sour cherry seeds

Propagation of Sour Cherries

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While many backyard gardeners prefer sweet cherry trees so they can sample the fruit right off the tree, those who like pies, jams and jellies usually prefer sour or tart cherries. Not only are sour cherries better for cooking, they are self-pollinating, more tolerant of warm weather and require little care once they are established.


Cherry trees can be easily grown from seed. To do so, the seeds should be removed from the ripe fruit at harvest time and can either be sown in the fall or stratified and planted in the spring. To stratify seeds, place them in a mixture of equal parts sand and peat moss, then place them in a container like a coffee can, cottage cheese container, plastic jar or plastic bag. Be sure to put some holes in the lids of the containers for air, then place them in the refrigerator to duplicate nature’s cold seasons. The seeds should be left in the refrigerator for 90 to 150 days in temperatures of 33 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit before planting in the spring. Stratification is necessary to break the hard seed coat just as outdoor winter conditions would do.


Many of today’s sour cherry varieties are the result of grafting. One of the most common types of grafting is the whip graft. With this type of graft, a small branch called a scion — approximately 1/2 inch in diameter — of a sour cherry tree is cut from the plant using a diagonal cut about 1 1/2 inches in length. This branch is then bound using grafting tape and a grafting compound to root stock from a sturdier or more disease-resistant variety of cherry, which has also been subjected to a diagonal cut of approximately the same length. The resulting cherry tree will be identical to the plant from which the scion was taken, while a plant grown from seed may show some variation from the parent plant.


A cutting may be taken from a tree to start a new one. In this method, a twig or small limb is cut from the tree and stripped of all its lower leaves. After dipping the cut end into a rooting hormone, it is placed in a growing medium until the roots form and it can be placed in its permanent home. While there are several different media used for rooting, some of the most common ones are sand, peat, perlite and leaf mold or compost, as well as mixtures of these. Cuttings from cherry trees are usually taken during the summer months. Although they can be grown outside or in a greenhouse, those started outside will often be placed in a greenhouse over the winter months. It may take several months before substantial root growth occurs.

Regardless of the method of propagation used, Cherry trees need soil that drains well. Moisture levels are particularly critical as harvest time approaches — too little water and the berries will be small and shriveled, too much and they will split. Fertilizer and compost should be added each spring, and pruning is necessary to remove old and damaged branches. Cherries will grow almost anywhere in the country. Early Richmond, Meteor, North Star and Montmorency do well in USDA Climate Zones 4 through 9.

  • Organic Gardening: How To Grow Cherries
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees — Methods of Grafting
  • Iowa State University: Germination of Tree Seed
  • University of California at Davis: Growing Temperate Tree Fruit and Nut Crops in the Home Garden and Landscape

Carolyn Kaberline has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her articles have appeared in local, regional and national publications and have covered a variety of topics. In addition to writing, she’s also a full-time high-school English and journalism teacher. Kaberline earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical journalism from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts in education from Baker University.

Propagation of Sour Cherries. While many backyard gardeners prefer sweet cherry trees so they can sample the fruit right off the tree, those who like pies, jams and jellies usually prefer sour or tart cherries. Not only are sour cherries better for cooking, they are self-pollinating, more tolerant of warm weather and …

Tips For Planting Cherry Seeds: Can You Grow A Cherry Tree Pit

If you’re a cherry lover, you’ve probably spit your share of cherry pits, or maybe it’s just me. At any rate, have you ever wondered, “Can you grow a cherry tree pit?” If so, how do you grow cherry trees from pits? Let’s find out.

Can You Grow a Cherry Tree Pit?

Yes indeed. Growing cherry trees from seed is not only an inexpensive way to grow a cherry tree, but it’s also lots of fun and delicious!

First, can you grow a cherry tree in your region? Cherry varieties are hardy through USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9, depending upon the type.

Now comes the hard part. Eat some cherries. That’s a tough one, huh? Use cherries from either a tree growing in the area or purchased from a farmers market. Cherries from the grocers are stored in such a way, refrigerated, that makes starting seeds from them unreliable.

Save the pits from the cherries you’ve just devoured and put them in a bowl of warm water. Let the pits soak for five minutes or so and then lightly scrub them free of any clinging fruit. Spread the clean pits out on a paper towel in a warm area and let them dry for three to five days, then transfer the dry pits to a plastic container, labeled and fitted with a tight lid. Store the pits in the refrigerator for 10 weeks.

Why are you doing this? Cherries need to go through a cold or stratification period that normally occurs naturally during the winter, prior to germination in the spring. Refrigerating the pits is artificially mimicking this process. Okay, seed planting of cherry trees is now ready to commence.

How to Grow Cherry Trees from Pits

Once the ten weeks has passed, remove the pits and allow them to come to room temperature. You are now ready for planting the cherry seeds. Put two to three pits into a small container filled with planting medium and water the seeds in. Keep the soil moist.

When the cherry seedlings are 2 inches (5 cm.) tall, thin them, removing the weakest plants and leaving the sturdiest seedling in the pot. Keep the seedlings in a sunny area indoors until all danger of frost has passed for your region, and then transplant outside. Multiple trees should be planted at least 20 (6 m.) feet apart.

Seed Planting Cherry Trees

Growing cherry trees from seed can also be attempted directly in the garden. In this method, you are skipping the refrigeration and letting the seeds go through a natural stratification process through the winter.

In the fall, gather the dried cherry pits and plant them outside. Plant a few since some may not germinate. Set the seeds 2 inches (5 cm.) deep and one foot (31 cm.) apart. Mark the planting sites.

In the spring, the pits will sprout. Wait until the seedlings are 8-12 inches (10 cm.) in height and then transplant them to their permanent site in the garden. Mulch well around the transplanted seedlings to retard weeds and aid in water retention.

And, there you have it! Planting cherry seeds is as simple as that! The difficult part is waiting for those luscious cherries.

If you are a cherry lover, you?ve probably spit your share of cherry pits, or maybe it?s just me. At any rate, have you ever wondered ?can you grow a cherry tree pit?? If so, how do you grow cherry trees from pits? This article will help.