Can You Grow Cherry Trees from Pits?

Can You Grow Cherry Trees from Pits

Have you ever pondered whether you could cultivate your own cherry tree from the pit of a cherry you recently enjoyed? It’s a common curiosity among fruit enthusiasts, and I’m pleased to inform you that growing cherry trees from pits is indeed possible!

However, it’s a process that requires patience, knowledge, and the right conditions. In this
comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the fascinating journey of growing cherry trees from pits,
addressing every aspect you need to know

Understanding Cherry Pits

Before we dive into the specifics of growing cherry trees from pits, let’s understand what
cherry pits are and how they differ from seeds. Cherry pits, also known as stones or kernels,
are the hard, protective coverings that encase the seed within a cherry fruit. Unlike traditional
seeds, cherry pits have a tough outer shell that serves as a barrier, protecting the delicate
seed inside.
Cherry trees can be broadly classified into two main types: sweet cherries and sour
(or tart) cherries. While both types produce pits, their characteristics and growing
requirements may vary slightly. It’s essential to be aware of the specific cherry variety you’re
working with, as this can influence the germination process and the eventual tree’s traits.

Is It Possible to Grow Cherry Trees from Pits?

The short answer is yes, it is possible to grow cherry trees from pits, but there are some
important caveats to consider. Unlike many other fruit trees that can be easily propagated
from seeds, growing cherry trees from pits can be more challenging due to the hard outer
shell and specific dormancy requirements.
To successfully germinate a cherry pit, you’ll need to provide the right conditions, including
proper stratification (a process that mimics winter conditions), moisture, and temperature.
Additionally, not all cherry pits will germinate, as factors like age, storage conditions, and
viability can play a significant role.

Seed Viability and Dormancy

One of the key factors in successfully growing cherry trees from pits is seed viability. Cherry
pits have a natural dormancy period, which means they require exposure to cold
temperatures for a certain duration before they can germinate. This process, known as
stratification, helps break the seed’s dormancy and triggers germination.
When selecting cherry pits for planting, it’s essential to choose fresh, viable pits from ripe
cherries. Older pits or those that have been stored improperly may have lost their viability
and may not germinate successfully.

Germination Process

If you’ve selected viable cherry pits and prepared them for stratification, the next step is to
initiate the germination process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you along the way:

  1. Prepare the growing medium: Use a well-draining potting mix or a combination of
    peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.
  2. Plant the pits: Place the stratified cherry pits about 1-2 inches deep in the growing
    medium, spaced a few inches apart.
  3. Provide optimal conditions: Keep the growing medium moist but not saturated, and
    ensure the pits are exposed to warm temperatures (around 70°F or 21°C).
  4. Be patient: Germination can take several weeks or even months, depending on the
    variety and conditions.
  5. Monitor for sprouting: Once the seedlings emerge, provide bright, indirect light and
    continue monitoring moisture levels.

Caring for Young Cherry Seedlings

Once your cherry pits have successfully germinated, the next step is to nurture the young
seedlings and ensure their proper growth and development. This stage requires careful
attention and the right care practices.

Transplanting and Potting Up

As the seedlings grow, you’ll need to transplant them into larger containers or outdoor beds
to accommodate their expanding root systems. This process, known as potting up, should be
done gradually, ensuring minimal disturbance to the delicate roots.
When transplanting, use a well-draining potting mix or amend your garden soil with compost
or other organic matter to improve drainage and nutrient availability. Provide adequate
sunlight exposure, as cherry trees require at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Essential Care Requirements

Proper care is crucial for the healthy growth of your young cherry seedlings. Here are some
essential care requirements to keep in mind:

  • Water: Maintain consistent moisture levels, but avoid waterlogged conditions, which
    can lead to root rot.
  • Fertiliser: Use a balanced, slow-release fertiliser or compost to provide essential
    nutrients for growth.
  • Pest and disease management: Monitor for common pests and diseases that can
    affect cherry trees, and take appropriate preventative or control measures as
  • Environmental factors: Protect your seedlings from extreme temperatures, strong
    winds, and other environmental stressors that could stunt their growth.

Pruning and Training

As your cherry seedlings grow, it’s essential to implement proper pruning and training
techniques to encourage a strong central leader and optimal branch structure. Pruning helps
direct the tree’s growth and promotes air circulation, reducing the risk of disease.
When pruning, remove any competing leaders, crossed branches, or suckers (vigorous
upright shoots) from the base of the tree. You may also need to stake or tie the central
leader to a support structure to encourage upright growth.

From Pit to Fruit: The Journey to a Mature Cherry Tree

Growing cherry trees from pits is a long-term endeavour, and it can take several years
before your tree bears its first fruit. The timeline can vary depending on various factors,
including the cherry variety, climate, and growing conditions.

Estimated Timeline

On average, cherry trees grown from pits can take anywhere from 4 to 7 years to
produce their first cherries. However, this timeline is just an estimate, and some trees may
fruit earlier or later depending on their growing conditions.

Factors Influencing Growth Rate and Fruiting

Several factors can influence the growth rate and fruiting of your cherry tree, including:

  • Climate: Cherry trees thrive in temperate climates with distinct winter chilling periods
    and warm summers.
  • Soil: Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil is essential for optimal growth and fruit
  • Sunlight exposure: Cherry trees require full sun exposure (at least 6-8 hours per
    day) for proper fruit development.
  • Pruning and training: Proper pruning and training techniques can encourage
    vigorous growth and fruiting.
  • Pests and diseases: Effective pest and disease management is crucial to prevent
    issues that could stunt growth or reduce fruit yield.

Potential Challenges Along the Way

While growing cherry trees from pits can be a rewarding experience, it’s important to be
aware of potential challenges that may arise along the way. These can include:

  • Transplanting stress: Moving a young tree from a container to the ground can
    cause transplant shock, which may temporarily stunt growth.
  • Pests and diseases: Common pests like aphids, borers, and diseases like cherry
    leaf spot can affect your tree’s health and productivity.
  • Environmental factors: Extreme weather conditions, such as drought, frost, or
    heavy winds, can damage or stress the tree

By being proactive and addressing these challenges promptly, you can increase the chances
of successfully growing a healthy, productive cherry tree from a pit.

Pollination and Fruit Production

As your cherry tree matures and begins to produce flowers, it’s essential to understand the
pollination requirements for optimal fruit set and yield. Some cherry varieties are self-fertile,
meaning they can pollinate themselves and produce fruit without the need for a separate
polliniser tree. However, many cherry varieties require cross-pollination from a compatible
cultivar to ensure adequate fruit production.
To encourage successful pollination, you may need to introduce pollinators such as bees or
other beneficial insects to your garden. Additionally, proper pruning and training techniques
can help promote air circulation and increase the chances of successful pollination.
Once your cherry tree begins producing fruit, you’ll have the rewarding experience of
harvesting and enjoying your homegrown cherries. Remember to handle the delicate fruits
with care during harvesting and storage to ensure maximum freshness and flavour.

Alternatives to Growing from Pits

While growing cherry trees from pits can be an exciting and rewarding project, it’s not the
only option available. For those seeking a more straightforward approach or looking to enjoy
cherries sooner, purchasing nursery-grown cherry trees can be a viable alternative.
Nursery-grown cherry trees are typically grafted or budded onto rootstocks, ensuring
consistent fruit quality and a shorter time to fruiting. These trees are also more likely to be
true to the variety, as opposed to the potential genetic variations that can occur when
growing from pits.
However, growing from pits offers a unique experience and the satisfaction of nurturing a
tree from its earliest stages. It’s a personal choice that depends on your goals, patience, and
willingness to embrace the challenges that come with this method.


Growing cherry trees from pits is a rewarding endeavour that requires patience and
dedication. While it may take several years before you can enjoy the fruits of your labour, the
satisfaction of nurturing a tree from a humble pit to a fruit-bearing marvel is unparalleled.
By following the proper techniques and providing the right care, you can successfully grow
your own cherry tree from a pit, enjoying delicious homegrown cherries and the sense of
accomplishment that comes with it.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, embrace the journey of growing cherry
trees from pits and witness the magic of nature unfold right in your backyard.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *