How to Grow a Fruit Tree From Seed


Many fruit trees, including peach, pear, plum, apple and citrus trees can be started from seed. Some fruit tree species can be started easily, while others may require some special preparation to promote germination. With a little knowledge, you can start fruit trees from seed in your own home and discover a great way to enhance your garden.

Step 1

Check the hardiness zone requirements of the fruit tree you want to grow outdoors to see if your area will support it. For example, planting citrus outside requires zones 9 or 10.

Step 2

Obtain your seeds. They can come from a parent tree, fresh fruit, your grocery or farmer's market, or commercial sources such as seed companies. Your seeds should be fresh and free of disease or damage.

Step 3

Prepare your seed for germination. While some seeds--such as orange or apple seeds--require no special care before planting, others (such as peach or plum seeds) require a little special attention. These seeds are within hard pits that can be removed using a nutcracker.

Step 4

Break the dormancy of your seeds, if necessary. Some seeds, including apple, peach, pear, plum, and apricot seeds, require a certain amount of time at cold temperatures to germinate. Follow the steps below to break dormancy.

Step 5

Sow the seeds in the fall, directly into the ground to break dormancy if you live in areas where temperatures drop below 40 degrees F for 60 to 120 days.

Step 6

Stratify the seeds to break dormancy. If you do not live where the temperature is right for sowing in the fall or want to plant in spring or indoors, use a technique call stratification. Place your seeds approximately 1 inch deep in a container filled with half peat moss and half sand and refrigerate them for 60 to 120 days, depending on the species. Keep the soil from drying out.

Step 7

Sow your seeds. While preparation techniques differ from species to species, the method of planting is generally the same. Plant seeds in 1 or 2 inches of fertile soil and water them in. The seeds can be planted directly in the ground or in individual pots and transplanted later. Ensure that the area where the seeds are planted receives a good amount of sun each day. Once planted, watch for growth within 3 weeks of planting. Fertilize lightly and water regularly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Because seeds are produced by pollination from an unknown source, trees from seeds may not always resemble the parent plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Tree seeds
  • Plastic container and lid
  • Soil mixture of 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 sand


  • Iowa State University

Who Can Help

  • The Angelgrove Tree Seed Company
Keywords: fruit tree seeds, fruit seed propagation, break dormancy, germinate fruit seeds

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.