How to Grow Plum Tree From Seed

Learn how to grow a plum tree from seed and how to crack open and germinate plum seeds purchased from a grocery store. The steps for growing plum tree from a seed shown here gives 100 % success rate, as I have done in Australia. You can even grow a plum tree from a plum seed taken out from a plum from supermarket. Do you know, a prunes are a dried plums of specific varieties that are dried as consumed as prunes. 

It takes a few weeks to grow a plum tree from seed, if the seed has undergone proper stratification procedure. A plum tree grown from seed will bear fruits in 3 to 5 years, whereas a plum tree grown from a cutting will fruit in about 2 years (how to propagate plum tree from cuttings).

Growing Plums from Seeds, Plums on tree
Growing Plums from Seeds

It will take 3 to 4 months to grow a plum tree from seed, but the plum tree grown from seed will take three to five years to bear fruit after planting. Growing plums from seeds or pit is easy. Following are the step of growing plums from seeds or pits.

  1. Buy fully ripe plums and remove their pits. Eat the plums, but don't throw away their pits. Use them to grow plum trees.
  2. Wash the plum pits in water to completely remove any pulp.
  3. Plum Seed Germination, Plum Seed Stratification:
    1. The plum seeds need correct stratification procedure to simulate conditions suitable for germination. The seeds require a chill time of about 3 months at temperatures between 1-5°C (33-41°F) before it will germinate.
    2. You can stratify the whole pit for 3 months and plant it in soil or first open the seeds from the pits and then stratify them.
    3. However, I prefer to stratify the seed because I plant only the seed that has sprouted during the stratification process.
    4. Crack Open the Pit to take out Seed

    How to grow plum tree from seed youtube video
    You can easily break the plum seed to get seed as shown here. Do not try to hit the round portion, it will break the seed.
    How to Grow plums from seeds - Do not crack pit here
    Growing a plum tree from pit - Do not hit pit here

    Lightly hit the sharp side of the pit with a hammer to crack open the plum pit to take out the seed without breaking.
    Grow plum tree from seed, How to crack open plum seed
    Growing a plum tree from seed - Lightly hit pit here to get seed

    1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Throw away any floating seed as these are not viable and will not germinate.
    2. Now Stratification Procedure to simulate winter conditions suitable for germination:
      1. Take a kitchen paper towel and place the soaked seeds on it. Fold the paper to enclose the seeds and spray some water. Enclose the folded paper in a Zip lock bag or wrap in a polythene sheet.
      2. Place the bag inside the fridge.
      3. Open the bag and check the seeds every 2 weeks to see if the plum seed germination has started. Throw away any seeds that have developed fungus. Also change the paper if mold develops.
      4. Note: If the plums in store have come from cold storage, then stratification may not be needed, but it is always better to put them in fridge for stratification to ensure success. Such seeds will sprout in a few days only.
    3. The seeds will take 1 to 3 months to sprout in the fridge. 
      Growing plum tree from seed, Germinated Plum Seeds
      Germinated Plum Seeds

    Planting Germinated Plum Seeds in Soil

    Next step is to plant the seedling in soil.

    1. Take a small pot having several holes for excess water drainage.
    2. Fill the pot with seed raising soil mix or make your own by mixing some river sand or perlite in potting mix. Sand will make the soil free-draining otherwise standing water in the pot will rot the seed.
    3. Plant the germinated plum seed half inch deep in soil and water.
    4. Place the pot in shade at a warm place. Keep moist. The plum seedling will grow in a few days.
Plum tree grown from a seed
Plum tree grown from a seed

Flowers on Plum Tree grown from a Pit
Flowers on a young Plum Tree

The above picture shows flowers on a 2 year old plum tree grown from a pit from a procedure as given on this page.