Can You Grow a Cherry Tree with a Cherry Pit

Can You Grow a Cherry Tree from a Cherry Pit?

How to plant cherry seeds? Almost everyone has heard of this legend, but few individuals have taken the time and energy to test it. After all, many don’t make the connection between a large and beautiful cherry tree and the small hardy pits that are spat out during regular fruit consumption. The truth is that it is possible to grow an entire tree using a single cherry pit, although it will take some work. Before attempting to grow a cherry tree, remember these trees only grow in hardiness zones 5-9 and will thus not bloom in climates that are too hot or too cold.

How to Plant Cherry Seeds from a Pit

The first step to planting a brand new cherry tree is to find some fruit. Cherries bought from a grocery store are unlikely to produce healthy pits that will spawn a new tree. This is because the methods used for preservation, including basic freezing, damage the pits. Instead, grab some cherries from a local tree or head to a farmer’s market and pick up a batch. These will not only be healthier but come from a tree that has already been successful in growing in your current climate.

Pit Preparation

Once you have some cherries, you can start to separate the pits. This can be done by eating the cherries on your own terms and then storing the pits in separate containers, or you can slice the cherries open, refrigerate the fruit, and get ready to prepare the pits. Pits that have been exposed should be soaked in a bowl full of warm water for five minutes and then scrubbed to remove pulp and leftover fruit.

Cleaned pits can then be allowed to dry on a paper towel in a warm area for 3-5 days. Once dry, transfer them to a dry, airtight container and store in the fridge for ten weeks. Remember to label when the pits went in the fridge, or you’re liable to forget. 

Facts about How To Plant Cherry Seeds

After ten weeks, it’s time to remove the pits from the fridge and prepare them for planting. Allow the pits to warm up to room temperature, and then divide them into groups of two and three. Each group of seeds should be planted in a separate container using a planting medium with average nutrition and porosity. The containers should be exposed to regular (6 to 8 hours) of sunlight and the soil needs to be kept moist.

How to Plant Cherry Seeds from a Pit

After two weeks, saplings will have sprouted in the containers. Identify the healthiest ones and take these outside to plant. Planting is best done during the spring once the dangers of frost have passed. Remove the saplings and their soil from the containers and plant each one in a separate location. Cherry trees need to be at least 20 ft. apart from one another for the best results. To ensure maximum health and longevity, regularly mulch the area around the trees and make sure the saplings receive enough water to keep the soil damp. Over time, at least one of the saplings should be strong enough to become a tree. 

How to Plant Cherry Seeds: How To Take Care

If you want your new tree to remain healthy and strong, it’s important to do some research on what will make the cherry tree successful. First and foremost is making sure the saplings are planted in deep, well-drained soil that will allow for root growth. These fruit trees need to be kept separated for maximum root expansion, and the roots will not thrive unless they are able to break through the soil. It’s a good idea to till any region where you want to plant before you move the pit saplings. 

Another key thing to understand before planting is knowing the difference between sweet and sour cherries. Sweet cherries are the ones found in grocery stores and are more fit for human consumption than sour models, which are attractive to birds and wildlife. Sweet cherry trees are not self-pollinating. This means if you want the tree to grow fresh fruit each year, there needs to be another sweet cherry tree in the area to provide necessary pollination. 

How to Plant Cherry Seeds: How To Take Care

Some other important care tips for cherry trees are:

  • Sweet and sour cherries can be cared for in the same way
  • Avoid pruning the tree in the fall, as this leaves the branches exposed to the cold
  • Apply mulch on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer
  • Prune the trees in late winter
  • Keep saplings well-watered and in moist soil until they reach 3 ft. tall

How to Plant Cherry Seeds: Recommended Varieties For Planting

While most cherry trees should be planted in late spring, some varieties grow well during the summer and early fall as well. In general, gardeners who enjoy sweet cherries should stick to Black Tartarian in spring, Bing during the summer, and Stella during the fall. If gardeners want to grow sour cherries for the animals or for preserving for jam, then the best varieties are Early Richmond for the spring, Montmorency for the summer, and Meteor in the fall. 

If you are able to buy other varieties or favor one cherry over another, you can repeat the process of isolating and preparing the cherry pits for growing. Just remember to plant the saplings that come from the pits during the right season, or the sapling is liable to decay and die from poor nutrition. 

Conclusion

It is possible to grow a cherry tree from a cherry pit, but it will take some work. Although it is tempting to head down to the nearest grocery store and buy a bag of cherries, this won’t work. Instead, you need to research some local varieties, find a farmer’s market, and purchase from the nearby area to ensure the trees grow effectively. You will also need to plant more than one tree if you enjoy sweet cherries because these varieties do not self-pollinate. But once you have isolated the pit and are ready to plant, the sapling and ensuing tree will reward you with delicious fruit for years to come.