The Q&A Archives: Trees From Seeds?

Question: I have wondered how hard it is to start a new tree from a peach or nectarine pit. What is the best way to start a seed from a tree like that? What tips do you have?

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 (and nectarines) 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 (or nectarine) tree seedling.

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