Toss a peach pit in the dirt, and a few months later, you get a peach tree. Sounds easy, right? Well, knowing how to plant a peach seed is a little more complicated than that.
But it can be done! You – yes you! – can grow a peach tree from seed that produces beautiful, delicious, fuzzy-in-a-good-way peaches. You just have to be smart about it. Read on to learn the Dos and Don’ts of how to plant a peach seed.
Picking the Right Peach Seed
The most important thing to remember with planting a peach seed is start as you mean to go. In other words, think through your strategy and goals first before planting. Gardening isn’t something meant to be fumbled through.
The first step for how to plant a peach seed is determining what kind of peach you want to grow. There are two main kinds: freestones and clingstones.
Freestone peaches are best for eating. Their flesh peels away easily from the pit, making for a cleaner, more satisfying eating experience.
Clingstone peaches are best for canning because they are extra-sweet and extra-juicy. Their sweetness can last much longer. Their flesh clings to the pit, making them more challenging to eat raw.
Once you decide which kind of peach you want to plant, you can start to plan out your growing schedule. Clingstones get harvested in the height of summer. Freestones are harvested in late summer into early fall.
When thinking about how to plant a peach seed that grows, you’ll also want to go one level deeper and find a peach variety that can survive in your climate. Most peach trees need a year-round warm climate; however, a few peach tree varieties that can survive negative temperatures, e.g. reliance and contender peaches.
Peach Pit vs Seed
Besides being an iconic fictional diner, the peach pit is the natural shell that protects the peach seed, which is what’s needed to actually grow a tree.
When it comes to how to plant a peach seed, do you need to remove the peach pit to get the job done? It’s not necessary for growing a peach tree from seed but recommended that you separate the seed from the pit.
We also recommend that you plant multiple seeds when you undertake planting a peach seed. Don’t worry: You won’t wind up with an instant peach orchard, so your backyard can rest easy. Planting multiple seeds gives you the greatest shot of one seed growing into a tree. It’s like buying multiple lottery tickets.
No seed has a 100% success rate. You don’t want to plant one or two seeds, have them not take, then have to wait a whole year to try again.
To remove a seed from a pit, crack open the pit gently to ensure you don’t damage the seed. Scraping or breaking the seed will make its chances of germination extremely low.
To prepare peach seeds, you will want to clean them thoroughly. This may seem counterintuitive since they’ll be going right back into the dirt, and this is often a step that people skip. But washing a seed gets rid of bacteria or mold that could stymie growth.
After you wash your seed, let it air dry overnight. Take the extra step by spraying it with a fungicide to ward off other potential diseases, something that most casual growers don’t do. Some people are against using fungicides, but there are organic varieties you can try that won’t harm the seed, the fruit, or the surrounding environment.
Germinating Peach Pit Seeds
Once you have your seeds prepared, the next step in how to plant a peach seed is to let the seeds appropriately go through germination. Germination are the crucial weeks when you first plant seeds and sprouts pop up, which help fortify them in the ground.
Natural germination is when you plant your seeds directly in the ground right before the first frost, sometime in the fall. The seeds will essentially latch into the soil for the winter, which will make for easier sprouting in springtime. It’s the critical part of growing a peach tree from seed.
Going natural may work for lots of things in life, but if you want to give your peach seed the best chance of survival, it’ll need more help than this. Natural germination gives your seed lower chances of sprouting; you’re leaving it up to the elements, which would be a waste of planting a peach seed.
Before you start trying to grow your peach seed, put it through stratification to get it strong. You want your seed to get used to different weather conditions, especially cold temperatures. Peaches are warm weather plants, and a snap cold spell could derail the seed’s progress.
For stratification, soak your seed, then place in a plastic bag with moist soil and stick it in your fridge for one-to-three months. This will mimic the natural germination process of being outside during the winter freeze. By the time planting season comes around, your seeds will be hardier and have a better chance of survival.
After stratification comes germination. The best method for how to plant a peach seed is to put it in a pot indoors for about a month or so. Indoors, you can better control the climate, water intake, and sun exposure. Put your seed in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil and place it by a window that gets plenty of sunlight. Water regularly, but don’t overdo it.
Think of it as a science experiment that you’re monitoring daily. After about a month, little green sprouts will appear in the soil. At that time, it’ll be ready to transfer into the ground.
To give your plant seed even better odds when planting a peach seed, put it through acclimatization right before planting. Once your seed begins to sprout leaves, put your seedling in direct sunlight for two hours per day for about three days. That will strengthen in and prepare it for being in sunlight for prolonged periods.
Spring can be a wonky season, and if it’s warmer than usual, then you want your seeds to be able to survive the heat.
Best Practices for How to Plant a Peach Seed
You’ve already done so much to bring your seed to a solid place where it can thrive. Don’t fumble when you’re so close to the end zone. Set up all parts of the seed’s environment for optimum success.
Use moist, well-drained soil in your garden when growing a peach tree from seed. The well-draining part is critical because if you have a heavy rain, you don’t want your seed to drown under the water. You want soil that can drain.
Add compost or fertilizer to the soil, which will pump up the nutrients available to your seed to make it grow. The right fertilizer can give your peach tree everything it needs to bear fruit.
Plant your seeds about four inches deep and cover them with one inch of mulch to keep them safe during any spring cold spells.
Plant your seed in a spot that gets lots of sun. Observe your garden for a few days before planting a peach seed to discover the best spots, as well as the spots to avoid. You don’t want to plant your seed in a spot that gets overshadowed by a neighbor’s tree in the afternoon when the sun moves.
Once you plant your seed, you really don’t want to try and move it.
Try to find a spot in your garden that is slightly elevated. That can give it more sunlight exposure as well as help with air circulation.
Only water your peach seed when dry. If you’ve received ample rain, then you won’t need to water. Overwatering could limit growth or even drown your peach plant entirely. Keep an eye on the weather. If it hasn’t rained in a few days, then you’ll want to get out there.
Continued Care for Peach Seeds
You’ve grown a peach seed into a tree. Congratulations! But the work isn’t over. You’ll need to do maintenance to make sure it keeps growing. It takes three years for a peach tree to bear fruit.
Make sure to keep watering your tree if there’s a dry spell. Continue to fertilize the tree every spring so that it keeps receiving plentiful nutrients. Check on your tree after heavy rains to make sure it’s continuing to drain well.
You’ll also want to monitor for any bacteria or diseases that may show up and destroy your hard work. Look for browning leaves, discolored bark, or other signs of a diseased plant. Prune away any brown leaves.
Start as You Mean to Go With Peach Seeds
Learning how to plant a peach seed properly takes a few extra steps. But getting your seed hardy will give you the best chance possible of bearing delicious peaches. How sweet is that?
Get more insight into growing and caring for a peach tree by visiting our Peaches page for all our peach-related blog posts.