How to grow a plum tree from a fresh seed

Updated February 21, 2017

Plum seeds that make their way into the soil, after the fruit falls to the ground and rots, can eventually grow into a plum tree. After about five or six years it may begin to bear fruit. The biggest challenge for the seed is to escape the clutches of squirrels. Instead of leaving the process to a random act of nature, plant the seed yourself, protect it from the squirrels and watch it grow into a new fruit tree. If you decide to move the new seedling to another location in the garden, transplant it after the tree is a year old.

Remove the stones from the plums when you are ready to plant the seeds. Rinse the stone under water to remove the sugar.

Plant each seed in the soil, 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) deep, after the first hard frost. The seed needs the cold of winter for stratification. The moisture cracks the stone coat, allowing the seed to germinate.

Cover the soil area with a tarpaulin sheet until the seedlings emerge to keep the squirrels from digging up the pits.


Keep your pruning to a minimum. If you remove small lateral branches, cut flush to the main stem. Stubby branches heal poorly.

Plum trees do well in sunshine and average soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade
  • Tarpaulin sheet
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About the Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real-estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University, Fullerton.