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How to Plant Cherry Pits

In the summer, cherries show up in markets and on trees in rich abundance. Growing cherry trees from the pit is a fun experiment though the results may be varied. Like many fruit trees, cherries do not reproduce true to type. You may get a cherry similar to the one you planted, or you may get a sour inedible fruit. Grafting is the only way to reproduce a cherry that is true to type.

Remove all the fruit from a cherry pit, eating it away is the most delicious way to accomplish this task, but you can also scrape the fruit off with a knife. Leave the hard casing on the seed.

Place the seed in a handful of damp peat moss. Put the peat moss with the cherry seed inside a zip lock baggie and put it into the refrigerator for 8 to 10 weeks. Cherry pits need a period of cold in order to germinate; by using the refrigerator you can recreate winter conditions in the ground.

Prepare an 8- to 10-inch planting pot with a mixture of potting soil and rich compost. If you do not have a compost pile of your own, you can purchase ready made compost from your local garden store or nursery.

Remove your cherry seed from the refrigerator and take it out of the peat moss after the obligatory 8 to 10 week chilling period.

Make a ½-inch deep hole in the center of your planting pot using a small dowel or your finger.

Place your cherry seed into the hole and cover the top with soil, water the pot and set it on a windowsill in full sun. You should see a seedling in 3 to 4 weeks after planting.


Plant several seeds so that if one or two don’t germinate you will still have a tree to plant in the ground, if you have several successful plants, plant the healthiest looking one.

When planting cherries from seed you will not see fruit for 7 to 10 years, for quicker fruit production, grafting will result in fruit in 3 to 5 years.

If you live in USDA planting zones 4 to 7 you can move your cherry seedling outdoors and plant it in the ground. If you live in an area outside this zone, you will likely have trouble raising a cherry tree to maturity.

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