How to Propagate an Almond Tree
Almonds are the seeds of drupes or fruit normally grown in subtropical and almost arid conditions. For this reason, they grow prolifically in California and the Mediterranean region. They are a relative of the peach tree, so close in fact that many nurseries actually graft almond seedlings onto peach rootstock. Starting a new almond tree from cuttings is a bit challenging for most private growers since the almond cuttings rarely sprout roots. If you have access to non-pasteurized seeds, which means they are from the U.S., you can try sprouting the seeds, which is usually quite successful.
Soak your raw almonds in warm to room temperature water for 24 hours. If they are still in their shell, carefully remove the outer shell with a knife or nutcracker, just be careful not to damage the seed inside.
Prepare your plant pots. You will need to place them in a refrigerator or garage where the temperature stays at about 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for about six weeks. This process is called stratification and can be done outside in temperate zones, but you run the risk of animals and bugs eating the almond before it gets a chance to grow. Fill the pots up all the way with the soil mixture, as the almond roots tend to go deep.
Bury the soaked almonds about 3 inches below the soil line in the plant pots. Planting two almonds per hole will ensure that at least one grows. If both do, you can cut the extra sprout. Don't disturb the roots once they start growing. Place the whole pot in the plastic bag and close it up, creating a humid environment. Set it in your refrigerator or garage for six weeks.
Pull the potted almonds out of the refrigerator after the cold time of six weeks and remove them from the plastic bag. Set them out on a sunny window or under grow lights for 10 hours a day until you start to see growth, watering them daily up until then. Keep them inside until the weather warms up to 50 degrees or more consistently.
Plant them outside in a hole prepared in a site with full sun and good drainage. Be careful not to disturb the roots, keeping as much of the soil around them as possible. Their roots will grow deep into the soil so the seedling rarely needs water after it grows to be 2 or 3 feet high. Remove weeds and keep the soil around the tree from getting compacted by lightly tilling it for better water absorption.
- Native U.S. raw almonds
- 6-inch plant pots
- Potting soil mixture (50:50 potting soil:sand)
- Plastic bag