• Halina Biernacki

The Restful Pine Cone

The main function of a pine cone is to keep a pine tree's seeds safe. Pine cones close their scales to protect the seeds from cold temperatures, wind, and animals that enjoy munching on them. Pine cones open up and release their seeds when it is warm when it is easier for the seed to germinate

* Fun Facts & Pine Cone History

Pine cones were a dinosaur delicacy. The parasaurolophus grazed in a cretaceous pine forest.

Images of Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead, carried a staff of two intertwining serpents rising up to meet a pine cone date back to 1224 BC.

Dionysus, of Greek mythology, carried a staff (a “Thyrsus”) topped by a pine cone.

The Pineal Gland, the geographic center of our brain, is named for the pine cone because of its shape. The Pineal governs our body’s perception of light, as well as our wake/sleep patterns. It receives the highest amount of blood flow of any organ in our body other than our kidneys. The Pineal Gland is long considered our biological “third eye” and “the epicenter of enlightenment.” This may explain why pine cones have been exalted in religious imagery for thousands of years.

Pine cones continue to be a fountain of inspiration for writers, artists, and musicians worldwide.

Pine cones, as you know them, are actually only the FEMALE of the species. The male cones, even at maturity, are smaller, softer, less impressive, and much less distinctive than the iconic female cones. You might not have ever noticed them. The male cones release pollen, which drifts into the air and eventually finds female cones.

Female pine cone at the top of the photo. Male pine cones at the bottom


* Six Ways to Use Pine Cones in Your Garden

1. Add them to your compost pile. As pine cones break down, they release nutrients that can be beneficial to your plants.

2. Use them as mulch. Smaller pine cones can be placed in bulk around trees and plants in order to act as mulch. They will do a great job of keeping the plant roots protected while helping hold in moisture. They work just as well as store-bought mulch, but the nice thing is you can get your hands on them for free!

3. Add them as decorative borders. A fun way to use pine cones in your garden is as decoration! Pine cones have a lovely aesthetic appeal.

4. Provide a home for ladybugs. Ladybugs are always in search of little crawl spaces. Keep a few pine cones under tall and shady plants so the bugs can find refuge in them. Ladybugs eat pests like aphids, so make them feel welcome in your garden.

5. Make a bird feeder. Make birds feel welcome in your garden as well. Craft your own pine cone bird feeder! Simply spread peanut butter on the pine cone and roll it in birdseed. Allow the seed to dry in place, then add some string for hanging. Birds will love pecking away at this nutritious treat, and you will love this economic craft.

6. Use them as container fillers. Do you have a large planter to fill? Filling it entirely with dirt can make it heavy and expensive. Instead, fill it halfway full with pine cones. This will not only help improve drainage of the pot but will fill in a lot of space so you don’t have to use as much dirt. This saves you time, money, and can even help your plant drain and absorb nutrients better.

* Try Your Hand at Growing Pine Cone Bonsai

  • Find a pine cone that is fresh and not open

  • A larger size pine cone will assure the seeds are of better quality

  • Rinse the pine cone to remove any pests or fungus

  • Place the pine cone in a dry spot and watch as it dries out and begins to open up

  • Next place the pine cone in prepared soil. Loosely bury only the bottom of the pine cone. Do not bury the entire pine cone.

  • Water sparingly and wait for it to sprout. Do not over-water or it will rot.


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