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Once you discover how to grow a peach tree from a pit, you may well want to add one to your backyard.
Growing peaches is an easy enough process in theory, though there'll probably be some trial and error involved, too. Although it might be several years until your peach tree produces fruit (if at all), it's actually more about enjoying the journey of growing when it comes to this particular fruit.
As John Negus from Amateur Gardening says, 'A peach tree grown from seed will flower and fruit in time, but don’t expect too much from the fruit. Those borne on seed-raised trees are often quite dry and pithy.'
However, if you've got a glut of peaches, there's no harm in planting a pit or two and seeing what happens. Germinating peach pits and growing fruit in pots is a great activity or garden project to do with your kids, too.
3 easy steps for how to grow a peach tree from a pit
It's not quite as simple as just using a pit from any type of peach and easily growing new fruit. The sad truth is, not all peach pits will germinate, so it's recommended to try a few different varieties and increase your chances.
This is the fun part: taste test a range of peaches and see which one you like the best. This might be regarding fruit size, flavor, or color.
It's also a good idea to use a local peach variety that will continue to happily grow in your area. Whether you're looking for a fruit tree to grow in pots or you want to plant your peach tree in the ground, check the soil type, climate type and growing region required before attempting to grow a peach tree from a pit.
You're first going to prep your peach pit, then attempt the germination process for a few months, and finally transplant your newly growing peach tree seedling into a larger container. We explain the steps for how to grow a peach tree from a pit below:
1. Prepare your peach pit
Start by removing all the flesh from the peach pit, first by eating, then gently with a brush or cloth. Once it's clean, you can wash the pit in warm water to further rinse off any traces of fruit.
Dry the peach pit with a paper towel and leave for 12 hours minimum, so it's completely free of water. It's important to let a peach seed dry before planting to avoid it getting moldy.
To get at the seed, or kernel, that's hiding within the hard outer layer of the pit, you need to crack open the peach pit. This might be easy if the pit is already a little cracked, but you could also need a sharp knife or a gentle tap with a hammer. Don't hit it too hard, as you don't want to risk damaging the seed.
You need to be extremely careful when handling the seeds from a peach pit. They contain cyanide compounds, which can be poisonous to both animals and humans if swallowed, so wear your best gardening gloves.
2. Germinate the peach pit
Peach seeds need cold stratification to germinate, which means they require exposure to cold temperatures for a prolonged period.
In nature, this process would happen during the winter, and you can certainly plant your peach pit directly in the ground – but if you have mild winters (or want to germinate indoors regardless), you'll want to follow these cold stratification tips.
First, once your peach pit has fully dried out, place the pit in a plastic bag with just a little condensation inside. With multiple pits, each should have its own bag to germinate in. Some advice will suggest then adding some moist potting soil or compost into the bag to aid the germination process.
Next, pop the plastic bags into the fridge for around eight weeks. This gives the illusion of winter, meaning that hopefully the pit will begin to sprout. It might take up to 3-4 months to see sprouts. Some seeds germinate quicker than others, so don't give up on them.
3. Plant the peach pit
When you have a sturdy sprout or root appearing on your peach pit – approximately 3-4 inches or more – it's time to pot it up. Plant the seedling a few inches below the surface of around a gallon of peat-free compost in a large container, at least 12 inches tall, which will allow for the tap root to develop and spread out.
Keep your planted seedling in a warm environment for the next few months while it gets itself established. If you've potted up your peach tree seedling inside, it will need hardening off for about an hour a day before moving it outdoors fully.
Don't plant out your peach tree when there's risk of frost. Dobbies’ (opens in new tab) Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, notes that young peach trees are good options if you're thinking about what to plant in a greenhouse as this warmer, more protected location will ensure any seedlings that appear are protected from frost, therefore giving them the best chance of thriving.
Marcus suggests watering plants regularly to keep the compost damp and your pit hydrated, especially during summer.
What time of year should you plant out a germinated peach pit?
Marcus says if you are growing your peach tree from seed, you should plant out in early spring. However, if you are planting out a germinated peach pit, fall is the best time to plant, so make it one of your autumn tasks in the monthly gardening calendar.
How long does it take to grow a peach tree from a pit?
Marcus Eyles says if you plant your peach pit in fall, seedlings will usually begin to appear in the spring. However, peach trees are a slow grower, so don't expect much for a while: in fact, it might take between three to four years for your peach tree to produce fruit, so patience is key.
This process can be sped up by choosing the best possible spot for your tree, and providing it with everything it likes. Peach trees adore full sunshine and require a protected spot on a sunny garden wall, plus a good-quality peat-free compost.
As your peach tree grows, Marcus suggests repotting each year, moving up a pot size until you reach around 15in (40cm) to give the roots enough space. Peach trees also require to be pollinated to bear fruit, so will benefit from a wildlife-friendly garden and any surrounding plants for pollinators.
Freelance writer and author Flora Baker is a keen amateur gardener and houseplant enthusiast. Her small garden in South London is a constant work in progress as she gets to grips with snail prevention, DIY trellises and what to plant in shady spots overrun with ivy.
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