How to plant a peach seed

It takes a few years for a peach tree pulled from a core to bear fruit. In some cases the tree never sets fruit. Whether a seed peach tree delivers a bountiful harvest depends primarily on the peach variety from which the stone fruit comes. The same is true when it comes to whether or not the core germinates at all. We will explain to you how you can successfully grow a peach tree in 7 simple steps.

Seeds

The peach tree, botanically called Prunus persica, is a tree up to three meters high that bears tasty fruits. Like many other well-known fruit trees, the peach belongs to the stone fruit plants within the rose family. The wood forms characteristic fruits, in the pulp of which there is a firmly anchored stone core. If you want to multiply the plant, such a core can be planted in soil. Each of these stone cores contains exactly one seed.

Which varieties are suitable?

There is a peach tree in every single core. However, because cross-pollination can produce very different results between the individual varieties, apples, pears and other fruit trees are usually not propagated by seeds. The almond-shaped kernels of peaches, on the other hand, often provide the desired properties. Although plants can be grown from the kernels of almost all types of peach, you won't have much fun with most of them, because these plants are usually quite small and rarely bear fruit.

In order to actually be able to harvest fruit after a while, you need a so-called real peach variety. Correct means that the various properties of the mother plant are also transferred to the seedling. This is not necessarily the case with today's cultivars, because they are often hybrids, the seeds of which either do not produce viable plants or produce completely different properties. Crosses between two trees that occur during pollination by insects also often lead to less than desirable results. Genuine varieties are also known as wild peaches.

Genuine varieties

Many peaches, which naturally have white flesh, are stone-proof and therefore well suited for the propagation of the plant. Above all, this includes the following varieties:
  • Naundorfer Kernechter (fruit ripening: late August to mid-September)
  • Roter Ellerstädter / Kernechter from the foothills (maturity mid to end of September)
  • Weißer Ellerstädter (harvest from the end of August, beginning of September)
  • Proskau peach (harvest from late August to mid-September)
  • Ussurian wild peach (late variety)

Pulling a peach tree from the seeds - step-by-step instructions

To turn a peach stone into a stately tree, there are a few things to consider and a lot of patience is required. In contrast to some other seeds, a peach core cannot simply be planted in a pot with potting soil and germinates within a few days or weeks. In principle, of course, you can plant a peach stone directly in the garden soil in autumn and just wait to see if it germinates in spring. However, you will achieve a higher success rate if you keep the core until winter and then prefer it indoors.

Step 1: choose fruit

Not only the variety, but also the time at which the peach was harvested determines whether or not an attempt to grow a peach tree from a core is successful. The seed (including the fruit) must already be ripe at the time of harvest. Unripe peach stones are usually unable to germinate. If you have your own peach tree in your garden that you want to propagate, you simply wait until the fruits are ripe. This can be easily recognized by the fact that the tree sheds these fruits on its own. It gets a little more difficult when the peaches are bought in a discount store. As a rule, the fruits are taken unripe from the tree and then ripen later in an air-conditioned hall. You should therefore only use fruit that is offered in the store at the regular harvest time. Most of these white-fleshed varieties are ready for harvest from the end of August. It is even better to buy the peaches on the market from a local supplier.
  • the best seeds come from ripe fruits
  • avoid seeds from early ripening varieties
  • prefer local varieties and fruits
It is always safer to choose locally grown fruit. On the one hand, there is a greater chance that the fruit was harvested ripe, and on the other hand, this variety has already established itself with us. If you buy fruit from southern countries or overseas, this is not necessarily the case.

Tip: Since many peach kernels do not germinate at all and some young plants do not survive the first year, it is safer to use several seeds for propagation at the same time.

Step 2: remove the pulp

Before reproduction can even start, it is important to remove the pulp from the core. If stored for a long time, the sugary, juicy meat would start to rot or go moldy, so that the core would also be affected in an emergency. So if you eat a peach in autumn, you can then clean the core with a brush under running water. It is then placed on a newspaper or piece of kitchen paper to dry for a few days.

Step 3: remove woody peel or not?

Sometimes the peach is so ripe that the core has split by itself, exposing the seed inside. It is certainly not necessary to remove the outer covering (woody shell) around the actual seed, although some hobby gardeners have achieved success with it. The risk of damaging the sensitive seed inside is very high with this procedure, as the wood is quite hard. The seed naturally germinates without any problems if it remains in the shell. Should you choose to remove the woody peel, follow these steps:
  • Let the core dry in the house for a few weeks
  • This procedure causes the seed to shrink a little inside
  • so he separates from the shell
  • in addition, the wood becomes more brittle and easier to crack
  • best to open carefully with the nutcracker
Tip: Handle the exposed seed with care. Not only is it very sensitive, it also contains large amounts of cyanides. Cyanides (salts of hydrocyanic acid) are very toxic and lethal even in low concentrations (when consumed). Therefore, never leave the seeds lying around unattended when there are other people, animals, or even children in the household who could accidentally eat them.

Step 4: cold spell (stratify)

Many seeds are equipped with a so-called sprout inhibitor. This is to prevent the seed from germinating in an unfavorable season (autumn or winter) and the young, sensitive plant not surviving the frost. The peach tree is one of the so-called cold germs. In order for the seeds to germinate, they do not necessarily need frost, but temperatures below 8 degrees.

version 1

If you live in a region where the winters are long and cold, you can plant your peach kernel directly in the garden soil in autumn or winter. But wait until the summer heat wave is over.
  • shady location (must not be warmed by the winter sun)
  • protected
  • humus-sandy soil
  • must be well permeable to water
  • keep slightly damp (not wet!)
  • Planting depth 2 to 4 cm
  • Cover with brushwood, straw or leaves to protect against heavy frost
This method does not require any further measures apart from the occasional watering so that the soil remains slightly damp and is therefore very simple. Disadvantage: If the cold phase is too short or if it is interrupted by mild weather conditions, germination can be delayed by a year in the worst case.

Tip: If you have squirrels in your yard, consider putting a wire basket or rabbit mesh over the core.

Variant 2

The safest method is to expose the peach stone (or several) to an artificial cold spell. In warmer areas this is even absolutely necessary. To do this, put the core in a bag or jar with moist sand and seal it. The trick is to keep the kernels slightly moist without mold or mildew forming on them. Before you put the kernels in the bag, you should soak peach kernels that are still in the woody shell in lukewarm water overnight.
  • Time: between December and early January
  • Store in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator until spring
  • Period: at least 8 weeks
  • alternatively put in a dark, cool cellar or garage (maximum 7 degrees)
  • do not store near fruit
Tip: Seeds that overwinter in the cellar should be protected against mouse damage by a fine wire mesh.

Step 5: plant the core

In spring, when the peach kernel has survived the weeks of cold weather, it is planted in humus-rich, well-drained substrate. Monitor the kernels during the stratification, because in one case or another germination can already occur. In this case, of course, the seedling is immediately planted in the substrate.
  • Time: from March (in the house)
  • Substrate: cactus soil, potting soil
  • must not contain high amounts of nutrients
  • Planting depth: about 2 to 4 cm
  • Location: warm and bright (without direct sun)
  • Always keep the soil slightly moist
  • possibly put the pot in a plastic bag
  • occasionally ventilate
  • Germination time: several weeks to several months
You should treat plants that have already germinated during the cold spell very carefully. Place the core on the humus soil mixture that you have filled up to 4 cm below the edge. Pay attention to the direction of planting. Of course, the root has to be planted at the bottom and the shoot at the top. If only a small green tip protrudes from the woody bowl, position it downwards. Because normally the root grows first and the actual shoot on the other side only significantly later.

Step 6: pre-growing the seedlings

If small plants have developed from the peach kernels, they should be planted in a 15 cm pot and first cultivated in an eastern or northern window in the house until the trunk is slightly woody and has a minimum size of about 30 cm. Also bring the seedlings that have been sown outdoors back inside the house until the temperatures are consistently warm. In order for the young plant to grow healthy and vigorously, it is necessary that it is very light, but the temperatures are not too high. Conversely, i.e. at high temperatures and little light, the offspring tends to become very long and thin. These are bad prerequisites for developing a stable trunk. The slower the young plant grows, the harder its trunk and the better it will later withstand wind and weather.

Step 7: planting out

If you have germinated several kernels at once, choose the strongest (not necessarily the largest) plant and plant it directly in the garden. The remaining young plants can be given away or disposed of if there is not enough space. It is very important to choose the right location and to prepare the soil in advance with compost or other organic material. Heavy soils should be made more permeable for water with a good dose of sand or grit.
  • Time: mid-May at the earliest
  • there must be no more late frosts
  • get used to the field slowly at first
  • Place in partial or shady shade for about two weeks
  • a little more sun every day
  • Substrate: humus, well-drained soil
Tip: It takes at least four years for peaches pulled from the pits to bloom and form fruits.

Selection of the best plants

If the plants germinate in spring, you have the opportunity in advance to distinguish particularly large-fruited variants from those that will only bear small fruits in small numbers. Because the wider the leaves of the young plant, the more beautiful fruits you can expect.

Location

If you want to harvest numerous and large peach fruits, you should plant the seedling in a location that is as sunny and warm as possible. Peach trees can be cultivated particularly well in wine-growing areas. A rich harvest cannot be expected in regions with very cold or extremely humid winters.

Further maintenance measures

The biggest hurdle is overcome when the peach core has already sprouted. Further cultivation is no longer difficult as long as the optimal location for the tree has been selected. In the beginning, make sure that the young plant can grow well. To do this, it is necessary to check the soil for moisture for at least three to four weeks. If the top layer is already well dried, it has to be poured. The roots of the young plant need some time to grow into the surrounding regions of the earth. This is why many plants dry up immediately after being planted outdoors if they are not watered regularly.

Conclusion
With the right (genuine) variety, it is not difficult to grow a peach tree from a core - but a bit time-consuming. Once the core has germinated, the worst is already through. Some peach stones germinate quickly and easily, others take a little longer or do not germinate at all. Whatever the case, don't give up. Because with a little persistence and trying different varieties, even inexperienced gardeners can grow a plant from a peach seed. Even if the first fruits are at least four years away, patience will be rewarded.