Growing Fruit Trees From Seed: Peach, Plum, Nectarine, & Apricot

By , August 1, 2010

I’d always thought that growing fruit trees from seed was too much of a long-term proposition, and so I wouldn’t bother with it. And then three years down the road I’d still be thinking about fruit trees from seed — no closer to my dream orchard than I was three years prior.

Determined to put an end to this mental hangup, I began saving the pits from the most delicious local peaches and plums that I ate during the summer of 2008. I then followed the instructions in this great article, which takes you through the whole process:

Mother Earth News: “Growing Free Fruit Trees”

4-month-old Plum and Peach seedlings (in the foreground -- plum on the left, peach on the right)

Now my baby fruit trees are about a year and a half old and I’m astounded at how big they are. These things are growing like weeds, and I need to seriously start considering where to plant them!

As a side note, I overwintered the baby trees in the black pots in the photos below, against the south side of the house, mounded up with dry autumn leaves. All survived the winter!

So if you’d like to embark on this fun little project, now is the time to begin saving your peach, plum, nectarine, and/or apricot pits. I let the pits dry on a shelf for several weeks (more like months, actually). To open the pit, use whatever tool you have the most success with (as outlined in the article), but the nutcracker I initially used broke clean in half before it cracked even one pit. So I got out the hammer and had no problem shattering pits out on the back sidewalk; surprisingly, none of the actual seeds got crushed in the process.

After a year and a half of growth, here’s what my trees look like:

1 1/2-year-old Plum trees

1 1/2-year-old Peach tree

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Update 5/3/2012: The three-year-old peach trees have baby peaches on them! Click here for photos.

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Related posts:

  1. Peaches YAY!!
  2. Mid-May Vegetable Garden Photos
  3. Gratitude Sunday * March 25, 2012
  4. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Fruit Leather

23 Responses to “Growing Fruit Trees From Seed: Peach, Plum, Nectarine, & Apricot”

  1. Sasha says:

    Ooo, so exciting. I’ve always thought about doing this, but didn’t have the confidence to begin. This makes it seem simple. Thank you!

  2. Lindsey says:

    Sasha,
    Yeah, it’s easier than I thought, too. The seeds sprout and grow so readily! I was impressed.

  3. Chun says:

    I was wondering how are your peach trees now? It has been two and half years right? Have they reached five foot tall yet? I planned two seeds last winters 2010 and both of the seeds sprout and grow to about one foot long now. Any advices to keep the trees healthy?

  4. Lindsey says:

    Hi Chun,
    My trees are doing great! Both plums and peaches are thriving, and a few have reached probably 7 feet tall! I have a couple planted in the yard, but the happiest ones right now are actually living in big black plastic pots on the south side of the house. I think they love the heat there. They seem to be a hearty lot…and I don’t really do anything special for them to keep them thriving. I think if you were to put your baby peach trees outside for the summer, they’d love it, and they’d grow very rapidly. Best of luck!

  5. Sasha says:

    I ate some delicious local peaches last summer and I stuck the pits into a pot of soil. There were about six pits in total. I buried the pot for the winter then dug it up this spring and two of the pits sprouted! I now have two peach seedlings. It was so easy. I live in Ontario, Canada and my grandmother had a beautiful peach tree in her backyard. Hopefully these seedlings do well and I can enjoy a peach tree in my backyard!

  6. Lindsey says:

    Hi Sasha! Congratulations on the minimal-effort peach seedlings! Wonderful!!! They’ll grow fast this summer I bet! Mine are doing great…growing fast, and I hope to have delicious peaches in my not-too-distant future, too!
    Best of luck,
    Lindsey

  7. Whit says:

    So I planted my peach seed about a month ago and it looks very healthy. It’s about 10 inches tall, but I noticed that it has little flowers beginning to open. . . . Is this normal, or did I do something wrong.

  8. Lindsey says:

    Hi Whit,
    Wow if your little peach tree already has flowers, you must be doing something very, very RIGHT!
    Congrats!!

  9. Matt in L.A. says:

    Hi Lindsey,
    I wanted to ask you about this project. The one thing that is not mentioned in the Mother Earth News article is how deep to bury the seeds once they sprout.
    I’m collecting my seeds now (and enjoying the nectarines& peaches – Yum!) and collecting some milk cartons and Pringles cans for potting them after they sprout, but I have no idea how deep into the soil to put the sprouted seed.

    Since YOUR project succeeded, I think I should ask you. So, how deep did you plant your peach sprouts?

    I’m a Nectarine Man. Looking forward to sweet, juicy nectarines from my own tree every summer and I’m really hoping for success here.
    Thanks!
    Matthew in Los Angeles, CA

  10. Lindsey says:

    Hi Matt!
    I don’t remember how deep I planted; probably an inch or two. I don’t think it’s of the utmost importance how deep, though. Best of luck! This is a really fun project :)

  11. Lynda says:

    Hi Sasha, I missed something somewhere. Sounded like you chipped the woody parts off the seed and planted only the meaty part. Is that true? I’m planting these all in S.L.C., UTAH area. I know there are fruit trees here, the fruit just doesn’t seem as large as Cali. where I’m from. Some sites say getting fruit from seed is a gamble. True/False? Thx, Lynda, Bountiful, Ut.

  12. Lynda says:

    Lindsey, dont have a clue. Maybe too long. Just curious if I should open the outer shell and only plant the meat of the seed. Thx, Lynda

  13. Jennifer says:

    Hello,

    So It has been a year from the last post. I was eating a nectarine today for breakfast and discovered the pit already cracked. I, of course, then had to dissect it and removed the seed easily. I found your site through a quick Google search and have one question. How long do the seeds usually last? It is pretty late into the season to plant sprouts outside by themselves. I am planning on putting them in pots and growing through winter to be ready for next spring. What is the shelf life on the seeds so I can get at least a dozen of nectarine and then peach to start together.

    Thanks so much! :)

  14. Lindsey says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Boy it’s been a while since I did much with peach seeds, but I vaguely recall storing them in the fridge for many months while I accumulated enough to start a batch of them. Seems like they last quite a while in a dormant state in the fridge.
    Have fun!
    Lindsey

  15. Lindsey says:

    Hi Lynda,
    Yep, open the hard outer shell and plant the inner meat. However, I bet that if you plant the whole thing, hard shell and all, it would eventually work. That’s how it happens in nature, after all :)

  16. Lindsey says:

    Hi Lynda,
    Yea, fruit from seed is probably a gamble. But, I’m up for the surprise :)

  17. Sue says:

    Lindsey, I love your site! Rofl over dashboard croutons! Generally, folks, plant any seed or bulb two times deeper than its size. So dig a hole three times deeper, set seed in, pointy side up, cover with soil, pat nicely, water. That’s why teeny tiny lettuce seeds just get scattered on the surface and finger fluffed into the dirt. I have peach pits in the fridge right now!

  18. Richard says:

    Hello all love this site. I did some weeding for a woman and came across her 3 ornamental dwarf Bonfire Peach trees, man are they gourgeous. So she told me to wait awhile and wait for them to ripen and fall. 2 months passed and she called me to pick some up man was I excited so I grabbed about 30 peaches and went home and gave about 10 to my neighbor and starting cleaning the flesh off. Then I let the pits dry out for about 4 days. I did some research and planted 3 pits and 3 seeds in a 3-inch trench and covered with chucked wire to deter squirrels etc. I also put 3 in a plastic bag wrapped in paper towel and placed in a semi- sunny location. I also put 3 in a dirt filled jar moist placed in refrigerator along with that I placed a few seeds in a napkin moist inside a plastic bag that I put in fridge. My last experiment was putting a couple of seeds in a juice bottle along with soil and moist every few days. It’s been about 3 weeks I’m just gonna be patient now good luck to all

  19. Mike says:

    Hey mate,

    I have often thought about this but was always under the impression that they wouldn’t bear decent fruit so never really bothered. Is this true? I have just potted about 8 plants that just ended up growing in the ground on their own (was very surprised) just wanted to know if it was worth keeping or giving to parents or friends?

  20. Lori says:

    I started two peach seeds in jars. I now have 2 inch tall starts but they do not look the same. I am not sure which one really is a peach and what the other one is. Any thoughts?

  21. Lindsey says:

    Lori, the peaches will have long dagger-like leaves. Not sure what the other one would be, if you grew them both from peach pits!! :) :) Good luck.

  22. Lindsey says:

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve certainly heard the inferior-fruit theory, and it’s probably true — although I have no idea. Probably each fruit tree will vary, tastewise, according to the genetic roulette that occurs when one plants a non-hybrid seed. I think it’s fun to save seeds and then grow them out and see what I get, but if you’d like to be more assured of good fruit then maybe give the seedlings away and go for a commercial, grafted peach tree.
    Have fun!

  23. Lindsey says:

    Richard, cool experiment. I’m curious which ones will do the best!

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