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Grow Pistachios From Seeds | Pistachio Seed Germination

Read below how to grow pistachio tree from seeds and pistachio seed germination at home. It is possible to grow pistachio plant from seeds or nuts from grocery store.  For this, the first step is to germinate pistachio seeds indoors. I have successfully germinated pistachio seeds in Sydney, Australia and grown pistachio plant.

Pistachio Tree
Pistachio Tree

But note that 2 pistachio trees are needed to produce nuts as male and female pistachio tree are different, you may have 2 pistachio trees grown from seeds or other methods. However, growing pistachios from seeds or nuts is an interesting experiment.

Pistachios are very healthy nuts having low calories, high protein and high antioxidants.

How to grow and care for a pistachio tree

Pistachio Seed Germination

Step 1: Pistachio Seed Selection

Do not buy raw pistachios or which are roasted and or salted, they will not germinate. You need unprocessed pistachio nuts which are available in your local grocery store, look for unsalted pistachios. 

Although fresh pista nuts are recommended for germination, but I have tried and found the pistachios available in stores to be equally suitable for growing a pistachio tree.

Discard the damaged, discoloured or rotten pistachio seeds. Choose 4-5 healthy pistachio  seeds because all of them may not grow into a tree. 

Seeds in cracked shell are okay for germination. If the shell is intact, carefully crack the shell without damaging the seed inside.

Step 2: Soaking the Pistachio Seeds

Soak the pistachio seeds in water for 24 hours to swell the very dried seeds. I tried the seeds without soaking, and they germinated successfully.

Step 3: Stratification of Pistachio Seeds For Germination

The seeds of many fruits like apple, almonds, apricot etc. have an embryonic dormancy phase, and may not sprout unless this dormancy is broken. Stratification is a process to break this dormancy by treating seeds to simulate natural conditions that they must experience before germination can occur. For this the seeds must undergo an extended period of cold climate before they can germinate.  

This is achieved by keeping the seeds in refrigerator for about 1 to 4 months and then sow them at room temperature.  

For pistachios this stratification step may not be needed if the climate is not too hot or the nuts have come in Store from cold storage. I tried to germinate 10 pistachio seeds without stratification, but none of them germinated.

The question is  how long does it take for a pistachio seed to sprout?  The pistachio seed germination depends on the age of the seeds and temperature. The seeds will take 1 to 4 months to germinate in the fridge. Check the seeds every week after 1 month if the germination has started.

Germinated Pistachio Seed
Germinated Pistachio Seed

Step 4: Planting the Germinated Pistachio Seed in Soil

Once the pistachio seeds have germinated, they are ready to be planted in soil. 

Plant the germinated seeds in a free-draining nutrient rich soil about half a inch deep. Add lots of compost in the soil to make it nutrient and coarse river sand to make it free-draining.

If growing in a pot, select at tall pot as the plant has a long taproot.  

Video on How to Grow a Pistachio Tree From Seed

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References

  1. Pistachio Production Manual, 4th edition, 2005, University of California, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
  2. Pistachios