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How to Plant Chinese Pistache Seeds

pistache image by Richard villalon from

The Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), a relative of the cashew, is deciduous and fast-growing, reaching a height of 35 feet with an equal spread. Chinese pistache offers the most drought-tolerant and cold-hardy species in the Pistacia genus and thrives in hot, dry environments. The Chinese pistache is prone to wilt disease if grown in soil with poor drainage, but is otherwise disease-resistant. The Chinese pistache grows best in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6b to 11. Start Chinese pistache seeds indoors.

Moisten enough peat moss to envelope the Chinese pistache seeds. Wring the excess water from the peat until it is only slightly moist. Push the seeds into the medium and place the bundle in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 45 days.

Pour equal amounts of peat moss and vermiculite into a seed flat and water it until the water drains from the bottom. Water it again to ensure it is consistently moist and allow it to drain completely.

Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and the peat moss and plant them 1 inch deep in the soil in the seed flat. Place the flat on the heat mat, and set it at 80 degrees F. Mist the soil frequently so that it remains moist.

Transplant the Chinese pistache seedlings when they develop their second set of leaves. Pour a mixture of equal amounts of potting soil, peat and sand into small pots. Remove the seedlings from the flat and plant them in the pots. Allow them to remain until you see roots near the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and transplant again, using the same type of soil mixture, into 1-gallon containers.

Grow the Chinese pistache in the larger pots, placed in light shade, for one year prior to placing the trees in their permanent locations. Water the seedlings when the top 1 inch of soil becomes dry.

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