Step-by-Step Instructions to Grow Nectarines from Seed 81

Planting nectarine seeds, planting peach pits, and planting other stone fruit can produce excellent fruit. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to grow nectarines, peach trees, and other stone fruit trees from seed.

tiny nectarine tree sprouting in clay pot


My folks still live on the “old home place” that originally belonged to my grandparents. The property is home to a few amazing nectarine trees. They stay small — 12 feet tall at best — and put out amazingly flavored nectarines. The fruit is about 2″ in diameter, with white flesh and rosy cheeks.

Somewhere along the line they became known as “Grandma nectarines” since nobody knew the actual variety of this stone fruit tree.

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Those nectarine trees produced bushels of fruit; invariably some would drop, leaving nectarines to rot through the summer.

By autumn, the ground beneath those nectarine trees was scattered with wrinkled nectarine pits. But the biggest surprise came when springtime rolled around and those pits unfurled green growth.

Mother Nature knows how to grow nectarines from seed. Surely I could replicate that? Turns out, planting nectarine seeds isn’t that difficult.

Planting nectarine seeds

Over the years I’ve experimented with transplanting those sprouts in various locations — some on the original property, some on land 300 miles east.

And every single sprout survived and thrived and produced the same great quality nectarines that I grew up with on the same small, sturdy tree.

Experimenter that I am, it stands to reason that if given the chance I’d like to experiment again, this time 2,500 west of the original tree.

I managed to acquire a half dozen pits from the original Grandma nectarine for experimental purposes and I was determined to grow a nectarine tree from seed.

The growing conditions being so different here, I didn’t trust that just throwing the pits on the ground would result in a tree, so I did a bit of research.

I found this article from Mother Earth News on how to sprout stone fruit and used it as my guide.

How to grow nectarines from seed:

First step: Get out the hammer. Laying the pits on their “sharp” edge, I carefully tapped them with a hammer to release the almond-like seed without damaging it.

Kind of like cracking a tough nut.

nectarine pit cracked open to show seed


I filled a jar with potting soil, adding just a bit of water to dampen it, and then added the seeds.

Lid on, I gently tumbled them around a bit and tucked them in the back of the fridge. This was in August at the height of nectarine season.

Stone fruit seeds require exposure to cool temperatures in order to sprout.

The article says two to three months is sufficient, but I didn’t notice rootlets until December — nearly four months in the fridge.

The rootlet you see below is about two inches long and seemed to be just screaming, “plant me!” And so I did.

nectarine seed sprouting

Planting nectarine seeds

I pulled out three of the six seeds—the ones with the strongest rootlets—and planted them in individual pots.

I covered with about an inch and a half of good soil, watered them well, and left them outside.

The remaining pits stayed in the fridge for a bit more chilling out.

nectarine sprouting to begin forming a nectarine tree. In clay pot with soil

While it took the seeds to nearly four months to create that rootlet, the green sprouts came much faster!

How to grow nectarines from seed

In just two weeks that little nectarine seed I’d planted started sprouting and I had my own little stone fruit tree.

Experience has shown me that these particular fruit trees grow at a steady clip, and so far that seems to true with these seedlings.

Every time I step outside to check them, the little tree is just a bit taller.

Can I tell you just how excited I am about this?? I’ve managed to sprout a little piece of my childhood, right here in a pot!

Will these trees bear fruit here, in our more tropical Hawaii climate, with fewer chill hours? Who’s to say?

But for now, I’m thrilled to have had success in starting these special stone fruit from seeds.

Time will tell if we’ll actually get to taste the fruits of that experiment!

pink nectarine tree blossoms against blue sky

Planting peach pits and other stone fruit

While I started by planting nectarine seeds to sprout my Grandma’s nectarine tree, this method works with other stone fruit varieties as well.

I’ve been successful in starting several plum trees this way, too.

Peaches, plums, and apricots are all worth trying.

Will they grow true to seed? It’s hard to say, but my understanding is that unlike some fruit — apples and pears, say — stone fruit trees are more likely to produce offspring with the same flavor and characteristics.

It certainly can’t hurt to try!

Step-by-step how to grow nectarines from seed

  1. Save the pits from nectarines or other stone fruit that you find highly flavorful. Finding an heirloom variety might increase your chances of success.
  2. Use a hammer to remove the almond-shaped seed from the pit. Set the pit on a solid surface, sharp edge down. Gently tap the pit until it cracks and you’re able to remove the seed. Discard the outer pieces of the pit. (I toss them in my compost.)
  3. Fill a jar about 3/4 full with damp (not wet) potting soil. Put several nectarine seeds in the jar and gently roll the jar to distribute the seeds in the soil.
  4. Place jar in refrigerator for two-to-three months.
  5. Check the jar regularly, watching for the rootlets that will sprout from the nectarine seeds.
  6. When rootlets appear, it’s time for planting nectarine seeds! Fill pots nearly to the top with a good potting soil. You’ll need enough pots for each nectarine or stone fruit seed to have its own container.
  7. Gently remove the sprouted nectarine seeds from the jar. Set one seed in each container. Cover with an inch or two of soil.
  8. Water pots and wait. Make sure that the soil in the containers remains moist but not overly wet.
  9. You should see sprouts appear within a few weeks.
  10. Continue caring for your potted nectarine tree in the container until it reaches one-to-two feet in height. At this time, you can move it into its permanent home in your yard or garden.

This post was originally published in January, 2015. Updated, June 2018.

Planting nectarine seeds and other stone fruit can produce excellent fruit. My Grandma's nectarine tree has been replicated in a number of locations, and each nectarine tree provides a large stone fruit harvest. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to grow nectarines from seed into abundant nectarine trees. #orchard #garden #homestead

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81 thoughts on “Step-by-Step Instructions to Grow Nectarines from Seed

  • Sarita Jonsen

    How should I water the refrigerated seeds?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Not at all – the entire time they are in the fridge, they don’t need any care!

  • Chris

    How long from planting till you would get fruit? I planted a black walnut here from a seed — 12 years on now. But I think it is probably 10 to 15 more years before we’ll see a walnut. (I’ll be 70 yo. Planting trees is a labour of love.)

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      These nectarine trees have always produced fruit in the third year. It’s just amazing to me that we can go from seed to fruit that quickly!

        • Kris Bordessa Post author

          Check with your local extension office.

    • Dee Dee Haugen

      My black walnut tree from a seedling has given fruit in 7 years. I got 7 nuts this year. Care for them tenderly and they will give you a bounty.

  • Candi

    We have over 100 peach trees on our property. The grove is very old and needs to be replanted with new trees. I wonder if we could grow new trees from the seeds?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t know that I’d depend on this method for an entire orchard, unless you knew for sure they’d grow true from seed. Experiment, though!

    • Matt

      You could plant them from seed and once they get if enough, take a graft from the old trees and graft them onto the new roots that you grew from she’d. That would guarantee that you get the same fruit but get a younger root system and tree.

    • frank

      you may want look at (air layering) a cheap way to rebuild an orchard simply select a living branch scrape off the first layer of bark about a 12-18 inchs from the tip put alittle rooting powder wher you removed the bark just below that tape a piece of plastic so as to form a bag around the limb put some damp potting soil about size of grapefruit seal the bag at the top after 2-3 mons you should see roots growing at that time cut the limboff just below the bag slowly re move the bag new little tree 12-18 inch tall put in pot 2-3 months then plant in garden

  • Christine lae

    I was wondering were these trees originally grew and if possible to get some seeds?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      They grew in Northern California. And, no, I don’t have any to share – sorry!

  • Maureen walker

    I’m certainly going to try this. I live in Tasmania, Australia and we certainly do grow nectarines here so I know the climate is ok. I have experimented with Apple seeds and currently have a couple of trees at their first year of bearing fruit this year. I’ve also struck a couple of avocado trees from the seed but they take about ten years to bear fruit. Thank you for the info, I look forward to more useful hints in the future.

  • Shelagh

    Too cute! I will need to try that. I have two avocado plants going, but I never dreamed that a nectarine was an option. Thank you for sharing. Great pics and tips. I better start mine now to get that fruit some day:)

  • Shannon Stanley

    Sorry to sound like a stupid question, but in which direction do you plant the rootlings? Root down, or root up?


    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Root down. Though I did some kind of sideways, too, and they sprouted just fine.

  • Peter

    Can these trees be grown in a container permanently? I’m thinking something like a dwarf or bonsai tree.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t know anything about growing bonsai, but you can get very small fruit trees (dwarf) to grow in a half-wine barrel sized planter. Probably you’d need to buy those specifically, though!

  • julie peabody

    hi, i would love to do this with my young daughters. would they grow well in maine? thanks

  • LaDonna

    Hi 🙂
    Any suggestions on what fruit trees I can grow from seed here in Chesapeake, VA ???

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I’d look to see what grows well there already. Many won’t grow true to seed, but could still be fun!

  • Kammy

    This is wonder! Thank you for sharing such wisdom! Would apple and cherry seeds be considered “stone” seeds?
    Also, the seeds yoy used, were they from inside the fruit? Like the seeds you spit out when eating an orange?
    Thank you.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Stone fruits as I know them are peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots. The hard pit itself, cracked open, reveals a tiny almond like seed.

  • Matthew Rodriguez

    How old should the seed pits be before cracking them and starting the process to plant them.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Good question. I can tell you what *I did, though I’m not sure if it’s what “should” be done. I’ve done this twice now, both with nectarines and plums, and the seeds were about a month old. I just set them aside to dry a bit, then broke them open. Good luck!

  • Victoria

    Aloha! It’s nectarine season again… and my husband and I were searching the web to see if we could sprout one get on Maui… ! Thank you for your blog! Curious how the little seedlings are doing now 6 months after sprouting?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Aloha! I spouted six in total. I gave a couple away. One (at about 2400′ elevation) is as tall as I am now. Mine (2000′) are still only about 3′ tall, and they were slow to throw green leaves this spring after going dormant (yay!) but they’re growing. I don’t expect to know whether or not they’ll actually fruit for another few years, though. Try it!

      • Eyerin Nasir

        Can you plant stone fruit pit direct into the potting soil after you crack them.? I am living in the tropics asia.

        • Kris Bordessa Post author

          Well, as I said, the trees on our property sprouted from being left on the ground. I think cracking the outer layer would hurry up the process. The biggest problem will be keeping track of that tiny tree as it grows!

  • Lesley Paquette

    This is Wonderful. I LOVE the challenge of growing ‘anything’ from seed. I live in Vermont, Zone 4. This wouldn’t live outside would it?

    Would it like to live in a southern exposure with my Lime Tree???

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      It looks like zone 4 might be pushing it for nectarines. You could try it in a pot though, and move it inside for winter.

  • Toni Wood

    I had peach and nectarine but the squirrels gto them before wedid. My husband got mad aND cut them down.they don’t bother citrus trees though limes ,lemons,I had red ruby grapefruit to.

  • Monte Davis

    Will store bought nectarine seed grow and survive in Arizona heat /

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      One, newer varieties might not be so good at coming “true to seed” as mine, but worth a try! i don’t know about the Arizona heat.

  • Carmen Fontaine-Adamson

    Wow! Your story hit home for me. I pickrd plums at my grandmothers house todays with my mother and son and I have a small dream for a few small pits! Knowing that they are different fruit, they are stone summer fruit and I want to grow one that I can save because their tree will be gone. So I’m goin for it! I’m gonna use your methos because something is teling me too! Thank you for the info and inspiration! Carmen Fontaine- Adamson

  • Mariinasaana

    Hi! I ate today (13.7.) few nectarines and i tought it would be fun to try grow them. I live in Finland and we have darkest of times from November to March. We have barely sunlight during that time. I was just wondering if I could preserve stone somehow and plant it at better time of the year. How could I do it?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      In the refrigerator as mentioned above?

  • catherine

    Hi I love nectarines. Can I grow them from seed? I live in nairobi kenya

  • Judy Dutruch

    Air layering works so much better and you can get a very good sized plant to put in a pot or the ground in about four to six weeks. Plus, it will bear fruit without having to wait. Go to YouTube and type in air layering. It is awesome!

  • Jane Norman

    Hi, a few years i fiund a peach/Nectarine tree had started growing in our compost bin, it had good healthy tap roots and had sprouted the first leaves.
    I planted the the two seedlings in small pots and watched them grow.
    Now several years later my mother and I have a 3ft tall tree each.
    As far as I can tell, they appear to be Nectarines but still not 100 % sure.
    I love the thought of having ‘home grown’ fruit but I live in the UK so I’m not sure if they’ll survive the winters here.
    We bring them inside before the first frosts and put them out when spring comes.

  • Stephanie

    I used to live in Northern California but now in Southern California. What do you consider “good soil” to be? A brand name would be helpful as I’d like to follow the same exact directions. Just like baking. Thanks!

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      If only gardening was like baking! Give Fox Farms brand a try.

  • Jenna

    I am so excited to try this! And even more excited to find out you grew nectarines from seed in Placerville! That’s where I grew up too and now I live in Cameron Park. I can’t wait to see if I can get the same results. I’ve already got my jar of dirt in the fridge! If I add seeds to it over time, will tumbling damage any of the roots? Or should I put new seeds in a new jar?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I had a number of seeds in one jar. I think I’d keep the batches separate, though. If early ones start sprouting, you’ll want to be able to pull them out easily without disturbing new ones.

  • Chip

    I wonder what success I will have on the south coast of England.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  • andrew palmer

    would it be easier to plant say an apple core then de seeding it

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Sure, it would. Apples are less likely to grow true from seed than stone fruit, though.

  • Ian

    We’re the lids on completely when you put them in the fride? I didn’t know if they would need air or not.

  • Robert

    The earth in the jar, is it full to the top or half full to allow the seeds/earth to get shaken around ?

  • Gertrude Carter

    This is great and so easy. My grandson wants to plant his seeds.

  • Marie Hinson

    I’m in the panhandle of FL. I’m about to try this. Question: do you need to let the seed dry out before planting?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      No. There will be a bit of moisture in the jar — that’s what you want. Just transfer the sprouted seed right to a pot and water it in.

  • Hellestine Beamon

    I would like to try your procedure for growing nectarines. Do i put the lid on tight in the fridge? Can i continue to ask you questions? I live in Alabama and i hope they will grow.

  • Lisa Gendron

    I just bought some Michigan nectarines and am going to try to start a tree or three. Fit works out they will go to my son’s house to finish growing. Thank you for your info.

  • Eva

    . I live in Australia and have saved pits from my favourite nectarine tree.That was so helpful. Im going to give it a go too.


  • Jo'von Phillips

    What happens if you don’t remove the seed from the pit?

    It’s September, and I planted it on Sunday, the 24th. It is on the balcony ledge, enclosed in a CD Stack cover with plastic bag as the base to protect the wood railing from the moisture.

    I watched a video about other seeds being planted, so that is why I have the seed (actually the pit, because I didn’t know a seed was inside) in dirt, in a cut-in-half water bottle (the top half), that has three pairs of slits around. That half is sitting in the bottom half filled with half of an inch high of water (hoping its roots would reach down for the water through the slits or the open bottle top ..since the cap is removed).

    The balcony is on the side of the house with the most shadow (north side). I nervous it was not getting enough sun but I could not find a place where I could easily manage the plant and keep it away from neighborhood critters (squirrel, raccoons, rabbit, …Michigan stuff). Which is why the enclosure also tied down to rail. In regard to temperature, I suppose the cold nights may be sufficient for chilling as you mentioned?

    I thought I was doing something right when I was being creative to make such a mini-greenhouse.

    What do you think?

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Well, out in the “wild” they’ll sprout from a hard pit. Removing the outer layer makes it easier for the seed to sprout. Would be interested to know how this turns out!

  • Dan

    Thanks for your information. I love necturines and hopefully this will work.

  • selebatso rammusi

    um so interested on fruit trees, and i want to start germinating them from seed but i don t have any idea, i need help.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Scroll down and read the instructions — they should be useful.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      I don’t know. Is there a nursery or garden expert you could ask locally?

  • Linda Rieche

    I’m going to have a nectarine tree too. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’ll be in touch.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Yay – more nectarines for everyone!

  • Cindy Miller

    Thanks for the tips! I’m going to try it too. This morning as I was quartering a nectarine for breakfast I cut it just right and the stone fell into 2 pieces. I see this as a hint from God to try it. With your guiding hints here I go! I have some seed starter dirt. I’m gonna try that and some regular Miracle Grow potting soil. I’m going to try both. Like you, I like to experiment…. My house sits at 3500 feet so I have plenty of coolness to experiment in!

  • frank

    just wondering how mother nature cracks the shells can i plant the shell intact with any hope of success

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      Mother Nature does it naturally, as I mentioned up above. But if you only have a few seeds, this is a way to up your odds. Go for it!