Growing Fruit Trees From Seeds

You can save big bucks growing peaches, apricots and nectarines from seeds. Growing fruit trees from seeds is remarkably easy on you and your wallet!

| June/July 2008

  • Peaches
    You can grow delicious peaches on your own trees that you start from seeds.
    Photo by William D. Adams
  • Peach Picking
    Picking homegrown peaches makes summer sweeter!
    Photo by William D. Adams
  • Tropic Snow Peach
    ‘Tropic Snow’ peaches.
    Photo by William D. Adams
  • Break Peach Seed
    The best way to break the shell that houses the actual peach seed is to use a vise.
    Photo by Lee Reich
  • Sungold Nectarine
    ‘Sungold’ nectarines.
    Photo by William D. Adams
  • Local Peaches
    To grow your own peaches, find tasty local varieties and plant their seeds.
    Photo by William D. Adams

  • Peaches
  • Peach Picking
  • Tropic Snow Peach
  • Break Peach Seed
  • Sungold Nectarine
  • Local Peaches

Most fruit trees are best grown from grafted trees that cost $25 to $35 each. But with peaches, nectarines and apricots, you can cut your cost to zero by growing fruit trees from seeds.

Because cross-pollination between varieties produces variable results, apples and some other fruit trees are usually not grown from seeds. (Instead, cuttings or buds of the best varieties are grafted onto rootstocks to produce trees that bear fruit just like the parent tree’s.) But the almondlike seeds in pits from peaches, nectarines and apricots do a good job of carrying on the desirable traits of their parents. You can simply sprout and grow a seed from a great-tasting specimen, and you have a good chance of sinking your teeth into sweet, juicy fruit from your own tree in only three to five years.

Summer is the best time for growing fruit trees, because you can seek out mid- or late-season varieties grown in your region. The best seeds come from fully ripe fruit. Avoid seeds from early maturing varieties because their seeds may not develop enough to sprout. Locally grown varieties are more likely to prosper in your garden compared to varieties grown a thousand miles away, and looking for likely candidates is tasty fun! Eat lots of peaches from farm stands and farmers markets, and save the pits from those that taste like peach heaven. And if you live where you can get local apricots and nectarines, you can try growing them from seeds too.

Cracking in Safely

Let the pits dry on your kitchen counter for a few days. Drying allows the seed inside the shell to shrink slightly so it’s easier to get out. The shell also becomes more brittle and easier to crack as it dries.



When the pits look and feel dry, you can crack them open to harvest the actual seeds, which look like almonds, a close botanical cousin. You can hold pits on edge and tap them with a hammer, which works well for a few pits but can cause high casualties in terms of accidentally smashed seeds (and fingers). You will lose far fewer seeds by cracking the pits with a vise, lodging both sides of the pit’s long seams between the opposing jaws. (See photo in the Image Gallery.) Crank the vise closed slowly — be careful for your fingers! — until the pit cracks.

If you don’t have a vise, try a nut cracker. Or you might get enough pit-cracking compression from another type of screw clamp, including the one that holds your food grinder, juicer or hand-cranked grain mill to your kitchen counter — you never know until you try! After you get the seeds out, put them in a closed container in your refrigerator or other place cool enough to store raw nuts.

Bonnie
5/23/2016 10:50:40 AM

Hi from a Canadian beginner. I found a 1inch tree growing in early spring, in an downtown planter of roses. The pit was beside it still so I'm not sure if it's peach or necterine but I scooped it up in a paper cup .After it was about 3inches tall I planted it in the garden on the south side where it is now 18inches high !!!! When do I start nipping the top to cause it to spread out flat across the wall? Thanks


Josie
9/5/2014 12:18:12 PM

My apricots just began to sprout last week and some are 3 inches tall, while the others are 5-6 inches tall. Does anyone know how often I should be watering them, and how much water I should give them? I don't want to kill them!


Josie
9/5/2014 12:17:08 PM

My apricots just began to sprout last week and some are 3 inches tall, while the others are 5-6 inches tall. Does anyone know how often I should be watering them, and how much water I should give them? I don't want to kill them!







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