How to Grow a Peach Tree From Seed
If you love peaches and are wondering how to grow a peach tree from seed, you are definitely making an amazing choice to dive into a highly rewarding venture. Growing peach trees from seed will take you on a journey from peach tree pit germination all the way to sprouting, through years of growth, and finally to your first productive year. Peaches are absolutely delicious and can be used in hundreds of down-home recipes. Even if you find yourself overrun with fruit, you can always find friends or family members to take them off your hands!
Before you embark on this journey, you should identify your favorite varieties of peach and search for pits from those kinds of varieties. Also, hybrid peaches that you purchase may contain pits that will not grow— so try to steer clear of hybrid pits! Choosing a common, commercial peach variety will probably provide the best outcome, as the most common varieties tend to have a higher production and disease resistance, hence their popularity.
Can You Grow a Peach Tree From a Pit?
You most definitely can grow a full tree from a peach pit! The pit is actually the seed of the peach tree. The fruit of a peach is a protective shield that covers the seed as it grows and matures. The fruit is also used to lure in hungry animals. This is how the pits, or seeds, are transported so that peach trees can populate different areas and spread.
If you are interested in growing trees from pits, you can buy the peaches and remove the seed from the fruit. The pits should be set out to dry for a week or two. You can also order peach pits, get them from friends or family, or even visit a local orchard to get pits from their crops.
How to Plant a Peach Pit
Peaches grow the best in USDA zones 5 through 8. Outside of these zones, the trees may not flourish or may die entirely. The pit should be washed well prior to planting and dried for a few days to two weeks. Leaving the pit unplanted for a few months will not harm it.
The pit will need to be planted during the fall or winter, several weeks before the last frost. The pit needs to withstand cold weather before germination. Before planting a peach pit, you can rough up the outside of the pit with sandpaper to further encourage germination. Just be sure not to harm the delicate seed inside of the hull!
Note: In order to find which USDA zone you live in and whether or not it is ideal for planting a peach pit, check out their website for a detailed map of all the zones.
How to Care for Peach Trees
Once you grow a peach tree from seed, you need to take spectacular care of the young peach trees. Once you have become accustomed to their needs, however, caring for peach trees becomes very easy.
The trees will need to be moist to ensure proper growth. The sandy soil that they require drains very well, so frequent watering is necessary—especially when the trees begin to bear fruit. Fertilizer spikes that are specially produced for peach or fruit trees, or a high quality 10-10-10 fertilizer, will keep the tree well fed. A peach tree requires full sun as well, so it is important to eliminate shade to maximize the growth of the tree during growing season.
Peach trees are incredibly susceptible to insects as well, which means that the gardener will need to keep the bugs away. Insecticides and heavy mulching around the base of the tree will help to keep bugs from invading the tree and damaging the leaves, fruit, or trunk.
Pruning, Fertilizing, and Pest Control
Once you grow a peach tree from seed, you will have to do maintenance throughout the life of the tree to maximize production and health. The tree should be pruned every year to manage height and to keep fruit production high. The tree will also need to be fertilized regularly to keep it healthy. Insecticides and mulch will need to be reapplied as necessary to keep insects at bay, or they will demolish your fruits when harvest season comes.
How to Handle the First Harvest
Before your peach trees will produce fruit, they will flower. The flower contains stamens (male part of the flower that contains pollen) and pistils (connected to the ovary of a flower). The pistils pollinate the stamens in order to produce a seed. Once pollinated, the seed—and the fruit that protects it—begins to grow.
Once the fruit is ripe, it is ready to be picked. As you pick the peaches, you should ensure that each one is ripe. Fruit that is not ripe should be left on the tree to mature. As with other fruits and vegetables, some fruits may be damaged, rotten, or infested with insects. It is highly unlikely that all of the peaches will be edible. Check for rotting, burrows within the fruit from insects, and deformities that will render the fruit inedible for humans. This fruit can be tossed out, left for wildlife, or fed to animals. You can even remove the pits from these peaches to be used for planting later on.
When are you most likely to eat a peach?
What Do You Do With Extra Peaches?
As you grow these trees, you might find yourself with a small orchard, quickly becoming overrun with peaches! If you find yourself with many more peaches than you are able to eat fresh, there are many different ways to use them without letting them go to waste. You might can your peaches so that you can enjoy them throughout the year, without having to wait for the next harvest. Peaches also make delicious desserts and smoothies, so you can find hundreds of different ways to incorporate them into healthy daily meals for your family.
If you are still completely overrun with peaches after eating them fresh, canning them, or incorporating them into meals, you can set up a roadside stand to sell them or sell them at a local farmers' market. Growing peach trees from seed can bring you a tidy little profit at market! If all else fails, they can be given to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who might be interested in them. Peaches are a very popular fruit, so you are sure to find a use for them before they spoil. Enjoy your delicious harvest, and good luck in your journey!