Grow Yew From Seed Or Propagate Via Cuttings

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:03 pm

Yews belong to the native conifers. They do not bear cones, but produce bright red fruits. That is why the yew is so popular as an ornamental tree in the garden. Yews can be propagated quite easily from seeds or cuttings with a lot of patience. This is how propagation works!


Propagate yew – What are the options?

Yew can be propagated in two ways: Either you grow the cuttings from seeds that mature in the red fruits, or you cut cuttings. In doing so, you can not do very much wrong.

Grow Yew From Seed Or Propagate Via Cuttings

Since yews are very slow-growing trees, you will need to exercise some patience until the seed or cutting grows into a real tree.

Digging up wild yews
If you want to plant a yew in the garden or even create a hedge, take a look under a yew that is already growing. Yew trees self-seed, so you’re sure to find some seedlings among the female – and only the female! – trees, you are guaranteed to find a few young plants.

Dig them up carefully. Be careful not to damage the roots.

Then set them in the desired location in the garden or plant them in containers.

Growing yews from seed
Propagating yews from seed is more involved. To do this, you will need several ripe fruits.

  • Remove seeds from pulp
  • Fill pots with soil-sand mixture
  • Scatter seeds
  • cover only lightly
  • place in a cool place
  • keep moist

In order for the seeds to germinate, they need to go through a longer cold period, called stratification. To do this, place the pots in a place where it does not get warmer than eight degrees. Alternatively, you can store the seeds in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for several weeks before sowing them. (Warning: the seeds are highly toxic!).

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It takes up to 18 months for the seed to germinate and for the first shoots to appear. As soon as you spot the fresh shoot tips, plant the young yews in the desired location.

Use cuttings for propagation
It is easier and faster if you propagate a yew by cuttings.

To do this, cut several shoots 10 to 15 inches long in early summer. Remove the lower needles and stick the cuttings 5 cm deep into prepared pots or directly into the intended location.

You will know that roots have formed on the cutting when new shoots develop. You can then transplant the young yew.

Yew contains the poisonous active ingredient taxine, in all parts of the plant. Therefore, always work with gloves when harvesting the fruit, pruning and other maintenance work. Although there is only a risk of poisoning if needles and fruit seeds are ingested, the sap can cause skin irritation on contact.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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