I went out with my friend Allen The Beekeeper on an emergency bee call last week. I filmed it and once the bits and pieces are edited together in a coherent manner, I will post our adventure… but that’s a topic for another day.
Once we checked on the bees, the homeowner also led us on a tour of his gardens and small citrus orchard.
“I grew this lemon tree from seed,” he said, and my ears perked up.
From… seed? My kind of guy!
Beautiful Citrus Trees From Seed
I looked at his seedling tree, impressed by the abundant growth and goodly amount of fruit. The lemons were round, with interesting bumps on them – not like any lemon I’d seen before.
…and that’s one of the cool things about seed-grown fruit trees. They aren’t like any tree you’ve ever seen before! They’re unique genetic creations.
As it turns out, the homeowner was also growing tangerines, grapefruit, oranges and other citrus from seed and took me on a nice tour of his collection, which I filmed and posted on YouTube a few days ago:
Notice how the seedling trees are outperforming the grafted trees?
There is a lot of vitality in a seed-grown fruit tree!
Seedling Peaches – All Good!
My seedling peach trees grew like weeds and produced their first few peaches in a year and a half.
For those of you up north, it’s unlikely that fruit production will happen that quickly due to your shorter growing season, but it is reasonable to expect you’ll get peaches within three years.
My seedling peaches grew and out-produced the grafted and named varieties of peaches I planted a year before I planted pits.
I also gave some of the seedling peach trees I started to my friend Larry. As I was visiting him a week ago, I took a few minutes to film a short video on their progress:
What fun it is to see the variation!
Here’s the crazy thing: every peach tree I grew from seed that has produced fruit thus far has produced excellent, delicious fruit. They have some variation in size, shape and color – but they’re all great peaches!
How Long Does It Take for A Fruit Tree To Produce Fruit From Seed?
Some citrus will take quite a while to produce fruit from seed – as long as 8-10 years; however, I’ve seen some varieties produce fruit from seed in as little as three years, such as my beloved calamondins.
Apples and pears can also take quite a while to produce fruit (unless you graft onto them).
Peaches and other stone fruit are usually very quick producers. I don’t think I’d buy another grafted tree at this point – not when I can grow a pit and have it hit 6′ the first year and be fruiting the next!
Loquats take around six years.
Pomegranates can fruit in three (I have one that fruited in two but it was a dwarf variety).
Chestnuts can fruit from a seed in three years.
A walnut or pecan can take a decade or more. (That means plant them now!)
Coconuts take a few years. The one I planted as a kid didn’t fruit for about a decade; however, it wasn’t grown under ideal conditions.
Soap nut trees can fruit in three years according to my friend Alex Ojeda. Coffee trees can fruit from seed in three years.
The Key To Growing Fruit Trees from Seed
The key to growing fruit trees from seed successfully is to… just do it. Always do it. Plant tree seeds all the time. Plant peach pits in pots. Plant walnuts in the woods. Plant apple seeds in coffee cans. Plant plum pits in your garden beds and transplant the seedlings later.
Don’t think about how long it will take for them to produce.
Don’t tell yourself you’ll start next year.
Don’t worry about it.
Just do it!
As a wise man once said:
“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
The point is this: time moves faster than you think. If you plant some seeds every year, after a few years you’ll have new fruit trees maturing and bearing every year. It’s exciting and fun – and no one else in the world will own the exact same fruit trees as the ones growing in your yard.
If you’d like to learn more about the practical side of growing fruit trees from seed, my friend William at Permaculture Apprentice recently wrote a nice in-depth post on the topic.
More Seed-Grown Fruit Tree Success Stories
I posted a few years ago on Allen’s dad growing beautiful citrus trees from seed:
I also shared the story of Eddy and his beautiful seed-grown avocado tree:
And I posted on my amazing tropical almond tree, grown from a seed and producing fruit at two years old:
Here’s my video on that tropical almond tree:
I grew this fruiting pomegranate from a seed:
And these papayas:
If I can grow fruit trees from seed in my spare time, you can too.
Go for it!