From Seed to Tree: A Comprehensive Guide to Ginkgo Biloba Propagation

From Seed to Tree: A Comprehensive Guide to Ginkgo Biloba Propagation

Welcome to our in-depth guide on propagating Ginkgo Biloba trees, one of the oldest living tree species on Earth. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner looking to add a touch of ancient elegance to your landscape, this article will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow Ginkgo Biloba trees from seed. Explore the fascinating journey from seed to tree as we delve into the best practices for propagation, care, and maintenance of these unique and resilient plants.

Understanding Ginkgo Biloba Seeds

Ginkgo biloba seeds are the reproductive structures of the Ginkgo biloba tree, also known as the maidenhair tree. These seeds are enclosed in a fleshy, plum-like covering called a sarcotesta, which has a strong odor when ripe. Ginkgo biloba seeds are typically harvested in the fall when they have turned a yellow-orange color and are ready for propagation.

Characteristics of Ginkgo Biloba Seeds

Ginkgo biloba seeds are unique in that they are not true seeds, but rather ovules that develop into seeds once they have been fertilized. The seeds are approximately 1 inch long and have a hard shell that protects the embryo inside. Ginkgo biloba seeds have a high germination rate and can be successfully propagated under the right conditions.

Harvesting Ginkgo Biloba Seeds

To harvest Ginkgo biloba seeds, wait until the fruit has fallen to the ground and the outer covering has started to decay. Collect the seeds and remove the fleshy covering, being careful not to damage the seed inside. Rinse the seeds to remove any remaining fruit residue and allow them to air dry before storing or planting.

Preparing Ginkgo Biloba Seeds for Propagation

Before planting Ginkgo biloba seeds, it is important to stratify them to improve germination rates. To stratify the seeds, place them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 months. This mimics the natural winter conditions that the seeds would experience in the wild. Once the seeds have been stratified, they are ready to be planted in a well-draining soil mix and kept moist until they sprout.

Methods of Ginkgo Biloba Propagation

Ginkgo biloba can be propagated using three main methods: seed propagation, cutting propagation, and grafting propagation.

Seed Propagation

One of the most common ways to propagate ginkgo biloba is by using seeds. To do this, collect ripe seeds from a female ginkgo tree in the fall and plant them in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and place the pot in a warm, sunny location. Germination can take several weeks to several months, so be patient.

Cutting Propagation

Cutting propagation is another effective method for propagating ginkgo biloba. Take 4-6 inch cuttings from a healthy ginkgo tree in the spring or early summer. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in a rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with a mixture of peat moss and perlite, keeping the soil consistently moist. Place the pot in a warm, humid environment and wait for roots to develop.

Grafting Propagation

Grafting is a more advanced method of propagating ginkgo biloba, but it can produce quicker and more reliable results. Select a healthy ginkgo tree to serve as the rootstock and a desired cultivar as the scion. Make a clean cut on both the rootstock and scion, ensuring they fit together snugly. Secure the graft with grafting tape and place the plant in a warm, humid environment. With proper care, the graft should take hold and begin to grow.

Best Practices for Ginkgo Biloba Propagation

When it comes to propagating Ginkgo Biloba trees, there are a few key practices to keep in mind to ensure successful growth and development.

Choosing the Right Soil Mix

Ginkgo Biloba trees thrive in well-draining soil that is slightly acidic to neutral in pH. When propagating new trees, it is important to use a soil mix that provides good aeration and drainage to prevent root rot. A recommended soil mix for Ginkgo Biloba propagation is a blend of peat moss, perlite, and sand.

Optimal Watering and Light Conditions

Ginkgo Biloba trees prefer moist but not waterlogged soil. When propagating new trees, it is important to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Watering should be done in the morning to allow excess moisture to evaporate during the day. Additionally, Ginkgo Biloba trees thrive in full sun to partial shade, so it is important to provide adequate light for optimal growth.

Protecting Young Ginkgo Biloba Trees

Young Ginkgo Biloba trees are susceptible to damage from pests and harsh weather conditions. To protect newly propagated trees, it is important to regularly inspect them for signs of pest infestation and provide appropriate treatment if necessary. Additionally, young trees should be sheltered from strong winds and extreme temperatures to prevent damage to their delicate foliage. By following these best practices, you can ensure successful Ginkgo Biloba propagation and the healthy growth of your trees.


In conclusion, the process of propagating Ginkgo Biloba from seed to tree is a rewarding and fulfilling journey for any gardener or plant enthusiast. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, individuals can successfully grow their own Ginkgo Biloba trees and enjoy the beauty and benefits they provide. From selecting the right seeds to planting and caring for the young saplings, each stage of the propagation process is crucial to ensuring the health and longevity of these ancient trees. With patience, dedication, and a little bit of knowledge, anyone can experience the joy of watching a tiny seed grow into a majestic Ginkgo Biloba tree.