How to Grow a Cherry Tree from Fruit Seeds

How to Grow a Cherry Tree from Fruit Seeds

Introduced to the US in the 1990s this is one of the most popular sour cherry trees readily grown, originating from Europe it is a compact cherry tree in the same family (Rosaceae) as apple, pear and roses.

Cherry trees are available as several varieties, shapes, and sizes, therefore it is important to do your research before purchasing, especially as you need to exercise patience as it will take several years before you will begin to see fresh red cherries.

Polish or European Sour Morello Cherry trees or ‘Wisniak’ Tree as the Polish refer to this abundant fruiting sour cherry red stone fruit, is also popular with wildlife, pollinator insects and birds. 

Prunus cerasus austera L ‘lutowka’ is a slow-growing often multi-stemmed tall tree attaining just 7-12 feet high and 7 feet wide. Small Fruiting trees are highly sorted after, particularly where space is limited and whilst a number of fruiting cherry tree varieties exist some are large stately trees and not for the urban yard. 

P. ‘lutowka’ is the hardiest and best-performing example of a fruiting cherry I have had the pleasure to work alongside. Reliably hardy in zones 3-8 I have a super maturing example of this small urban fruit tree in zone 7 that I have been propagating from for several years and with young grafted plants and seed raised saplings. I can safely say this tree is freely self-pollinating and quickly produces large crimson red fruit each and every year.

The parent tree growing in my own back yard was brought over to the N.E coast of the USA in the early 1990s by my husbands Polish Babcia (Grandmother). Originally smuggled into the country from far eastern Poland, yet almost 30 years later the tree still supplies the local Polish neighborhood with fresh sour morello cherries.

I enjoy adding a handful of cherries to a morning smoothie it really packs an antioxidant rich a punch, they freeze well and make a great pie filling or warm compot.

Today, I am offering you a chance to grow a few trees yourself!

How to Grow Cherry Seeds from Seed

1: Cherry trees are easy to grow from seed, first chill the hard seed in the fridge for a few weeks in a small ziplock bag. 

2: Adding some abrasive chips of horticultural grit to the ziplock bag will speed up the germination process by helping to breakdown the hard nut-like stone outer layer and allow it to absorb moisture from the surrounding substrate. 

3: Leaving the seeds for at least a few weeks will improve germination times and rates, removing the seeds from the freezer simple sow an inch deep along with the grit in soil-based seed compost, tray, or square pots.

4: Germination will take anything from 30-365 days depending on growing conditions. Once germinated grow on seedlings, keeping them moist, free from drafts, keep plants growing well-supported to encourage an upright stem or main trunk. 

5: A growing tree will require a larger container size every 6 months for the first few seasons. Once approx 6ft tall plant out in the trees final location, free from overhead power cables and buildings.

6: Patience is required as with many fruiting trees, once they have been stratified and chilled prior to sowing the seeds, and await the appropriate seasonal tempertures for the seeds to germinate. This cold period will improve germination and imitate a hard winter, breaking dormancy and encouraging the seed shell to soften allowing the emerging seed embryo to break free.

7: Finally it is essential you provide the correct conditions to maximise germination, freely self-pollinating, please comment below if you have questions and produces large crimson red fruit within 2 to 5 years of sowing.

Materials required:

Chosen variety of Cherry tree seeds less than 18 months old, preferably pre-chilled and stratified.

9cm round or 4.5″ square pots and carrying tray depending on your prefrence (usually get this free from garden centres during bedding plant season)

Horticultural grit or vermiculite and organic compost (free draining compost is essential so a 30% grit or vermiculite is recommended.

Plant labels it can take several months to a few years for seeds to germinate

Support, water and organic fertilizer they will need care, love and attention to grow to a fruitful tree.

Sheltered location protection from pests but exposed to seasonal conditions a cold frame or an unheated glasshouse is ideal to start your seeds but be sure to grow them in part shaded location in Summer and keep well watered in prolonged dry spells.

Growing plants from seed is incredibly rewarding, even the smallest of outdoor garden areas can be a productive workout for all the family. think of your garden as a living kitchen and grow to love fresh, organic fruit and vegetables striaght from your own backyard oasis.

Stephen Pryce-Lea

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