How to Start Almond Trees From a Seed

Overview

Almonds are one of the most popular nuts in the world, with over 4 billion pounds produced annually. According to Dr. Mark Rieger, Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, almonds have been grown domestically since at least 3,000 BC and possibly much longer. Although they are grown commercially by grafting onto rootstocks, almond trees can be grown from seed with a little patience. Not all seeds germinate however, so it's best to start with about 10 unshelled almonds.

Step 1

Crack the shells carefully with the nutcracker, just enough to allow water and air to reach the nut inside. Leave the rest of the shell intact. Place the shells in a bowl of lukewarm water and let stand for 12 hours.

Step 2

Fill the plastic bag with peat moss and place the shells inside. Add just enough water to keep the almonds and peat moss moist. Seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator for eight to nine weeks. This simulates stratification, the process by which the dormancy of the seed is broken. The recommended stratification for almond seeds is 60 days at 41 degrees. Check the bag weekly and add water as needed to maintain moisture.

Step 3

Make a potting mix of equal parts potting soil and peat moss. Fill the planting containers with the mix. Be sure to use containers that have drainage holes in the bottom. Remove the almonds from the bag and plant them two or three to a pot, 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Place the pots in a warm, sunny location and water sparingly to keep the soil and seeds moist.

Step 4

Transplant your seedlings outdoors in the early spring, but only after they have developed several sets of leaves. Almond trees grow best in well-drained, slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic material. The ideal soil pH is 6.0 to 6.5. The trees need plenty of light, so choose an exposed location. Be sure to mark where the seeds are planted and keep it clear of foot traffic and lawn equipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Nutcracker
  • Bowl
  • Unshelled almonds
  • Peat moss
  • Sealable plastic bag
  • Sterile potting soil
  • 6-inch planting pots with trays

References

  • University of Georgia Horticulture Department: Almond -- Prunus dulcis
  • Pacific Northwest Extension Publications: Propagating Plants From Seed
  • University of California Cooperative Extension: Almond Tree Planting
Keywords: grow almond seeds, grow almond trees, almond tree seeds

About this Author

Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Stephen Oakley is a freelance writer focusing on environmental issues, travel and all things outdoors. His background includes many years spent working in the Canadian wilderness and traveling worldwide.