How to Plant Pecan Trees From Seed


Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are nut producing, deciduous trees that can grow to as tall as 100 to 140 feet. They are native trees to regions throughout North America, and areas in Mexico. Pecan trees have graceful, airy foliage and make for attractive additions to any garden. Although its relatively simple to start pecan trees from seed, keep in mind it can take anywhere from 15 to 20 years before they start producing nuts.

Preparing Pecans Seeds

Step 1

Collect pecan nuts in late fall, October through November. Pecan nuts need to be dried to a certain moisture content. To do this, set them in a location in your home where it's about 65 to 70 degrees F. According to Texas A&M, the kernel moisture needs to be reduced to between 4 and 6 percent. A good way to tell if the moisture level is sufficient is if the pecan kernels snap when they are bent.

Step 2

Put dampened sand, peat moss or vermiculite into a polythene bag. The bag should be about one half full of the dampened media. Put the pecan nuts into the polythene bag and make sure they are surrounded by the dampened packing media.

Step 3

Place the polythene bag into your refrigerator, or a location where the temperature will remain about 45 degrees F, and no colder than 30 degrees F. Keep the bag in the refrigerator for about four months. During the cold storage, make sure the packing media in the bag is kept moist. Open the bag every two to three days and spray the packing media with water as needed.

Step 4

Remove the bag from the refrigerator one week before you want to plant them. Take the pecan seeds out of the bag and place them in a warm location in your home to acclimate them to room temperature. Try to keep the temperature between 60 and 70 degrees F.

Planting Pecan Seeds

Step 1

Remove the pecan seeds from the warm location one day before planting them and let them soak in a bowl of water for 24 hours.

Step 2

Scoop a humus-rich potting mix into 1-gallon pots until the pots are filled with soil to within 1/2 inch from the top of the rim. Dampen the soil in each of the pots until it is moist to the touch.

Step 3

Poke holes in the center of each of the 1 gallon pots that are the same width as the pecan seeds. Each of the holes should be 3 to 4 inches deep.

Step 4

Remove all the pecan nuts from the water after 24 hours. The pecans should show signs of swelling and have a split in them. Plant them immediately after removing them from the water.

Step 5

Plant one pecan into each 1-gallon pot. Plant them sideways (horizontal) in the pot. Cover each of the pecan seeds with approximately 3 to 4 inches of the potting mix. Germination of pecan seeds varies from one to three months. Pecans are slow-growing trees. After about a year, they should be between 6 and 18 inches tall.

Things You'll Need

  • Pecans
  • Polythene bag
  • Peat moss, vermiculite or sand
  • Sprayer bottle
  • 1-gallon pots
  • Potting mix


  • Pecan Trees
  • Texas A&M: Growing Pecans From Seed
Keywords: germinating pecans, growing pecans from seed, planting pecans

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.