How to Grow Nectarines from Seed 36

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. Those trees produced bushels of fruit; invariably some would drop, leaving nectarines to rot through the summer. By autumn, the ground beneath those 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?

Grow nectarines from seed. Or any stone fruit for that matter!

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 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.

how to grow a nectarine from a 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 tumble them around a bit and tucked them in the back of the fridge. This was in August.

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.

how to grow a nectarine from a seed

I pulled out three of the six seeds—the ones with the strongest rootlets—and planted them in individual pots, covered with about an inch and a half of good potting soil, watered them well, and left them outside. I left the remaining pits in the fridge for a bit more chilling out.

how to grow a nectarine from a seed

While it took the seeds to nearly four months to create that rootlet, green sprouts came much faster! In just two weeks that little seed I’d planted started sprouting green. 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!

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36 thoughts on “How 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!

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • Dipti Fernandes

    Thank you for this information. I am determined to grow and teach my people to grow nectarines from the seeds.

  • 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.

  • 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