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How to Start Fruit Trees From Seeds

By Frank Whittemore ; Updated September 21, 2017

Many types of fruit trees can be started from seed. Some fruit trees, such as orange or lemon trees, can be started immediately from seed, while others require a certain amount of time at cold temperatures to encourage germination. This is known as breaking dormancy. Armed with a little knowledge, you can start fruit trees from seed in your own home and discover a great way to improve your garden.

Obtaining Your Seeds

Obtain seeds from a parent tree, fresh fruit from the grocery store or farmer's market or commercial sources such as seed companies or garden centers.

Remove the seeds from any fruit. If necessary, remove seeds from within hard pits using a nutcracker.

Ensure the seeds are fresh and free of disease or damage. Clean the seeds in water, if necessary.

Breaking Dormancy

Break the dormancy of your seeds, for certain species of fruit trees including apple, peach, pear, plum, nectarine and apricot, following steps 2 and 3 below.

Plant the seeds in the fall, directly into the ground if you live in areas where temperatures drop below 40 degrees F for 60 to 120 days.

In warmer climates, place the seeds about 1 inch deep in a container filled with a mixture of equal amounts of peat moss and sand, and refrigerate for 60 to 120 days. Water as needed to keep the soil from drying out.

Planting Your Seeds

Plant seeds in 1 or 2 inches of fertile soil and water them so the soil is damp, but not wet. You can plant seeds directly in the ground in a sunny spot, or in individual pots for transplant at a later time.

Fertilize lightly and water regularly.

Watching for growth within 3 weeks of planting.


Things You Will Need

  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Plastic container
  • Nutcracker
  • Fruit tree seeds


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

About the Author


In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.