Instructions: How to use and plant your Bios Urn® in nature

– You can choose between 2 things to plant:

  • You can plant seeds with the urn and grow the tree from seed. If so, make sure to read this article in advance of planting. FYI the seeds may need a few weeks of preparation before they are able to be planted in the urn.
  • You can choose to plant a seedling, young sprout or sapling with the urn. If so, make sure to read this article in advance of planting.

– Before you plant your Bios Urn®, be sure to read up about the tree species you have chosen to ensure optimal conditions for growth.
– Check to make sure you plant during the best season. All seeds and seedlings should be planted during their correct planting season.
– TLC (all living things require some basic tender loving care – remember to give your tree some as well!)

We try to make the Bios Urn® as user-friendly as possible. The Bios Urn® itself is divided into two capsules: a lower capsule, and an upper capsule. The upper capsule comes sealed and contains a soil expansion disc made of coco fibre, vermiculite and paper.

Instructions for using the Bios Urn®

1. Fill the lower capsule of the Bios Urn® with ash (any amount, regardless of how little can be used.) The Bios Urn® can be filled by a crematorium, or by the individual user. Thanks to its double capsule design, the Bios Urn® locks into place, so that a crematorium can give the ash back to you ready to plant. Once the ashes have been transferred to the lower capsule, close the lower capsule with the top capsule by sealing it into place (place the top capsule on top, and then twist it slightly to the side). TIP: If you only use a portion of the ash, be sure to fill the remainder of the Bios Urn® with soil from the surrounding area as well so as not to leave a gap present.

2. Research and choose your preferred seed or seedling. The Bios Urn® works with every single kind, no exceptions! By sourcing your own directly yourself, it enables to choose a tree which is sentimental and meaningful to you. Fruit trees, flowering trees, evergreens or conifers are all completely compatible. We cannot stress enough how important it is to always choose a native tree species or one which is common to your location, to respect the ecological balance and ensure better growth. So be sure to check with a local gardening supplier or horticulturist for information on native tree species in your area. Remember you can also elect to use a seedling, or sprout instead of a seed. Or some people also chose to plant a flower, a plant, or a bush instead of a tree.

3. Choose the location or planting spot for your Bios Urn®. If you need assistance with this, contact us here, or check out our recommended places to plant as well as our tips on how to chose the right planting spot.

4. Plant your Bios Urn®! Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the Bios Urn®. Generally around 15-16 inches (36-37cm) is a good depth, with a width of 10-12 inches. Plant the Bios Urn® inside, leaving the soil surface a couple of fingers above the top of the urn. TIP: water the entire hole before you plant the Bios Urn® into it, as this will help begin the process of biodegradation.

Bios Urn Blog: Instructions on how to plant your biodegradable urn for a tree to grow

Source: Bios Urn®


5. Fill the area around the Bios Urn® with soil from where you are planting without covering the top of the urn.

Bios Urn Blog: Instructions on how to plant your biodegradable urn for a tree to grow

Source: Bios Urn®


6. Remove the seal from the top capsule, and unpack the expansion disc. Get your seeds or seedling handy. Place the expansion disc at the very bottom of the top capsule then add soil from the site you are planting the Bios Urn® on top of the expansion disc. Place a couple of seeds on top of the soil. If you are planting a young sprout (seedling), plant it on top of the expansion disc then gently add soil form the site on top and/or around the base.

Bios Urn Blog: Instructions on how to plant your biodegradable urn for a tree to grow

Source: Bios Urn®


Bios Urn Blog: Instructions on how to plant your biodegradable urn for a tree to grow

Source: Bios Urn®


7. Cover the Bios Urn® with soil from the surrounding area, and thoroughly water the spot you have planted it. There should be around 1/4 inch to ½ inc of soil on top of the seeds (make sure you don´t place too much on top!) None of the Bios Urn® should be exposed, it should all be covered by soil.

Bios Urn Blog: Instructions on how to plant your biodegradable urn for a tree to grow

Source: Bios Urn®


Simply plant your urn where you want your tree to grow and take care of it. Always plant all of the urn, which is 100% biodegradable and won’t damage the soil. You can plant your Bios Urn® using a seed or a young sprout if you prefer. We generally recommend planting during the appropriate season according to your tree. If you have questions about when to plant your Bios Urn® according to your location, message us, and we will do our best to assist you with this process.

Remember that Bios Urn® can be saved for as much time as you want because it doesn’t have an expiration date. If you don’t plan on using your Bios Urn® anytime soon, we recommend only adding the seeds when the time for planting comes.

If you have additional questions, comments, or general inquiries, here are our Frequently Asked Questions. Or feel free to write to us at [email protected].


Related Posts:

How can I make sure my Bios Urn® Tree grows?
How to Plant Your Bios Urn® Indoors or In a Container
How to Plant or Protect Your Bios Urn® Tree over Winter
Places Where the Bios Urn® Can Be Planted
How to Bring Your Bios Urn® tree With You If You Move
Sun exposure: Does it really matter?
How to Chose the Right Planting Spot
How to Properly Water my Bios Urn Tree


– The Bios Team

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    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Colette,

      That really depends on the seed used. Some last for a year, while others can remain dormant for up to 6. We recommend acquiring one without a seed, and contacting us if you need seeds in the future, or acquiring some locally. We can accommodate both requests 🙂

      • Theodora Perusse says

        You should have mentionned about the seed’s lifetime span, i would have ordered an urn without the seed, (it would have cost me less, I suppose?) i do not find this to be honest from your part. Now ,where will my son get a maple seed?? should the seed life have expired after my death, I don’t think that it’s being sold just anywhere…. As for buying it from you, (should the seed be past date when he will need to use it) THEN, I will have to leave a note to my son to contact you to buy one, how much will that be costing him ? I do not want my son to run through all sorts of problems about this, it’s suppose to be a solemn moment, not a problem moment, i hope i will get soem answers to those important questions.

        Thank you

        • Bios Urn says

          Hello Theodora – we can send you seeds when you need them at a later time, at no extra cost.
          We can also assist with finding a local nursery near you. Seeds do expire, as does everything else in nature. We do our best to provide the most fresh seeds possible.
          We are more than willing to send them when you need them, so that you do not have to worry about them being fresh!

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Hans! The Bios Urn can hold 220 cubic inches of ash. It cannot hold the full amount for two people, although you could divide in into two and split the portions in half. You could also use two Bios Urns if you would like.

  1. Mayra says

    Una ves que estás listo para plantar cuánta agua necesita para que la semilla prenda ?
    Es un maple el árbol que compramos y que tan seguido es necesario regarla ?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hola Mayra! Cada árbol requiere diferentes cantidades de agua. Los árboles recién plantados requieren riego regular durante los períodos en que hay poca precipitación. Algunos Arboristas recomiendan regar árboles jóvenes dos veces por semana.

  2. Ward Tresham says

    Where does the expansion disc go? Top or bottom? The instructions do not seem to say.

    Ward Tresham

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Ward! Thanks for letting us know. The expansion disc goes at the bottom of the top capsule, followed by vermiculite on top and additional soil 🙂

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Petra, there are rarely issues of non-growth. The most important thing to ensure growth is planting an appropriate tree species (see here for zones: We also recommend planting during the correct season, which generally falls between spring and late fall! If you need specific help based on your tree type, we can send you additional info via email or by phone.

  3. emily elsey says

    I dont have a specific place in mind yet so im planning on planting it in a bery large pot to give it room to grow is that ok?

    • Bios Urn says

      Absolutely Emily, make sure the pot has proper drainage. A terracotta planter with a saucer is a good option 🙂

  4. Desiree Nista says

    My father died in 2006 can I transfer his ashes from his urn to a bio urn and how do I do that?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hello Desiree – you can use the Bios Urn with any amount of ash, regardless of how old it is. We are sending you an email with some info now.

  5. Susan LoFurno says

    I LOVE this idea…and am so excited to have found you!!!!! I always wanted to “go back to nature” — and not “take up”any space ….

  6. Meredith says

    I love this idea. But aren’t ashes in concentrated amounts damaging to surrounding soil due to salt levels and ratios of that with other components of the soil? Can’t it hinder healthy plant growth?

    • Bios Urn says

      The Bios Urn is the world´s first biodegradable urn designed to create a tree and was created in 1997, and not launched until 2012. During those nearly 15 years, our team worked closely with arborists, horticulturists, and soil scientists to examine these claims and the effects of ash in soil.

      Generally speaking, ash is not detrimental to the soil. The ash can only affect fresh seeds or a baby seedling if they are exposed to them right in the root, before acclimating to the soil. That is because the alkalinity present in the ash can destroy the seeds if they come into contact right away.

      The Bios Urn has a special design and comes in two unique pieces and compartments. One compartment holds the ash specifically, while the other holds the soil mix, and seeds or baby sapling. The amount of ashes to be placed in the urn will not upset the delicate nutrient balance required for growth of or plants. The ash contains potassium, phosphorous and calcium. We have conducted over four hundred tests (and planted over 400 trees!) and the Bios Urn has been used for more than 15 years at this point -so we are more than confident in the information we provide and the conclusions that have surmounted as a result of these tests. The small volume that you would be adding to a large area is not enough to affect the soil chemistry.

  7. Joe Harden says

    Is there a way to plant the urn (I love this idea!) in a cemetery with height-growth guidelines for mowers? Can it be planted in a plot, and only grow ground cover, for example?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Joe! Absolutely, you can always start the Bios Urn off in a planter, or you can choose a smaller growing tree which is ornamental.

  8. T says

    I’m young and I don’t think I’m go into die soon, but I want to be knowledgeable and inform others of what to do in the event I do die. Can any plant be planted? I was thinking of being a willow tree when I die and if I own animals in the future, when they pass i might want to make them rose bushes.

    • Bios Urn says

      Hello! Yes, any tree or plant can be planted with a Bios Urn, we just recommend choosing one which is appropriate for your region or location, and which is suitable for the environment. Willows and Rose Bushes are both excellent choices!

  9. Sebastian Du says

    Dear BioUrn,
    I was wondering what would be the case if the plant out grew the Bios Incube and what would need to be done.
    Thanks, Sebastian

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Sebastian! Thanks for your message. Generally speaking trees only grow in accordance with the volume of their soil, so a tree will not outgrow the Bios Incube. If you choose a species which is not suited for long term life in a container, than it must be replanted outdoors after a 1-2 year period.

  10. Laurie Taggart says

    This product sounds incredible and I can’t wAit to tell others.
    My Mother is 93 and a plant/tree lover and my Dad is 96 and I know they both want to be cremated. This idea sounds wonderful- a way to keep loved ones alive in nature. I live in Vermont so what type tree or plant do you suggest. Guess I would need a Biodegradable Urn without seeds. How much would two cost?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hello Laurie! Thank you so much for your message. For Vermont, our Pine, Maple, and Oak would all work perfectly as they are native. Since you are located in zones 3-5, we recommend a cold-hardy tree.

  11. Kym says

    Once planted how well does the bios incube travel? From AZ to CO twice a year. Also moving it from inside to outside as weather permits? Does the sensor adapt to these kind of changes. I’m assuming the sensor is programmed for the seed choices you provide, will it work with alternative tree choices?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Kim! The Bios Incube should be transported in the same manner as a normal planter, with care and respect to ensure they are placed appropriately.

      The Bios Incube can be used indoors or outdoors, and moved depending on the temperature and needs of the tree.

      It will work with any tree choice you would like, so long as the proper germination has occurred!

  12. JOHN HITCHLER says

    Good morning,
    Would it be an enhancement to the development of the seed and the strength of the tree if plant food was used?
    How long do you suggest catering to the planting before it becomes self sufficient?
    If planted near a group of other trees, is there a desired distance from them to plant it, since all trees different in root growth?
    Recommended tree for the Las Vegas Nevada area. Prefer a strong slow growing tree; e.g. oak or maple, but not sure if it’s practical?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hello John, you can absolutely use plant food or add additional nutrient-rich compost to the site you will be planting if you would like. The amount of care required will depend on the species you choose, but in general, they should be cared for until they reach an approximate size of 8-12cm. (again this will depend on species)

      It’s best to space the planting location away from other trees, unless you are planting in a forest-like area.

      For Las Vegas, we would recommend one of our drought-hardy trees, or a native tree!

    • Bios Urn says

      The exact same way! The only difference is that the Bios Urn should be planted deeper into the ground.

  13. Cathy Mansfield says

    Hi my mum wanted her ashes scattered amongst my two rose bushes which were named after my two sons when they were born. These two rose bushes are in large pots on my patio.
    I understand to scatter her ashes may destroy the plants so burying her ashes is a great compromise and I love this idea. Would it be possible to use your biodegradable urns on already established rose bushes? I have only just re-potted them so they are not rooted yet.
    Do I need to be careful on the soil mixture? I have used manure, rose compost and top soil. Also are there any special instructions so that I don’t damage the plants ?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Cathy,

      That’s correct – you can use the Bios Urn. We recommend planting the Bios Urn deeper into the ground if you use a rose bush which is already a bit more grown!

  14. Vicki says

    If I understand your post above correctly, cremated ashes are harmful only to seeds and seedlings but not necessarily to established plants? If I would like my cat’s ashes to go towards nourishing an already planted rose I don’t need any special additives but I can simply scatter them around my plant?

    • Bios Urn says

      Hi Vicki! That’s correct. The main purpose of the Bios Urn is to promote a healthy growth to seeds or baby seedlings which are growing. Mature, or established plants or trees don’t require the Bios Urn.

  15. John McMahon says

    Hi Guys,

    I am interested in purchasing an urn but I see now that the seed is no longer offered with purchase, I am from Ireland and to be honest have no idea what type of seed to buy or from where. I have done some research online as where to get a seed but can’t find much. Is there anyway to purchase one with a seed?

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