If you’re a cherry lover, you’ve probably spit your share of cherry pits, or maybe it’s just me. At any rate, have you ever wondered, “Can you grow a cherry tree pit?” If so, how do you grow cherry trees from pits? Let’s find out.
Can You Grow a Cherry Tree Pit?
Yes indeed. Growing cherry trees from seed is not only an inexpensive way to grow a cherry tree, but it’s also lots of fun and delicious!
First, can you grow a cherry tree in your region? Cherry varieties are hardy through USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9, depending upon the type.
Now comes the hard part. Eat some cherries. That’s a tough one, huh? Use cherries from either a tree growing in the area or purchased from a farmers market. Cherries from the grocers are stored in such a way, refrigerated, that makes starting seeds from them unreliable.
Save the pits from the cherries you’ve just devoured and put them in a bowl of warm water. Let the pits soak for five minutes or so and then lightly scrub them free of any clinging fruit. Spread the clean pits out on a paper towel in a warm area and let them dry for three to five days, then transfer the dry pits to a plastic container, labeled and fitted with a tight lid. Store the pits in the refrigerator for 10 weeks.
Why are you doing this? Cherries need to go through a cold or stratification period that normally occurs naturally during the winter, prior to germination in the spring. Refrigerating the pits is artificially mimicking this process. Okay, seed planting of cherry trees is now ready to commence.
How to Grow Cherry Trees from Pits
Once the ten weeks has passed, remove the pits and allow them to come to room temperature. You are now ready for planting the cherry seeds. Put two to three pits into a small container filled with planting medium and water the seeds in. Keep the soil moist.
When the cherry seedlings are 2 inches (5 cm.) tall, thin them, removing the weakest plants and leaving the sturdiest seedling in the pot. Keep the seedlings in a sunny area indoors until all danger of frost has passed for your region, and then transplant outside. Multiple trees should be planted at least 20 (6 m.) feet apart.
Seed Planting Cherry Trees
Growing cherry trees from seed can also be attempted directly in the garden. In this method, you are skipping the refrigeration and letting the seeds go through a natural stratification process through the winter.
In the fall, gather the dried cherry pits and plant them outside. Plant a few since some may not germinate. Set the seeds 2 inches (5 cm.) deep and one foot (31 cm.) apart. Mark the planting sites.
In the spring, the pits will sprout. Wait until the seedlings are 8-12 inches (10 cm.) in height and then transplant them to their permanent site in the garden. Mulch well around the transplanted seedlings to retard weeds and aid in water retention.
And, there you have it! Planting cherry seeds is as simple as that! The difficult part is waiting for those luscious cherries.