My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

How to grow a cherry tree from seed

We've been eating a lot of cherries these days ... right time of year ... fresh firm flesh ... good prices ... lots of bing red cherries and ranier yellow cherries. Hmmm! Our neighbor also has a tart cherry tree (with both red and yellow colors ... very small cherries).

Started saving the seeds from both what we're eating and some from the neighbor's tree. Wondering if we can grow a tree from these seeds. I realize it probably won't grow true, due to hybridization and grafting, but a tree with edible cherries is better than no tree!

Here's some information I found:

Yes, you can definitely grow a tree from a cherry pit. I would suggest that
you get a small pot of soil and plant the pit about 2 inches deep. Keep it well
watered but not soggy. It will take quite a while for the seed to germinate; you
may not see anything until next spring. Once it does sprout, you can keep it in
the pot until the roots start to fill it, then either repot in a bigger pot or
plant it in the ground.

There are 2 things to be aware of in growing a cherry tree from a pit.
One is that it will take years and years before it will be mature enough to
flower and set cherries. The other thing is that after waiting all those years,
it may or may not have cherries like the one the pit came from. The reason is
that most cherries need a cross-pollinator, which means that the blossoms need
to be visited by bees that were already in another variety of cherry blossoms.
For example, a deep red Bing cherry may have been cross-pollinated by a yellow
Ranier cherry, so the fruit that grows from the seed may have some
characteristics of each of its "parents."

So growing a cherry tree from a seed can be a really interesting experiment
if you have 5 or 10 years to wait!

Yes, we have time... not in any hurry. Now here's some more information (slightly edited):

1. Unrefrigerated pits work best. Seeds go through something called stratification each winter when they are naturally exposed to cold temperatures outdoors, before germinating in the spring. Exposing a cherry pit or seed to cold temperatures before eating it and then again before germinating the seed in the spring makes it a little less reliable.

Eat a few cherries. Rinse the pits from your favorite cherries. Put them in a sunny window to dry.

2. In the fall, gather up your cherry seeds and pits that you have collected in your window. Plant them outside in an area that you can keep an eye on regularly. Choose a place that you can weed regularly, and where they are safe from being mowed.

Plant several of them, as some pits may not sprout. They should be planted 2 inches deep and at least a foot apart. Mark the area where you planted the pits so that you know where to expect to see the cherry trees sprouting.

After you have planted the cherry pits and seeds, wait for nature to do it's work. The cherry seeds will go through a natural stratification process in the winter.

3. In the spring, the cherry pits and seeds will start to sprout into a tree. Wait until the trees are 8 to 12 inches tall and then transplant them to the area you would like the trees to grow permanently. After you have transplanted the cherry tree, mulch
well around it to prevent weeds and encourage moisture in the soil. Also, mark the tree location with a stake to prevent the tree from being walked on or mowed.
And yet another bit of info from a different source:

From New Mexico State University: The cherry, like all temperate fruit trees,
requires a "chilling" period or winter to prepare the seed for growth. The hard
shell of the pit does not need to be removed, but the seed should be placed in
moist vermiculite or peatmoss and stored in the refrigerator for six to eight
weeks before planting. Do not let the seed dry before beginning this treatment.
Once the seed has been treated by chilling, it may be planted—outside if the
weather is already cool, or in a pot in a window or greenhouse. If planted
outside, it will experience further chilling and begin growing in the spring. If
planted in a pot, it will begin growing in a few weeks. Plant several seeds
because it is possible that only a few will grow. In about seven to ten years
you may begin eating cherries from your tree.
After cleaning all flesh from the seeds (and the stem), placing in baggies with a paper towel. Each kind of seed in a different baggie (bing red, ranier yellow, tart red/yellow). Then I'm gonna use the "sunny window" in our east-and-south bedroom that we use as a greenhouse, keeping the three different kinds separated. Then, since our soil is so bad here, I'm gonna use some of our pots and plant the seeds there. Once they sprout and are tall enough, I'll have dear old Hubby plant where I tell him to, in a huge hole mostly filled with compost.... spaced about 20 feet apart.

Water well, deeply and often. Fruit tree fertilizer spikes every Spring until it starts to bear. Prune early Spring before new growth starts, to remove dead or unhealthy branches, or to un-bushy it, or to keep it small and manageable. The stake will also help keep it growing straight, especially in our very windy area. Will tie the treeling well to the stake.

We had a beautiful sweet yellow-and-red cherry tree at our last house. Unfortunately we didn't realize it was a cherry tree until the birds started attacking it. I managed to grab a few and boy howdy, they were delicious! Did teach us that birds LOVE cherries, and that we need to net the tree while it is still short enough to get to the top. Also will attach metal/tin pie plates and tinsel to it as it grows.

Anybody want to comment on growing cherry trees from seeds?


JSK said...

Hmmm... You're tempting me! But i think it's too hot down here in Georgia to get this to work. I think we'd have to grow several to ensure cross-polination.
Oh, how I miss fresh cherries. We had a dwarf Bing and Royal Ann in our front yard in Seattle. Nothing like walking out the front door and picking large bowl of cherries.

Kimber said...

Thanks for sharing this post for Festival of Trees. Looks like a fun project as well as a good experiment in patience!

Anonymous said...

Cherries will grow in Georgia and Alabama, but may not set fruit every year. The problem is that they require a period of cold weather to "reset". Apples are also finicky that way, however I've had some success with yellow delicious with a red delicious for pollen in Montgomery, Alabama.

Sri Ranjani said...

Thats good information... But I was thinking of making a bonsai out them and keep them indoors. Well if they have to be cross pollinated then I guess my chances of eating cherries from my own plant even after waiting for over five years is very slim.

Wendy Kay said...

Thanks for all the great info! I love in Idaho, where there are tons of cherry tree orchards. I am so excited to start an little orchard of this yummy fruit. Now I am going to be glad gor the cold winter...since it preps the pits, seedlings, then trees for growth and fruit! Happy growing!