How to grow a peach tree using a pit

Written by barbara fahs
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How to grow a peach tree using a pit
Heirloom peach pits are best to use for starting a new tree. (Getty Thinkstock)

It is possible to grow a peach tree from the pit or seed of a peach you enjoyed eating. But beware, as many peach trees have been grafted onto other types of peaches or have been developed through hybridisation. The fruit of these trees will not produce the same fruit you ate, and sometimes the result is an inedible fruit. To be on the safe side, look for an heirloom or old-fashioned variety of peach, such as the doughnut "flat" peach, Elberta, Iowa white or Indian peach. Some peach pits germinate poorly. Avoid early varieties, such as the Red Haven.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Knife
  • Soft brush
  • Heirloom peach pits
  • Window screen
  • Bricks or boards
  • Peat moss, Vermiculite and sand
  • Plastic zipper bags
  • Refrigerator
  • Pots
  • Fertiliser
  • Compost
  • Shovel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut open the peach or peaches you want to grow. Allow the fruit to become overly ripe to ensure that the seed is well developed. Wash the pulp off of the seed under running water using a soft brush, such as a toothbrush.

  2. 2

    Dry the peach pits on a screen that has been propped on bricks or boards in a warm, dark, dry, well-ventilated place. Leave them for at least one week.

  3. 3

    Measure and combine about 65 grams (½ cup) each of damp peat moss, vermiculite and sand. Transfer the mixture into a plastic bag and add the peach pits. Seal the bag tightly. Place it in a refrigerator until the seeds sprout. The bag with pits also can be stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Watch for signs of germination once every week. A small white root resembling a tail will emerge from one end of the pit. Germination can take several months. When the root is at least 1 to 1.5cm (½ inch long), it’s time to plant the peach seedling.

  4. 4

    Plant the sprouted pits outdoors in the fall or in a pot that can be protected indoors in a sunny spot. Combine half peat moss and half vermiculite with 130 grams (1 cup) of sand for every 520 grams (4 cups) of potting mix, if you are planting in a pot. Plant the seed about 8cm (3 inches) deep, indoors or outdoors. If you plant outdoors, dig one shovelful of organic compost into the planting hole. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

  5. 5

    Fertilise the young peach tree when it is 3 months old, using a household plant food according to label instructions. After the first feeding, fertilise the tree once every month.

Tips and warnings

  • Start more than one peach pit, as not all of them will sprout. If you end up with too many plants for your own needs, pot them and give them to friends and family.
  • Don't store peach pits in a refrigerator if you keep apples in it. Apples release a gas called ethylene that will prevent the pit from sprouting.

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