Hazelnuts are easy to grow from seed. When picking fresh hazelnuts, avoid the first few to fall off the tree. These rarely germinate. Instead, wait one week, then pick a few large, healthy-looking nuts from the bush. The ripe ones will be easy to remove from their husk. Once picked, hazelnuts germinate easily when planted in a pot and grown indoors. A year later, they are ready to transplant outdoors. Your hazelnut seedling will begin to produce nuts in three to five years.
Pull the husk off of each hazelnut.
Place the hazelnuts in a bucket of water. Discard any that float (they will not germinate well) and keep those that sink.
Mix the hazelnut seed with an equal amount of horticultural sand by volume in an appropriately-sized flower pot. Cover the top of the mixture with an inch or two of sand. Cover the top of the flower pot with a piece of wire mesh held in place with duct tape (to keep the mice at bay). Place the flower pot in a shady place outdoors and leave them to weather the winter.
Check for germination at the end of February. If no seeds have germinated, check again in a few days. When most of the seeds begin to germinate, move on to Step 5.
Plant each seed 1 inch deep and sprout-end up in the centre of a 6-inch pot filled with moistened seed-starting potting soil.
Place the pots in a warm spot indoors where they will receive full sunlight.
Water the pot whenever the top inch or so dries out. Never allow more than the top third to dry out.
Plant the hazelnut seedling in its permanent spot outdoors once it reaches 6 inches in height.