Plant a tiny acorn in a pot to grow a mighty oak tree

Sow seeds in autumn

Quercus robur

Common Name

That tiny acorn could be a giant oak one day – start it off in a pot before deciding where to plant it.

Growing Tips

Growing conditions

Acorns need cool conditions in order to be able to begin to grow (germinate). Follow the instructions below to plant your acorns and then place the pots outside where they can be watered by the rain.

When to grow

Collect some acorns from mid-September to December. Don’t let the acorns dry out. Make sure you collect acorns in good condition, they should be green or brown in colour with no holes where insects may have burrowed inside, the caps should come off easily.

What you need

  • Gardening gloves
  • 15cm (6in) pots with drainage holes
  • Multi-purpose compost
  • Trowel
  • Acorns
  • Plant label

How to grow

  1. Loosely fill the pot with compost leaving around a 2.5cm (1in) gap between the compost and the top of the pot.
  2. Make four spaced holes at the edge of the pot with your finger and put an acorn in to each hole. Gently cover over the acorns with the compost.
  3. Water the pot and place it outside, you may need to protect the acorns from animals and birds.
  4. The seedlings can be kept in this pot until the roots begin to emerge out of the drainage holes, when it can be potted on to a slightly larger pot. Tall pots are better than squat ones, to allow the roots to elongate. Repeat this as often as necessary.
  5. The saplings may be kept in pots for two or three years, but if you find that it becomes too much to keep putting them in bigger pots, you can then think about a place to plant them in the ground.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.