Apricot Seed Planting – How To Start An Apricot Tree From A Pit

Apricot Cut Open Showing Brown Seed
apricot pit
(Image credit: SednevaAnna)

Ever finish eating a succulent apricot, ready to toss the pit away, and think, hmm, this is a seed. Do you wonder, “Can you plant an apricot seed?” If so, how do I go about planting apricot pits? Find out in this article and give it a go.

Can You Plant an Apricot Seed?

Query no more. Yes, growing apricots from seed is possible, cheap, and fun. So, how to start an apricot tree from a pit? Growing apricots from seed is an easy project and, in fact, pits from a variety of fruit can be used to grow trees. Cross pollination between varieties begets uncertain results, so most fruit trees are not grown from seeds. Instead, cuttings or buds of the most favorable specimens are grafted onto rootstock to produce trees that are near carbon copies of the parent trees. These grafted trees are then sold to you for a pretty penny. In the case of not only apricots, but peaches and nectarines, the hard almond-like seeds generally tend to carry on the most desirable traits of the parents. You are still taking a chance, but regardless, the growing part is lots of fun, even if the resulting fruit is less than stellar.

How to Start an Apricot Tree from a Pit

To begin your apricot seed planting, choose a luscious mid- to late-season type of apricot, ideally one that was grown from seed itself. Eat the fruit; actually eat a few to raise the chances of germination, and save your pits. Scrub any flesh off and lay them out on newspaper for three hours or so to dry. Now you need to get the seed out of the pit. Use a hammer gingerly on the side of the pit to crack it. You can also use a nutcracker or vise. The idea is to get the seed out of the pit without crushing it. If you are in doubt that any of these methods will work for you, as a last resort, you can just plant the entire pit but germination will take longer. Once you have retrieved the seeds, allow them to dry on the newspaper for a few more hours. You can now store them in a cover jar or zip-top plastic bag in refrigerator to stratify the seeds for 60 days. Whether to stratify or not depends on where you obtained the fruit. If purchased from a grocery store, the fruit has already been cold stored, so it is less likely to need to stratify; but if you bought them from a farmers market or plucked them directly from a tree, it is necessary to stratify the seeds. If you are not going to stratify the seeds, wrap them in a clean, damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag in a window. Keep an eye on it. Water as needed to keep it moist and change the paper towel if it begins to mildew.

Apricot Seed Planting

Planting time for apricot seeds from pits is signaled once you see some roots emerge. Pot the sprouting seeds. Put one seed per 4-inch pot filled with potting soil with the root end down. Keep the growing apricots from seed in a sunny window, under grow lights or in a greenhouse until they get bigger and it is time to transplant them out into the garden. With luck and patience, you will be rewarded with sweet, juicy apricots from your own tree in three to five years.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.