How to Plant & Grow a Peach Pit
Peach pits contain a seed that can be used to grow a tree, but the tree will not produce the same quality fruit as the original tree.
The fragrant, sugary fruit produced by cultivated peach trees (Prunus persica) make them a sought-after addition to home gardens within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 to 9.
Peach trees are typically grown using grafts or budding, which will produce a tree with identical fruiting and cold hardiness to the original. Seed-grown peach trees may not have the same traits as the original tree, but learning how to plant peach seeds and watching them grow is a worthwhile experiment for beginner and advanced gardeners alike.
How to Collect Peach Seeds for Planting
The pit found inside peaches is not the seed; it is the endocarp that surrounds and protects the seed. The pit must be cracked open and the seed removed before it can be planted. Removing a peach seed from a pit is easy to do, but it must be done very carefully to avoid damaging the delicate seed coat.
Place the pit in a vise grip or in a handheld nutcracker and squeeze until the pit splits open. Use tweezers to pull out the almond-like seed inside.
Wear gloves when handling peach seeds because they contain cyanide, which is poisonous.
Keep Your Seeds Cool Until You're Ready to Plant Them
Peach seeds must be kept cool until you are ready to plant them.
If you plan on chilling the seeds in the refrigerator until spring, soak them overnight in room-temperature water and then place them in a bag of moist potting soil. Store the bag inside the refrigerator for four months and then plant the seeds in pots or in the ground.
How to Plant a Peach Seed
Autumn is the best time to plant peach seeds, because they need the cold chill of winter to germinate in spring.
Peach seeds require 120 to 130 days at temperatures between 33 and 50°F to induce germination, which can be done by sowing the seeds outdoors or by keeping the seeds in the refrigerator until spring.
Whether you are starting peach seeds in pots or directly in the ground, they may need occasional watering. Check the soil moisture and water deeply if the soil feels dry beneath the surface. Peach seeds can easily rot if kept under damp conditions, so do not water if the soil feels moist.
The seeds will sprout after the soil warms above 68°F, although the germination time can vary from a few weeks to a couple of months.
Growing a Peach Seedling
Peach seedlings need to be watered every 10 to 12 days as they establish their new root system. Water at the base of the seedling rather than spraying from overhead, because too much moisture on the foliage can create ideal conditions for fungal problems.
A 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of mulch spread around the base of the seedling will help keep the soil moist; just don't let the mulch rest against the seedling. Use lightweight mulch, such as straw or shredded bark, which will allow moisture to evaporate from the soil.
Once the peach seedling reaches 6 to 8 inches in height, it needs a side-dressing of high-nitrogen fertilizer, such as urea, to support its growth. Apply the fertilizer 3 inches away from the base of the seedling and water well afterward.
Alternatively, side-dress around the peach seedling with well-rotted manure compost to encourage strong growth. Make sure the compost doesn't touch the seedling.
Transplant potted peach seedlings a year after starting the seeds.
- Some peach tree varieties do not grow well in zone 4 or colder climates. Before planting your peach tree in the ground, determine what variety has grown from the peach pit. If you live in zone 4 or colder, you may wish to keep your tree in a container, and move it indoors during the winter.
Sasha Degnan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Anthropology. Her written work has appeared in both online and print publications. She is a certified Master Gardener and dedicated plant enthusiast with decades of experience growing and propagating native and exotic plant varieties.