Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

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

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


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

Update September 2016: Many of the trees died due to peach tree borer. The surviving trees are marauded by squirrels each year so that there are few peaches left. Here are some that survived this year! The peach I picked was picked too early I think, but otherwise the squirrels were going to get it. Its taste was ‘ok’ once it sorta ripened.

Peach tree from seed (c) The Herbangardener

Peach tree from seed (c) The Herbangardener




  1. Sasha

    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

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

  3. Chun

    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

    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

    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

    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,

  7. Whit

    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

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

  9. Matt in L.A.

    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.
    Matthew in Los Angeles, CA

  10. Lindsey

    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

    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

    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


    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

    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!

  15. Lindsey

    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

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

  17. Sue

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  24. Rachel

    Hi Lindsey,

    I see you wrote this years ago. How are your trees now??? I’m curious because I live in CO and am wanting to get in to gardening more!

  25. Sherry

    We started our peach trees by seed and at first they were growing fast. As of February 2014, standing about 8-10 inches tall, they stopped growing. They are still alive but haven’t grown at all in more than 3 months. Same with my apple tree, only it has since developed leaves that have turned brown on the edges. What can I do to help these little guys? I have 5 peach trees and 3 apple.

  26. Sherry

    To Lori: The same thing occurred with our peach trees. 4 came up the same and one looked completely different. (bushy) We thought it was an imposter!! After awhile they all started looking more alike.

  27. Lindsey

    Hi Rachel,
    My trees are doing great! The peach that I’ve paid most attention to is probably 5 or 6 feet tall and wide, with multiple blossoms on it this year!

  28. Karin A

    Will pits grow if you just plant pits without opening to remove seeds?

  29. Shirley Laychuk

    I found what looks to be plum seedlings in my flower wagon. Yes it is near a plum tree. Can I transplant them in a pot and will they bear fruit eventually? Could not be from roots cause the seedlings are in a flower wagon that is raised off the ground. If so how do I winter them in Alberta Canada?

  30. Lindsey

    Hi Shirley, yes you can transplant to a pot. Overwinter in a warm spot (south exposure of house or garage), with the pots very generously mounded with crushed autumn leaves or something similar. Don’t forget to water periodically — that’s important!
    Good luck.

  31. Lindsey

    Hi Karen,
    Yes, most likely. That’s how nature would do it if left to her own devices.
    Good luck!

  32. travis

    hey lindsey with an e . is it necessary to crack the hard outer cover on plum and peach seeds before planting and why?

  33. Marion

    Last fall we canned a number of jars of peaches. Many of the pits were split open and even had small shoots. I took several and put them in soil in a pot, watered them and put them in our garage. In the spring, I found several green shoots in the pot. I had forgotten what I planted. One shoot did very well. One kind of withered and died off after awhile, so I dug it up and found the peach pit shell. Now I can see from photos found here that our seedling is really a peach tree! Exciting! Marion

  34. Starlyn

    I’m new to planting fruit and I took out nectarine seed and place it in a wet napkin in a plastic bag over night. I check and nothing happen what do I do pls help me .

  35. Ian

    Hi everyone l live in the Uk wanted to know bout plum stones . Can you grow them without removing the seeds ? I have two plum trees near me with fruit on that are ripe they make lovely jam but wanted to try growing them.
    Any ideas would be appreciated
    Do l need to cool them down ?
    At the moment they are drying out
    Best wishes

  36. Lindsey

    Probably not necessary, but perhaps more expeditious.

  37. Judy

    I planted 4 peach seeds about 4 months ago. I just dug a small hole in my backyard and buried them. I was weeding and discovered 3 baby peach trees and was super excited that the avocado seeds I planted from seed right in the ground 5 are shooting up! I know you need a male and female to produce avocados so I planted about 6 seeds. I’m so excited that I could scream lol!
    I hope everyone has success with their fruit trees, it really is a joy!

  38. Lyn

    The reason that some of the fruit trees are not producing is probably that some varieties need cross pollinators. If you know the variety of fruit you can look up gardening books for suitable cross pollinators or alternatively graft a cross pollinator on the same tree.

  39. jaime

    I need help in identifying a weed .
    I took a pic but cant seem to find a website
    To match it too. Any suggestions?
    Desoto Tx.

  40. Lindsey

    Unfortunately no suggestions; sorry James!

  41. Javed

    What is the suitable time/month in zone 5 to start the peach seed growing process?

  42. Lindsey

    Start saving pits now; dry them for a few weeks, crack open the seeds to expidite the process, then chill in the fridge. Follow instructions in the Mother Earth News link. Among other things, it says “To help your seedlings hit their best growing schedule, start the chilling period about four months before your last spring frost date.” You can read the rest of the instructions in that link I gave.

  43. Bo

    Hi lindsey, I’m just about to put a bunch of stone fruit seed in the ground this autumn, my parents have nectarines that have grown from seed and the trees seen very hardy. I was wondering about the taste of the fruit, and the texture? Is it similar to the parent fruit? Is it good? Cheers bo

  44. Lindsey

    Often child fruit grown from parent’s seed isn’t as good. My peaches haven’t yet had a chance to fully ripen on the tree (squirrels) so I STILL can’t say for sure! But part of the fun is trying it out; you might get a winner!!

  45. Rebecca

    So, sometime around the start of summer I was finishing off a nectarine when the pit just separated, just like that. Inside was a nectarine seed that was already sprouting. I found your website and placed the seed in a stonewall jelly jar filled with some moist potting soil. Two days ago my Mom noticed I had a sprout growing and took it out to show me. The sprout is a yellow/green color, somewhere between one and one and a half inches, with what looks like the beginning of some leaves forming at the top. In the Mother Earth News article it says to leave the seeds in the fridge until a month before the last frost date. We just put it back in the fridge this evening, but it was out for a day and a halfish, so I’m wondering for one, will this have any impact on it. Second, should I leave it in the fridge still, since it has started growing, or should I put it in a little pot. And then if I put it in a pot, what would be the best location to put it? We have a large windowsill in the living room (facing south), and then we also have a screen room (porch) (facing north). I’m just not sure what to do, with summer behind us and the first frost a week or so away. Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated.

  46. Lindsey

    Hi Rebecca! How cool! Well, your sprout has pretty much bypassed all the cold treatment stuff, and it’s ready to grow. What I’d do is remove it from the fridge (which won’t have damaged it by the way), and transplant it into a real pot with drainage holes (using indoor-plant potting soil). Not too big of a pot yet, maybe a 4″ or 6″ pot. I’d place it in your South windoow — I think that would be the perfect spot for it. Treat it as a houseplant over the winter, repotting if/when needed, and next spring or summer, begin to transition it outside. Once it’s used to the outdoor temps and sunlight intensity, you can plant it in the yard! I began my peach trees from seed about 8 years ago I think, and this year I harvested a wonderful load of surprisingly good peaches! It was totally cool.

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