How And Where To Plant Cherry Seeds In Your Garden

If you're one of those people who anxiously await the arrival of cherries in the grocery store every year, you've probably wondered whether you could grow a cherry tree from a pit. The simple answer is yes, but whether it will produce cherries that taste good is anyone's guess. If you're going to grow sweet cherries, you're going to need a lot of room and a lot of time. That's because it will take at least two trees to accomplish the cross-pollination needed for growing cherries. Still, we will reveal how to grow cherry trees from pit seeds and where to plant them on your property.

Sweet cherries grown from a cherry pit (seed) will not grow "true to type" but will likely still be tasty – just different. They're hardy in zones 5 through 7 and will need a second compatible cultivar for cross-pollination. Sour cherries, on the other hand, are hardy in zones 4 through 6 and will grow true to type from a pit. Furthermore, they do not need a second cultivar since they are self-pollinating. Sour cherries are baked into pies, preserves, and other uses you might find just as valuable as plucking and eating! Regardless, be patient because it will be seven to ten years before you can begin harvesting.

How to plant cherry seeds from pits

First, start with cherries from farmers markets or neighbors with trees for best results. Grocery store cherries are not always viable. Once you have a few pits you've eaten the meat from, rinse with warm water and lightly scrub off the remnants so they're clean. Choose a spot to dry them where they aren't in direct sunlight, but are in a sunlit area. Let them air-dry for about five days on a paper towel, before securing them in a ziplock plastic baggie or a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Next they will need to go through cold stratification. Add some moist sand to the container with the cherry pit seeds and place in the refrigerator for 10 weeks. Don't put fruits in the refrigerator (such as bananas and apples) with the cherry seeds. From here, you can start seeds indoors for the best results. You can also sow them outdoors in the fall if they're hardy to your zone. If you sow outdoors, keep them protected from squirrels and other animals that might dig them up, but otherwise leave them on the ground and exposed to the elements. You can transplant the cherry tree when it sprouts its second pair of leaves in the spring.

Where to plant cherry seeds

Choose a location with plenty of room for a growing tree — two trees if you go with sweet cherries. These trees need full sun to thrive and should be planted at least 20 feet apart. Performing a soakaway test in the location where you plan to put your cherry trees is important. Simply dig a hole about 6 inches wide and 10 inches deep. Fill it with water and see how long it takes to soak into the ground. If it takes more than four hours, you'll need to find another location. Otherwise, you can try adding sand or perlite to the soil to improve drainage.

The next important thing cannot be overstated: measure the pH of your soil. If you want your cherry trees to grow healthy and strong, this is a vital step to ensure your ripened cherries will be perfect at harvest time. The pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0 for cherry trees. Make sure you plant in an area of your property where the trees will have the right conditions. Good air circulation is another consideration, so be sure they will be able to breathe. Don't plant them near buildings or structures that might impede their growth or block the sun. Do all these things, and you should have all the delicious cherries you want in just a few short years!