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The success of forest creation relies on seedling availability and quality. The aim of this research is to assess the possible use of rootstock and bare-root seedlings of Cedrela fissilis obtained from natural regeneration for direct field planting. We used Generalized Linear models to assess survival and Hierarchical Models to assess height growth over one year after planting. Initial root-collar diameter (RCD) and treatment (rootstock or bare-root) affected survival and growth. Rootstock and larger seedlings presented higher levels of survival and growth. Higher seedling quality in the rootstock treatment is due to higher water stress tolerance. Rootstock seedlings with more than 1 cm of initial RCD had over 80% of survival probability, while small bare-root seedlings had mean survival probability as low as 20%. Rootstock seedlings grew as much as fourfold more than bare-root. Using natural regeneration of C. fissilis as a source of rootstock seedlings may be a cheap alternative for forest restoration and enrichment planting projects.