How do I grow macadamia nuts from seed?

Updated February 21, 2017

Macadamia nuts grow on large, bushy shrubs that can develop into small trees if they are not pruned. The macadamia tree is native to the Queensland region of Australia and grows mainly in the humid rainforests. In the United States, the trees grow best in Hawaii and California, but can grow in any moderate location with high humidity. Macadamia nuts will grow from seed; however, it can take between eight and 12 years for the plant to produce nuts, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers.

Find an outdoor planting location that receives full sun and that is near a building or wall to protect the macadamia tree from wind. In addition, look for well-drained soil that is dark and rich.

Loosen the soil to a 1-inch depth using a garden cultivator tool or a wide-toothed rake. Poke 1/4 inch deep holes into the ground and place one macadamia seed into each hole. Cover the seeds completely with soil.

Water the soil until it is completely moist but not soggy. After the initial planting, water the macadamia seeds once a week with 1 inch of water each time, if no rainfall has occurred.

Wait six months after planting and apply a granular fertiliser that is formulated for citrus trees. Spread the fertiliser around the base of the small macadamia tree in the rates indicated on the fertiliser packaging. Apply a second application of fertiliser six months after the first application.

Wrap small trees in clear plastic sheeting in the late fall before temperatures drop below freezing. Secure the plastic to the tree using twine or string. Leave the plastic on until the temperatures rise above freeing in the spring and then cut it off with scissors.


Starting in year four, watch for the development of macadamia nuts in the fall months. It may take longer for the trees to develop nuts.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden cultivator tool or wide-toothed rake
  • Water
  • Citrus fertiliser
  • Clear plastic sheeting
  • Twine or string
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.