From Pit to Fruit: The Comprehensive Guide to Growing Apricots from Seed

Growing apricots from seed is a rewarding endeavor that offers the joy of watching a fruit-bearing tree develop from the very beginning. This comprehensive guide will help you through the process, ensuring your journey from seed to tree is successful.

a bowl with apricots seed

1. Preparation of Seeds

  • Collecting Seeds: Begin by selecting ripe apricots, ideally from a tree known to grow well from seed. After consuming the fruit, clean the pits by removing any remaining flesh, then dry them on paper towels.
  • Cracking the Pits: Use tools like a nutcracker or hammer to carefully open the pits without damaging the seeds inside. For those wanting a simpler route, it’s possible to plant the whole pit, though this may extend germination time.
  • Stratification: Apricot seeds require a cold period to simulate winter conditions and trigger germination. Wrap the cleaned seeds in a moist paper towel, place them in a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for approximately 2-3 months.

2. Planting

  • Soil and Climate: Apricots thrive in well-draining soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5, in areas that offer cold winters and warm, dry summers. Test your soil and adjust its pH if necessary using lime (for acidic soil) or sulfur (for alkaline soil).
  • Germination: After the stratification period, remove the seeds from the refrigerator. You can plant them directly in the soil about 2-3 inches deep or start them indoors in pots filled with a moist germinating mix.
  • Indoor Planting: For those in colder climates, starting seeds indoors can be advantageous. Use pots filled with damp peat moss and place the seeds inside. Keep these in a warm, sunny location, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.
planting an apricot plant

3. Care and Maintenance

  • Watering: Maintain consistent moisture in the soil, particularly during dry spells. Early morning or late afternoon watering helps minimize evaporation.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium in early spring. This aids in strong growth and fruitful production.
  • Pruning: Shape your apricot tree by pruning dead or diseased branches, aiming for a V-shaped structure to promote healthy growth and fruit production.
  • Pest Control: Be vigilant against common pests like aphids, scale insects, and borers. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil as a safe treatment, applying particularly under the leaves where pests hide.

4. Harvesting and Enjoyment

  • Harvest Time: Apricots typically ripen from mid-June to August. Check for ripeness by gently pressing the fruit; it should yield slightly under pressure.
  • Storage and Usage: Fresh apricots can be enjoyed directly, preserved as jam, or used in various recipes like pies, salads, or grilled dishes. Making apricot jam or baking apricot pies are delightful ways to utilize your harvest.
a little crate with apricots

By following these detailed steps and providing your apricot tree with the proper care and attention, you’ll set the stage for a bountiful harvest of your own sweet, home-grown apricots. Remember, patience and attention to detail are key in the journey from seed to fruit-bearing tree. Enjoy the process and the delicious fruits of your labor!

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