Growing your own peaches can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Understanding the specifics of how they germinate and grow is important, though. It can be the difference between having peaches that delight and dealing with disappointing fruits.
Do peaches grow true to seed? If the pollen that fertilized a peach flower came from the parent tree, a peach will grow true to seed. If not, there may be slight differences, but the slight differences are generally acceptable for small gardens. If a specific type of peach is desired, then a grafted tree is always the best option.
Growing Peaches From Seed – What To Know
It’s important to know what to expect when you try growing peaches on your own.
Will Peaches Grow True to Seed?
Seed-grown trees can produce the same fruit as the tree the seed came from, but it’s unlikely that it will be exactly the same.
Think of it this way. When people have children, the child is not the same as either of the parents, but it has a genetic profile resembling part of each parent. There are also recessive genes that may show up in the child that neither parent has.
This is the same with fruit trees. The child tree grown from a seed will likely not resemble the parent tree exactly.
Grafted Peach Trees vs. Seed-Grown Trees
Peaches that are grown for commercial use are grown from trees that are grafted. Grafting a tree involves taking a branch from a healthy tree that’s producing the desired fruit and joining that branch with the roots of another tree.
The new tree will then grow and produce identical fruit to the parent tree since it’s biologically the same as the parent tree.
A seed-grown tree will occasionally match the parent fruit, but only if the flower was pollinated from the same tree. When other genetic material enters the fruit, the fruit will no longer be genetically the same and could be vastly different.
Can You Grow a Peach Tree From Store-Bought Peaches?
Store-bought peaches can be difficult to grow into a tree at times. This is because oftentimes the fruit that you find in a store has either a partially formed or deformed pit.
This is likely due to the commercial grower selecting the fruit that grows the smallest pit and using that variety to supply their orchard.
The smaller the pit, the more fruit is available. That leads to happier customers. If you do find a peach with a fully formed pit, it’s possible to grow it from seed.
Can You Plant Peach Seeds in Summer?
Peach seeds need cold in order to germinate. Therefore, they can’t be planted in summer.
Do Peach Pits Need Cleaning & Drying Before Planting?
Peach pits do not need to be cleaned or dried before planting. In fact, it’s essential to keep them moist through the germination process.
Cleaning off as much pulp as possible is good practice. It allows the cool, moist air during the germination process to reach the seed and improves the chances of germination while reducing the chances of mold growth.
Ways To Germinate a Peach Seed
There are several ways to germinate a peach seed; however, all involve the same environmental conditions.
A peach pit needs to be in a cool (32 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit) moist environment for roughly 100 days in order to germinate. The most reliable method to achieve this is via cold stratifying in the refrigerator.
To cold stratify your peach pit, place the cleaned pit in a damp paper towel, and place it in the refrigerator for roughly 100 days. Make sure to change the paper towel regularly to avoid drying out.
After 100 days, the peach should sprout, and then you can move it to soil to grow your peach tree.
The other option is to place the pit in compost or organic potting soil through the winter. This option is less reliable since outdoor temperatures and moisture levels can fluctuate depending on your environment.
How Long Does It Take for Peach Seeds To Sprout?
Peach seeds will sprout approximately 100 days after being stratified. This is a rough number, so be sure to check during the month prior to the 100th day, and if after 130 days your peach hasn’t sprouted, it’s safe to say that it won’t.
It’s always a good idea to attempt cold stratification with multiple pits, just in case some are not viable.
How To Crack Open a Peach Pit
There are several ways to crack open a peach pit to reveal the seed inside. Some are more dangerous to the seed than others. Regardless of the method, be sure to use care so you don’t damage yourself or the seed.
Here’s a list of least-damaging to most-damaging methods:
- Cold stratification will allow the pit to open naturally after a few weeks
- Crab cracker if the pit has begun to open on its own
- Vice grips or pliers
- Small hammer
- Sledgehammer or mallet
Growing a Peach Tree From Seed: 3 Tips for Success
It’s important to know what to expect and to prepare yourself for success when trying to grow a peach from seed:
- Find peaches from local growers. This is more reliable than sourcing your peaches at the grocery store.
- Make sure the germination environment is suitable. Seeds require approximately 100 days of cold temperatures to sprout. If your environment can’t supply this, then it’s best to germinate them in the refrigerator.
- Peaches grow in Zones 9 or below, meaning that they will tolerate all but the hottest or most arid environments. Peach trees enjoy full sun and well-drained soil.
Can Peach Seeds Germinate in Water?
Peach seeds can’t germinate the same way avocado pits do. Simply suspending them over water isn’t enough to trigger peach germination. The best way to germinate a peach seed is to leave it in the refrigerator covered in a slightly moist paper towel for 100 days.
Do All Fruit Trees Grow True to Seed?
Most fruit trees do not grow true to seed, meaning that when you plant the seed of one tree, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive the same type of fruit that the original tree produced.
A good example of this is planting the seed of a Red Delicious apple. It might grow into a tree that produces green or golden apples.
The only for new fruit trees to produce the same fruit as the parent tree is to have a branch of the parent tree grafted onto the rootstock of another tree.
When growing your own peaches from seed, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing or you could end up with a tree that doesn’t thrive, produces no fruit, doesn’t resemble the parent tree, or no tree at all.
Following the steps laid out here will ensure you have a peach tree that grows happily and healthily for years to come.