The hazelnut is a deciduous tree native to the northern sections of Africa, Western Asia and also Europe. The hazelnut tree has prehistoric roots, playing an important role in the human diet throughout the ages. Mature hazelnut trees grow to heights of 15 feet at maturity when grown in its favoured USDA planting zones 4 through 9. Hazelnut trees grow from hazelnuts, or filberts, that require a lengthy chilling and stratification period in order to germinate.
Collect three to four hazelnuts from the tree when they just begin to turn brown at the end of the summer. Place the hazelnuts in a plastic container with tight-fitting lid and store the container in the refrigerator.
Remove the hazelnuts from the refrigerator in early November. Soak the hazelnuts in a bowl of warm water for four days to help soften the outer shell.
Fill a plastic bag half full with vermiculite. Remove the hazelnuts from the bowl of water and drop them in the plastic bag of vermiculite. Seal the plastic bag; give it a shake to combine the vermiculite and hazelnuts. Set the plastic bag in the refrigerator for three months.
Fill a 6-inch pot with damp organic potting soil. Remove the hazelnuts from the refrigerator and press each one 1/4 inch down into the soil. Plant the hazelnuts 1 inch apart. Pat the soil to remove air pockets.
Cover the pot with a piece of cling film and secure it with a rubber band. Set the pot on a plant heating pad set to 23.9 degrees Celsius in an area that receives bright indirect sunlight.
Check the soil for moisture every few days by lifting up the plastic and pressing your finger into the soil. If the soil feels dry, mist it with warm water from a spray bottle. Replace the plastic. You should see signs of germination within five days.
Remove the plastic completely when you notice hazelnut seedlings sprouting through the soil. Continue to provide moist soil, warmth and indirect sunlight as the hazelnut seedlings grow.
Pluck out the weakest hazelnut seedlings when they develop their second set of leaves. Leave the healthiest hazelnut seedling in the pot to grow. Continue to provide the single hazelnut seedling with moist soil, indirect sunlight and warmth from the heating pad. Transplant the hazelnut seedling outdoors in the early spring when it reaches a height of 10 to 12 inches.
Choose a location that contains full sun and well-drained soil for outdoor planting of your hazelnut tree.
Do not overwater your hazelnut seeds. Overwatering can cause the hazelnuts to rot before they have a chance to germinate. Keeping the soil moist with water from a spray bottle is all that is necessary.