Cherries are one of the most popular fruits in North America. It can be hard to resist planting one of the pits after you finish a delicious batch. Before you plant, however, make sure that your area is well suited for growing the variety of cherry that you intend to plant. Sweet cherry varieties grow best in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7a and 7b and sour cherry varieties grow best between growing zones 5b and 7b.
Harvest the cherry pits from the cherries. Harvest three times the amount of pits you think you'll need. Not all of them will germinate. Be sure to carefully wash off all the flesh from the pit. Do not let the cherry pit dry out before proceeding to the next step.
Line the bottom of a plastic bag with 4 inches of moistened vermiculite. Insert the seeds in the middle of the vermiculite. Then store the bag in the refrigerator for six to eight weeks. Check on the bag periodically and moisten the vermiculite with water from a spray bottle if it dries out.
Plant the seeds outside or in a pot at a depth that is twice their widest diameter. If you intend to start them in a pot, plant two seeds 1 inch apart in the center of each 6-inch pot filled with seed-starting, soilless potting medium. The seeds will germinate in a few weeks. If you intend to plant the seeds in the ground, plant each pair of seeds 1 inch apart. If both seeds from the pair germinate, cull the weakest one six weeks after it germinates by cutting it off at ground level. Seeds planted in the ground will germinate in spring.
Water the seeds. In a pot, water the seeds until water runs out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. In the ground, water so that at least the top 5 inches of soil are moist (stick a wooden dowel into the ground to help you gauge the moisture depth). Keep the soil in the pot or in the ground moist until the seed is well established.