can be propagated by cuttings, but these are very vulnerable. Rarely do amateur gardeners manage to cultivate mature trees from them. A simpler, but time-consuming method is seed multiplication. These can be purchased from specialist dealers or can be harvested from existing shrubs. The sequoia becomes manly only from the age of about 10 to 15 years. The male flower is at the end of short shoots. The tree makes amazingly small female cones. These are only 5 to 8 inches long, up to 5 inches thick. In the first year the immature green cones stand upright at the end of the branches, in the second year the mature cones hang down. In the cones are about 5 millimeters long, flat, yellowish seeds.
1. Stratification
Nature has provided the mammoth tree seeds with germination inhibitors so they do not accidentally germinate directly in the fall and thus suffer large losses due to frostbite in winter.
  • put bought seeds in the fridge (in the bag)
  • First put the harvested seeds in a lightly moistened coffee filter
  • put it in a freezer bag and put it in the fridge
  • Duration: four weeks
  • Temperature: about 5 degrees
Tip: Many gardeners have also had good germination rates when they put their seeds in the freezer for two weeks.
2. Sowing
So that the seeds find equally good humidity conditions, it makes sense to soak them in room-warm water for one to two days before they are sown.
  • put swollen seeds on moist, high-quality soil
  • Substrate: low in nutrients, high mineral content (very important)
  • Distance: at least 3 cm
  • just press
  • do not cover with earth (light germinator)
  • Seeds must be in intensive contact with the soil
  • never let it dry out
  • Keimquotegering, so sow rather several seeds
  • Use a mini greenhouse or put a plastic bag over it
  • set up bright (without direct sun)
  • Temperature: room temperature
  • ventilate regularly
  • Germination time: 2 to 5 weeks
After germination, the cover is removed and the young plants placed in a shady place to prevent dehydration. From a size of about 3 to 5 centimeters, these are piked into individual pots. Suitable substrate is a humus-rich soil with good water storage capacity. Especially important is the regular watering. The sequoia should not stand directly above the heater due to the dry air conditions. Slowly beginning to grow branches, the young plant needs a little more light. Direct sun should also be avoided. If the plantlets are finally used to the sun, they are allowed to go outside at moderate temperatures during the day.

Maintain young plants

As an established wood, the redwood tree survives almost all weather conditions and even severe winters without problems. This does not apply to young plants. For this reason, very small sequoias should not be cultivated directly in the field, but up to a size of about 15 cm in the planter of about 12 to 15 cm in diameter. From a height of 15 centimeters, it makes sense to plant the sequoia in a very large tub. Only then can it be ensured that the roots develop well and do not dry out. The vigor of the roots should not be underestimated in the giant sequoia. Therefore, the plant needs very large planters right from the start. If the wood is pulled too long in a small pot, spiral roots form due to lack of space. The strong core root is suppressed. These plants later find it very difficult to grow well in the field. From a height of one meter, the sequoia can then be planted in its final place in the garden.
useful information
On the orders of King William I, the Forest Directorate Stuttgart in 1864 should buy one pound of the seeds of the largest tree in the world. Since no one knew how small the giant's seeds were, the forestry department received around 100,000 individual seeds, which produced almost 8,000 plants.The young trees were then distributed throughout Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Many of them can be admired today in the Wilhelma, which was then run as a botanical garden.


In vineyards even young redwood trees are easily hardy. In all other areas, frost protection is recommended during youth or even cultivating in a bucket for young plants. As with many other tree species, with Sequoiadendron giganteum the winter hardiness increases significantly with age. Well-ingled specimens withstand temperatures of -30 degrees in winter without problems. However, it must always be remembered that the root system of the redwood tree is somewhat sensitive because it is so close to the earth's surface. For this reason, it must be protected from freezing in snow-free areas with a thick brush or mulch layer.
  • Hibernate young plants in a bucket in the Kalthaus
  • Do not put in the warm apartment!
  • suitable are unheated greenhouses or garages with windows
  • Trees over 1 meter in height can overwinter overgrown
  • Winter protection necessary
  • Cover roots with brushwood, leaves or mulch
  • protect against icy winds with Windshot (tarpaulin)
  • if dry, also in winter water
The young redwood trees can also be buried in a sheltered place along with pot in the garden floor. A warm wintering gets the plant bad. It should be cold, but protected from cold winds. If there is no protective layer of snow, the soil must occasionally be poured to prevent dry damage.
Color changes in winter
Young giant sequoia trees typically go through different shades of color in the winter until spring. The stronger the color change, the more susceptible the plant reacts. Seedlings under one year are most commonly affected. This color change to the crimson, rusty brown or even violet is not observed every year, it usually occurs after a sudden cold snap on or even after a winter untypical heat period. Sufficient amounts of water in the soil demonstrably reduce the susceptibility of the coniferous tree during this time. Seedlings and young plants covered with snow do not show this phenomenon. The discoloration itself does not harm the plants, because this is just a pigment that was already present. This condition disappears abruptly when there is sufficient irrigation and temperatures remain warm for a longer period of time in the spring.

Diseases and pests

As a rule, fungi and insect pests pose no serious threat to the redwoods. Young plants are still a bit wind-sensitive at cool temperatures, otherwise there is hardly anything that can actually damage the wood. Woodpeckers or squirrels nest in old trees. However, the nesting caves are no danger to the health of the wood. The only thing that can kill a sequoia in summer and winter is a dry root ball. Therefore, even in winter, the soil should be constantly checked for moisture. The main cause of death in redwoods is dryness.
The giant sequoia can easily be cultivated in all areas with temperate climates. Sequoiadendrum giganteum is very adaptable. Limiting factor for the healthy growth of the shrub is the availability of water in the root zone. In dry times, the tree must therefore be irrigated consistently - even in winter.

Video Board: How to Grow REAL Giant Sequoia at Home!.

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