Picking and eating fresh, juicy plums from a tree in your own yard is satisfying and delicious. Starting a plum tree from a seed can be an enjoyable project and is relatively easy to do. With some special preparation for the seed itself, and some care and patience, you can start a plum tree from a pit at home.
Starting Your Plum Tree Seeds
Make sure a plum tree will grow in your area by checking the hardiness zone for your region. Most plum trees need a certain amount of cold to set fruit. Because of these 'chill hours', they are usually grown from zone 5 through zone 9.
Obtain your plum pits. You can get pits from a local tree, commercial sources such as seed companies, or the tastiest way--from fresh fruit sold at your grocery or farmer's market.
Remove the seeds from the pits by opening them with a nut cracker. Make sure the seeds are fresh and free of damage or disease.
Break the dormancy of the seeds. Plum seeds need a certain amount of time in cold conditions to germinate. The steps below demonstrate two methods of breaking dormancy.
Plant your seeds directly in the ground in the fall to break dormancy, if you live in areas where temperatures drop below 40 degrees F for at least 90 days. Plant seeds 2 inches deep in fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of sun.
Stratify your seeds to break dormancy. If the temperature is not right in your area for direct sowing or you want to plant in the spring or indoors, use a technique called stratification. Place your seeds approximately 1 inch deep in a small container filled with half peat moss and half sand and refrigerate them for 30 days. Keep the soil from drying out to encourage germination.
Once you have broken the dormancy of your seeds, you can plant them after the last frost of spring. Plant seeds 2 inches deep in fertile, well drained soil with good sun exposure.
Watch for sprouting in 3 to 4 weeks. As your plum tree grows, continue to water and feed it with a fruit tree fertilizer.