How to Grow Amla From Seeds: Growing Gooseberries In Pots

Learn how to grow Indian gooseberry (Phyllanthus emblica, Amla) from seed easily at home and how to take care for Amla tree in a pot. You can grow gooseberries from fruit, even from frozen amla fruits in containers.

I have successfully germinated amla seeds from the seeds of frozen amla fruit bought from Indian grocery store in Sydney, Australia.

The plant is slow to grow in a pot in the first year as the weather is not favorable, but I hope it will start to grow in next year.

The Indian gooseberry is native to India and the Middle East, it can grow in USDA Zones 9 to 11. It is a is a deciduous tree of the family Phyllanthaceae.

Indian Gooseberry Tree
Indian Gooseberry Tree with Fruit

Indian gooseberry is also known as Amla, Amla Berry, Amalaki, Amblabaum, Aonla, Aovla, Arbre de Malacca, Emblica, Emblica officinalis, Groseille à Maquereau Indienne, Groseille Indienne, Groseillier de Ceylan, Grosella de la India, etc.

Amla can be grown from seeds, air layering or budding, but amla tree can also be grown from cutting. You can buy a grafted tree from a nursery. Indian gooseberry, star gooseberry , cape gooseberry, etc. are commonly propagated from seeds, however, seed grown gooseberry tree may start bearing fruit in 3-4 years. 

Growing Indian Gooseberries From Seeds

The procedure for growing gooseberries from seeds can be followed to grow Indian gooseberry, star gooseberry, cape gooseberry, country gooseberry and other types of gooseberries.

  1. Cut the amla fruit and remove the pit. Crack open the pit take out the seeds, which are reddish-brown pointed. Discard any discolored seeds.
  2. Soak the seeds in water overnight. Discard the floating seeds, these are not viable.
  3. You can directly sow the seeds, about half a cm deep in free-draining soil.

How to Germinate Frozen Amla Seeds

Frozen Indian Gooseberries, Amla
Frozen Indian Gooseberries

Frozen Indian Gooseberries
  1. I started from seeds taken out from frozen Indian gooseberries bought from a grocery store. The seeds should be first brought to room temperature, and then soak them overnight.
  2. Wrap the seeds in a damp kitchen towel and seal it in a Ziploc bag. Place the bag in shade at a warm place. I started in mid winter in Sydney, Australia, so I placed the bag indoors in a warm room. The seeds started germination in 4 weeks depending on the temperature. I continued the seeds in the bag for another 4 weeks ad then in early Spring I sowed the seeds in soil. The seedlings appeared in one week.
  3. Place pot in bright shade at a warm place and keep the soil damp, but not soggy at all times.
  4. The seedlings will appear in 1-3 weeks depending on climate.
  5. Keep the Indian gooseberry seedlings in bright shade for their first summer. Water them normally.
    Indian Gooseberry Pits
    Indian Gooseberry Pits

The above picture shows the gooseberry pits taken out from amla fruit. You have to carefully break these pits to take out the amla seeds for growing gooseberry plants.

The following picture shows the amla seeds taken out from the pits. You can see both black and yellow/white seeds. Select only the dark colored fat seeds for planting as these seeds are from fully ripe fruit and good for germination. The yellow/white seeds are from raw or partially ripe fruits.

Indian Gooseberry Seeds
Indian Gooseberry Amla Seeds.
The dark colored seeds are from fully ripe Amla fruit.

How to Grow Gooseberries in Pots?

You can grow amla in containers? Growing gooseberries in pots is not difficult, if you take proper care for pot size, soil and watering. Continue reading below to grow Indian gooseberries in containers.
  1. Choose a pot that is quite wide and deep. You can start with a small pot and transfer the plant to a pot of higher size when the plant roots appear from the bottom holes. Do not allow plants to become root bound.
  2. Use a free-draining fertile soil in the pot.
  3. Keep the plant in bright shade during the first year and shift it to direct sun light from its next year of summer.
  4. Water regularly when the plant is young, water daily in hot summer. Do not over-water or avoid plant standing in water in saucer.
  5. You can put the pot outdoor in frost-free areas but keep it inside the house.

How To Take Care for Indian Gooseberry Tree

You can grow Indian gooseberry tree in a container or garden bed successfully if you take care of your amla plant as mentioned below.

Position: Where to Plant Indian Gooseberry

Amla tree needs a sunny position. It can tolerate extreme heat and dry climate, and winter months including mild snowfall. However, young Indian gooseberry tree is sensitive to frost and prolonged freezing temperatures. But the mature trees can tolerate high temperature up to 46°C and freezing temperature also.

Indian Gooseberry Seedlings germinated from frozen seeds
Indian Gooseberry Seedlings

Soil For Indian Gooseberry plant

Indian gooseberry plant needs a nutrition rich and well drained slightly acidic soil. If you soil is clay-rich then add some river sand or perlite in the soil to make it free-draining. Add lots of organic manure or compost to make it high in nutrition.

Indian Gooseberry Plant
Indian Gooseberry Plant Grown from a seed

Watering for growing Amla at Home

  1. When the plant is young, water it regularly. 
  2. Regular and abundant watering is essential at the young age. Once the tree gets established, it doesn’t require regular and frequent watering. However, you can water the plant during the period of active growth or in a drought like conditions in summer. Watering 2-3 times in a month in summer is sufficient for a mature tree.
  3. Reduce water during the winter and fall.

How to Grow Amla, Indian Gooseberries From Seeds Video

Pruning of Indian Gooseberry Tree

  1. Indian Gooseberry plant can be pruned when it is quite young to promote new branches and make it bushy.
  2. Prune all the damaged, diseased and dead branches. 
  3. Prune branches which are crossing to each other. Keep only 4-5 healthy branches.
  4. Prune the tips in winter to encourage growth.
  5. Hard prune the tree in early Spring to rejuvenate it. 

Fertilizer For Indian Gooseberry Tree

  1. You can add lots of compost or aged manure before spring.
  2. You can apply fruit and citrus fertilizer during the growing period. The fertilizer should also contain nitrogen.


Apply a thick layer of organic mulch to retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds .

Pests and Diseases

  1. Diseases and pests are very rare in Indian Gooseberry.
  2. Spray a dilute solution of neem oil periodically to prevent pests like caterpillars, mealybugs or other general pests.

Indian Gooseberry Flowers, Fruits and Harvesting of Amla Fruit

  1. The question is how long will it take for a gooseberry bush to bear fruit. The Indian Gooseberry bush can bear fruit in 3 to 4 years after planting. 
  2. In the beginning, the young fruit is light green, and turns green to yellow as it matures. 
  3. Mature fruits are hard and glossy, they do not fall from shaking the tree. Use a ladder or a long bamboo with a hook to harvest the Amla fruit.
  4. No Gooseberry fruits on your gooseberry Bush? Improper watering, lack of nutrients, specially sulfate of potash and mildew and gooseberry sawfly larvae may be the reason of no fruits on your gooseberry bush. Also note that birds love gooseberries, so protect fruit from birds.