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How to Start Plum Trees From Seeds


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

It's undoubtedly satisfying and delicious to pick a plum, ripe from the tree. You may have wondered, while staring at the pit that's left behind, if you can plant it. Well, you can. Starting a plum tree from a seed can be an enjoyable project and is relatively easy. With some special preparation for the seed, you can sprout a plum tree from a pit right in your own home.

Starting Your Plum Seeds

Check your area's hardiness zone to see if a plum tree will grow in your region. Plums usually grow best in zones 5 through 9 because they need a certain amount of cold to set fruit.

Get your plum pits. You can get pits from a local tree, commercial sources such as seed companies, or from fresh fruit at your local grocery store or farmer's market.

Use a nut cracker to remove the seeds from the pits. 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 offer two methods of breaking dormancy in your seeds.

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. They will sprout the following spring.

Use a technique called stratification to break the dormancy of your seeds, if the temperature is not right in your area for direct sowing and you want to plant in the spring or indoors. Place your seeds about 1 inch deep in a small container filled with half peat moss and half sand. Refrigerate the seeds for around 30 days. Keep the soil from drying out to encourage germination.

Once you have broken the dormancy of your seeds, plant them after the last risk of 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.

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