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!
Do you have a website(s) you like to use to buy the seeds? I’m working on buying 20 acres, and will have time/space for growing from seed, with no money for trees for a few years. I figure I’ll get faster, better, and long lasting returns on chickens, veggies, and either sheep or goats I can get for cheap/free locally. But long term, trees are good and I want to start ASAP.
Oh, and fyi, its NE oklahoma, grow zone 8. I can’t get your mutant forests of deliciousness as easily
Ahhh I wish I lived in a place where the climate was nice enough to grow fruit trees! I am forever jealous 🙁
You are pretty far up there. I know trees grow in your area – are you sure there aren’t any edible ones?
This is a great post! I found some old peach pits from the peach tree a renter cut down and gonna try n sprout um… I bought a peach tree from you last summer and it appears to be 2 varietys. One half flowered in feb an was completely leaved out by end of march. The other half is flowering now an getting some leaf… I reluctantly pulled most of the flowers to push it to grow more… But left a few an now have about 6 peaches developing so I can try them soon….
Thank you. Good luck with getting those peach pits to grow.
Do you have some branches perhaps growing beneath the graft point on that tree that’s blooming? Send a pic and I might be able to tell you what’s going on. Save the pits and plant them, too!
Double plus on peaches from seed. Eight of my seed-grown trees are flowering right now. This is northern Illinois. It was 3-4 years from first sprouting to first fruit. It might be faster, but they always get cut back the first winter by rabbits. By winter two they are big enough that the rabbits can’t eat through them.
My technique: Buy peaches at the store, eat them, and throw the pits in the garden. A few years of doing this and you will have peach trees growing. For apple trees my technique is to pick up all the spoiled apples on the ground under my old tree, and dump them on the garden for mulch. In a few years there will be dozens of shoots coming up.
Sadly, no apricots have sprouted! And they are way too expensive to buy in the store very often.
Pomegranates are super easy, eat one and spit all the seeds into a pot. Many will sprout. Citrus the same. I get a few avocados every year, but way too cold to survive the winter. Papayas will sprout very easily in the garden trash.
Your website keeps popping up in all my search results today! I have a lemon tree I’ve grown from seed and am looking up when it will produce fruit. I don’t even know what kind of lemon it came from. I keep coming across articles that say you won’t get usable fruit from trees grown from seed and I think that is ridiculous.
Thank you. Yeah, it’s ridiculous! Plenty of good fruit trees grow from seed. I’d venture to say the vast majority bear fine fruit.
I think we all know you can grow anything from a seed, but what they are talking about is the seedling tree may or may not be true to the parent tree, where a grafted tree will be. So it’s 50/50 is you get what you want, instead of 100 percent.
wow i feel happy to see your fruit trees i also have garden but i don’t have any exprience in planting just like you said also just planted seeds but they don’t grow even if they grow little
bit come out of shell then they die soon i don’t know why because of my over watering i also tried to reduce giving water and i didn’t get i also brought plants from market but they die one of them that tropical almond tree managed to grow it is now about 18 months old and i don’t know when they gonna give me fruit
My husband planted apple seeds years ago and we have some nice little trees but they’ve never given any indication of producing fruit until this year…one tree had a few blossoms. I’m looking forward to watching the fruit develop.
Molly, make sure you have at least 2 different kinds of apple trees that flower on the same schedule or you will never see one apple.
I’m kind of late in asking a question, but can you tell me if the root stock of the seed is good enough to grow scion wood for future cuttings? If so, I have an old peach tree that has several branches coming up from its root stock that I was interested in air layering this coming spring. Would the air layer cutting be a viable option for root stock? Thanks in advance.
Just like John above, I’m kind of late in asking a question. I hope you read our questions and reply. I just recently discovered your website and youtube channel as I’m doing research on permaculture, no-dig farming, organic farming, homesteading, mulching, edible landscaping, etc. We’re faced with the reality of owning land, and we’d like to make the most of it. Aside from researching, I’m germinating seeds of fruits I like. So far, I have jackfruit, tiko berry, papaya, and avocado seedlings. I felt hopeful when I saw this post of you having success with trees from seeds. I will definitely try Eddy’s MiracleGro method. I guess my question now is, how do we revive land that has been chemically abused for decades (to grow rice that’s not even a native variety)? I hope you can point us in the right direction.
In my opinion, the best way to fix abused land is to let the weeds grow back and supplement them with green manure and chop and drop crops. Nitrogen-fixers, nutrient accumulators, etc. If you can find biomass from elsewhere and drop it (tree company wood chips are a great idea), that will help immensely. My food forest took off after adding a foot of wood chip mulch and letting it rot down. Then, if possible, get animals grazing on the land. Cows, chickens, etc. Don’t be afraid to slash down brush and weeds and leave it to rot on the ground. To get fancier, take a soil test for nutrients and then add in the micronutrients that are missing. You might also try making biochar and adding it to the land. Great work with the fruit tree seeds – keep growing!
[…] It is worth growing citrus from seed, as you can read in this post. […]
Loved the video of the citrus tour. I’ve got a navel orange and a lemon from seed, also a Jackfruit and Sapote, Jacaranda, Gold Medallion ,Cherimoya, Carambola, and Carrotwood. Live in zone 6 so I do a lort of pot dragging in October. Any special advice about augmenting the soil for winter protection? Also, do Key Limes and Lychee do well from seed? Have not had a lot of luck with either.
Overland Park KS
Both key lime and lychee seeds do not last long outside of the fruit. They must be planted ASAP or they lose viability. I don’t have any suggestions on soil, other than keeping up high fertility and mulch.
Love your videos! Keep them coming for us just starting our gardening journey. Boy, there’s a lot to learn. I live in FL (9b zone) and have lots of pine needles during this time of year. How can I make good use of them in my garden?
I also have an orange tree, grown from seed, that’s 3 years old and just threatened to cut it down yesterday if it doesn’t produce this year. I can’t wait to see how that works out.
I have 3 acres and want to start a grocery row garden. I’m not sure it will work due to numerous extremely large oak trees casting to much shade. I don’t give up easily, so trying to figure out how to make it work.