The Q&A Archives: Peach Tree From Pit

Question: My wife recently purchased some excellent peaches. I'd like to know if I can start growing a tree from one of the pits. I have a pit from a peach that I ate and ran it under water to remove much of the flesh. It is sitting on a window sill and I'd like to know how to go about planting it correctly. It is the first week in August. Is it even too late to do this? If not, and I'm successful in developing a seedling, how should I care for it during the winter? I am in Zone 6, Central NJ.

Answer: Peach is Prunus persica, and can be grown from seed. It's not often done, however, because it takes quite a long time. The seeds from your grocery store peaches are probably mature, but the embryo within the hard outer shell (endocarp) needs some time to mature prior to germination, and this can be induced by alternate periods of dry heat and moist cold. Begin by removing as much of the peach flesh as possible from the pit (hold under running water and scrub with an old toothbrush). Then store at 68F for 14 days. Place the pits in moistened vermiculite in a plastic bag, seal it up, and place it in the refrigerator for 180 days. (37F degrees is optimal) At the end of that time the outer shell should be soft enough for the emerging root to split it open. Plant the pit in moistened potting soil, placing it about 2-inches deep, or plant it directly outdoors. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Eventually you'll have a little peach tree seedling.

You can provide winter protection for your tree, but it needs to experience a little winter cold in order to develop fruit so keeping it indoors isn't a good idea. If you have an unheated garage, try wintering it over there. Good luck with your peach tree!

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