Growing a plum tree from a seed can be an exciting and rewarding experience for any gardener. It is one of the fruits that grows in zone 2 and 3.
While it may take several years for the tree to bear fruit, the process of growing a tree from a seed can be a fun and educational project.
It is important to note that not all plum seeds will produce fruit-bearing trees, but with the right conditions and care, you can increase your chances of success.
There are two main methods for growing a plum tree from a seed: direct seeding and transplanting.
Direct seeding involves planting the seed directly into the ground, while transplanting involves starting the seed in a pot or container and then moving it to the ground once it has grown larger.
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which to use will depend on your personal preferences and the conditions of your garden.
Before planting your plum seed, it is important to choose a location with well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Once planted, the seed will need regular watering and care to ensure that it grows into a healthy tree.
With patience and dedication, you can grow a beautiful plum tree that will provide delicious fruit for years to come.
Selecting the Plum Seed
Choosing a Plum Variety
When selecting a plum seed to grow, it is important to choose a variety that is well-suited for your climate and growing conditions.
Some popular varieties of plum include Santa Rosa, Methley, and Burbank.
In Zone 3, we can grow Mount Royal Plum as well as Pembina. The plum seeds that I planted are from a mystery tree in Zone 2. I strongly suspect it is a Pembina plum, though.
I bought a bag of plums from a local lady and she didn’t know what variety they were. We will have to wait until the tree produces fruit to know for sure.
It is recommended to choose a plum that is fresh and ripe, as this will increase the chances of the seed germinating successfully.
Harvesting the Plum Seed
To harvest a plum seed, simply cut open a fresh, ripe plum and remove the pit.
Rinse the pit under cool water to remove any remaining fruit flesh. Some gardeners prefer to dry the pit for a few days before planting, while others prefer to plant the pit immediately.
I dried mine for a 7-10 days.
It is important to note that not all plum seeds will grow successfully, as some may not be viable or may be damaged during the harvesting process.
To check viability, do the float test. Place pits into a jar of water. Those that float are not viable. Sinking pits are viable.
It is recommended to harvest several seeds to increase the chances of success.
When selecting a plum seed, it is also important to consider the characteristics of the parent tree. If the parent tree produces high-quality fruit, it is likely that the seed will produce a similar tree.
Overall, selecting a high-quality plum seed is an important first step in successfully growing a plum tree from seed.
Before planting a plum seed, it is important to properly prepare it. This section covers the two main steps in preparing a plum seed for planting: cleaning and stratification.
Cleaning the Seed
The first step in preparing a plum seed is to clean it. This involves removing any pulp or flesh from the seed.
To do this, wash the seed in warm water, being careful not to damage the seed itself.
Use your fingers to gently rub away any remaining pulp or flesh until the seed is clean.
Removing the Pit
This part is controversial, but for me, it worked really well. After the pits were completely dry, I gently cracked them open with a nutcracker. Inside the pit is the plum seed.
This speeds up the growing process. If you can, save more seeds rather then less. This allows for mistakes in the cracking process.
After cleaning the seed, the next step is to stratify it.
Stratification is the process of exposing the seed to a period of cold and damp conditions, which helps to break down the seed coat and prepare the seed for germination.
There are several methods for stratifying plum seeds, but one common method is to wrap the seed in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Another method is to plant the seed in a pot of moist soil and place it in a cool, dark place for several weeks.
For best results wait until the seed starts sprouting before planting into soil.
It is important to note that not all plum seeds require stratification.
Some varieties of plum are self-fertile and will produce seeds that are already stratified.
However, if you are unsure whether your plum seed requires stratification, it is best to err on the side of caution and stratify the seed anyway.
Planting the Plum Seed
Choosing a Container
When it comes to planting a plum seed, choosing the right container is essential. A plastic bag or a canning jar is a great option for planting a plum seed.
Make sure the container is two-thirds full of rich compost, and the soil is moist, but not overly wet. It is also important to ensure the container has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
Planting the Seed
The next step is to plant the plum seed. Gently place the seed or seeds inside the compost and seal the container. If you are planting more than one seed in the same container, make sure to space them out evenly.
The seed should be covered with a generous layer of soil, and the soil should be gently pressed down around the seed to ensure it is firmly in place. I planted mine about an inch deep.
Planting directly outside works great too. Be sure to mark the planted area clearly. It’s easy to miss a small growing plum tree.
Watering and Fertilizing
After planting the plum seed, water it carefully. Overwatering can lead to rotting of the seed, and underwatering can cause it to dry out.
Water the seed regularly, but make sure the soil is not overly wet. Fertilizing the seed is not necessary at this stage, as the compost should provide sufficient nutrients for the seed to grow.
Overall, planting a plum seed is a simple process that can be done in a container or directly in the ground.
By following these steps, you can successfully grow a plum tree from a seed and enjoy the fruits of your labor in the years to come.
Caring for the Plum Seedling
Light and Temperature
Plum seedlings need a lot of sunlight to grow properly.
Make sure that they get at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. If you are growing your seedling indoors, place it near a south-facing window or use artificial lighting to provide enough light.
The temperature is also important for the growth of your plum seedling.
Keep it in a warm area with temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing it near cold drafts or in areas with extreme temperature fluctuations.
Once the tree is about 2 feet tall, and it’s warm outside, plant it in it’s permanent location.
Mark the tree with a bright ribbon to prevent it from getting run over. Dig a hole that is as deep as the roots of the tree, and as wide. Keep it thoroughly moist for 2 weeks, to help it acclimate to its new location.
Pruning is essential for the proper growth and development of your plum tree.
You should prune your tree during the dormant season, which is usually in late winter or early spring. Remove any dead or diseased branches, as well as any branches that are growing inward or crossing over each other.
This will help improve air circulation and prevent the spread of diseases.
When pruning your tree, make sure to use clean and sharp tools to avoid damaging the tree. Cut branches at a 45-degree angle, about 1/4 inch above a bud or a lateral branch.
Pests and Diseases
Plum trees are susceptible to various pests and diseases, such as aphids, borers, and brown rot. To prevent these problems, keep your tree healthy by providing it with enough water and nutrients.
You can also use insecticidal soap or other organic pest control methods to get rid of pests.
If you notice any signs of diseases, such as leaf spots or cankers, remove the affected branches and dispose of them properly. You can also use fungicides to prevent the spread of diseases.
Growing a plum from seed is a simple process. We haven’t been able to harvest from our tree yet, as it can take several years before they bear fruit. If you buy fresh plums, there is a good chance you can grow a tree from that seed.