Cherries are without a doubt one of the most popular fruits and everyone awaits them impatiently every year. And what delicacies you can conjure up with them! Is your little tree in the garden not enough for you and you would like to have a second one? Or do you just feel like experimenting? Then you can grow a cherry tree from the pit! We explain step by step how to proceed and whether it is worth the effort at all.
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Grow your own cherry tree from the stone – Does it make sense?
Most fruit varieties take many years to produce fruit for the first time. Others never produce any, because they need special treatments for this purpose. We have already explained that you can succeed with apricots. But what about cherries? Is it worth the effort?
Yes, it is possible, but with a big “but”. Because before the plant is able to produce fruit, some time passes, during which it is naturally exposed to all the risks of disease and pest infestation, and fruit trees grown from seeds are generally more susceptible. In addition, the characteristics may later differ from those of the mother plant. So do not assume that you will get a duplicate of the previous tree. Each cherry contains the genes of two trees and which of them will eventually develop is unpredictable. For this reason, experts use the so-called grafting.
Nevertheless, you can grow a cherry tree, albeit for the sake of fun. We explain how to germinate the stone, how to take care of the seedling and when you can plant the sapling in the garden.
Pulling cherry tree from the core – stimulate germination.
In the following methods, start in late autumn.
If you want to grow a cherry tree from the core, it must first be pretreated. You need to imitate nature, so to speak. There, the cherry stones spend a few months in the cold, namely in the winter. This cold treatment is essential for germination, because it ensures that the hard shell softens and the seedling can penetrate it, and also stimulates germination. For this purpose, you simply need to dig the seeds into the soil in late fall. Mark the spots so that later you know where to find them again, because that’s where the seeds will stay until spring.
You can also achieve this cold shock artificially by simply using the refrigerator. Here, however, the seeds must also be in moist substrate (preferably sand, gravel or peat moss) and in a container. Choose the same time for this as for the cold treatment in the garden and let the cherry pits rest until the end of winter. Then you can proceed to the next step (see below) and grow your own cherry tree.
Speed up the process
You perform this trick in the spring.
It takes too long for you, doesn’t it? You can actually speed up the process and trick nature a little, so to speak, when you propagate the cherry. After all, when you pull the cherry tree from the core, you can burst it open and take out the seed that it contains. Be careful not to damage the cherry seed in the process, as it will not be usable. Place it in a glass of water and put it in the refrigerator so that the seed can soften a little. Now wait until the seed starts to germinate.
Tip: Since not every cherry seed will actually germinate, it is always a good idea to use several at once and continue to plant the strongest seedlings at the end.
How to proceed step by step
Proceed as follows if you want to pull a cherry tree from the core:
- Do not use supermarket cherries, as they are more vulnerable later. Those from your own or organic cultivation are ideal.
- Clean the pits thoroughly by removing any pulp (under running water).
- Allow the cherry pits to dry thoroughly.
Prepare substrate (for refrigerator + so-called heat exposure before cold exposure) and plant cherry pit:
- Put peat moss in a container. For example, a small bag is best suited.
- Moisten the substrate well and let it rest overnight.
- Squeeze out the excess water.
- Make sure that there is good aeration. For this purpose, poke holes in the lid, if you use a box. In the case of a bag, you can simply leave it open a little. In this way you will prevent mold growth.
- Press the seeds into the substrate and let them rest like this for 2 weeks.
Subject the cores to cold shock:
- Check that the sphagnum moss is still moist (but not wet!).
- Put the container in the refrigerator. 3 to 5 degrees is ideal for this.
- Once a week, check if the substrate is still moist and moisten it if necessary. Always make sure to remove excess water.
- After 3, ideally even 5 months, you can stop the cold treatment.
If you have chosen the garden, simply stick the prepared seeds into the ground.
When to plant a cherry tree?
While you can start pulling the cherry tree from the pit as early as autumn, transplanting it to the garden is done only in spring, as soon as frost is no longer expected. Choose a sunny location for the cherry tree seedling that is warm and has a loose soil. After you have prepared it, plant the sapling about 2.5 centimeters deep and water the soil well. After that, always keep the soil moderately moist. Fertilizer is not yet needed by the young plant in the first year, as well as autumn pruning, with which you wait a few years.
After 7 or 8 years at the earliest, with a little luck, your homegrown fruit tree will bear its first fruit. But, as already said, there is no guarantee.