How to Start Peach Tree Seeds

Overview

Nurseries graft peach cultivar scions to rootstocks grown from cuttings, matching specific rootstock qualities to the chosen fruiting variety of peach tree. Plant peach trees from seed for a simpler, less expensive and much more risky way of establishing a home orchard. Peach trees grown from seed often bear good fruit, but not the same as that borne on known cultivars. Quality of fruit, ripening season and disease resistance will depend on a roll of the genetic dice.

Planting Peaches from Seeds

Step 1

Collect peach pits from late-season peaches. Early peaches often don't sprout at all without special techniques. Acquire late season peaches by buying peaches from local growers in August or September. Enjoy the fruit and save the pits.

Step 2

Wash peach pits in clean water and dry the pits in a single layer on three layers of paper towels. When seeds and towels thoroughly air dry, place the seeds in a brown paper bag and store the bag indoors in a cool dark place. Fold the top of the bag loosely and check periodically for mold. If pits do mold, air dry the collection again.

Step 3

Till a row in the garden in late fall, working in compost or peat. With a hoe dig planting holes 4 inches apart in the row and plant the pits--one per hole--3 inches deep. Rake soil smooth over the top of the seeds.

Step 4

Mulch the row 1 inch deep with straw. The mulch should protect the surface of the soil from drying out, without being deep enough to harbor insects or provide cover for rodents. Maintain the mulch at 1 inch over the winter.

Step 5

Water during extended dry spells during the winter. Seeds only need to be damp, and could be drowned by too much water. Check soil beneath the mulch by digging 1 inch down with a fingertip. If the soil is dry to that depth, water lightly.

Step 6

Peaches sprout in early spring. Not every pit will develop into a seedling, but a 50 percent germination rate could yield 30 seedlings from a 20-foot row. Nurture seedlings in the garden for the summer and transplant to permanent locations in fall.

Tips and Warnings

  • Vegetables and fruits release ethylene when in refrigerated storage. Ethylene could interfere with the sprouting cycle of peach pits.

Things You'll Need

  • Peach pits
  • Paper towels
  • Paper bag
  • Garden space
  • Compost or peat
  • Tiller
  • Hoe
  • Rake
  • Straw

References

  • Michigan Peach Sponsors: What Will Happen if I Plant a Peach Pit?
  • Mother Earth News: Grow Free Fruit Trees
  • Horticulture & Home Pest News: Germination of Tree Seed

Who Can Help

  • Peach Facts: Growing Peach Trees
Keywords: start peach seed, stratify peach seed, plant peach seed

About this Author

James Young began writing as a military journalist in Alaska and combat correspondent in Vietnam. His lifetime fascination with technical and manual arts yields decades of experience in electronics, turnery, blacksmithing, outdoor sports, woodcarving, joinery and sailing. Young's articles have been published in Tai Chi Magazine, Sonar 4 Ezine, The Marked Tree, Stars & Stripes, the SkinWalker Files and Fine Woodworking.