How To Grow Cherries From Seed: Germinating Cherry Seeds in Paper Towel

This article gives details on growing cherries from seeds. You will know how to germinate cherry seeds in a paper towel and also  crack open the pits to take out their seeds.

Cherries can be propagated from cuttings (how to grow cherry tree from cuttings) and seeds as well, but most cherries are grafted onto dwarf root-stocks. 

It is pointed out that the cherry trees grown from seeds may not be true to the parents. You can grow a cherry tree from seed for its beautiful flowers also. The seed grown cherry tree will not be a dwarf tree and can grow up to 10 m tall. 

Cherry Trees vs. Cherry Blossom Trees

Both the cherry trees and the cherry blossom trees belong to the botanical genus Prunus, and are both cherries. The cherry trees grown for fruit are known as cherry trees, while those grown for their flowers are called ornamental cherries.

Ripe Cherries growing on tree
Ripe Cherries growing on tree

Growing Cherry Trees From Seeds

You grow cherries from pits or seeds quite easily as shown below. For this, first germinate the seeds and plant them in soil to grow cherry trees. You can also use cherry pits from store bought cherries to grow a tree at home (how to germinate seeds in paper towel). Following are the steps:

Video on How to Grow Cherry Tree from Seed

Selecting the Right Seeds

The first important step in growing cherries from seeds is to get high-quality seeds. You can obtain these seeds from fresh cherries purchased at a farmers' market. Choose fully ripened cherries to increase the likelihood of viable seeds. 

Avoid using the pits from the cherries from your grocery stores as they may not be compatible with the climate in your area, so it is better to buy locally grown cherries from a farmers' market, if possible.

Some cherry varieties to grow in Australia are Trixzie White Cherry Tree, Royal Lee Cherry Tree, Minnie Royal Cherry Tree, Cherry Tree Ruby  and Royal Dawn Cherry Tree. Cherries are grown in Australia mainly in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Seed Preparation

Extract the seeds from the cherry flesh by carefully removing the pulp and washing the pits. This can be done by gently rubbing the seeds against a fine mesh strainer under running water. Then allow the pits to dry on a paper towel at room temperature for a day or two. You can grow the cherry tree from pit, or take out the seeds, and germinate them.

How To Germinate Cherry Seeds

You can germinate cherry seed in a paper towel quickly. The actual cherry seeds are inside the hard shell of the pit. You do not need to crack cherry seeds before planting, and can plant the whole pit, but it will take much more time to germinate. 

The seeds without shells will take less time to germinate. So first, know how to crack open a cherry seed.

How To Split Open a Cherry Seed

To break open the seeds, you can use a plier or a nut cracker. The variable gap in the plier helps to hold the seeds of different sizes.

Split open cherry seed
Use a Plier to Split open cherry seeds

To split open the seeds without breaking them, it is important to hit the correct side of the pit.

How to split open the cherry seeds
Split open the cherry seeds

Do not try to hit the the round side of the pit, that will break the seed embryo inside. Hitting at the lined side of the pit will split open the pit without breaking the seed 

Hold the lined sides between the plier and hit lightly, the pit will open and the seed will come out.

If you fail to take out the seeds, still you can germinate the seeds with shells as shown below.

Cold Stratification

Cherry seeds require a period of cold stratification to simulate the winter conditions necessary for germination. 

The stratification process mimics the real life situation in nature where cherry pits are covered in snow for a few weeks in late winter before germinating in spring.

For stratification process, take a kitchen paper towel and place the seeds, with or without shells on them. 

To stratify the cherry seeds, take a kitchen paper and place the seeds or pits or both on it. Fold the paper and dampen it with water. Wrap the paper in a zip lock bag or a polythene sheet and place in the fridge for about 3 months. This process helps break dormancy and prepares the seeds for sprouting.

Open the bag every 2 weeks and change the paper, if mold develops. 

In about 3 months, you may notice, some seeds without hard shell may have sprouted, and the pits (seeds with shells) may have swollen and ready to germinate.

Germinated Cherry Seed in fridge during Stratification
Germinated Cherry Seed in fridge during Stratification

Planting the Seeds

After the cold stratification period, it's time to plant the seeds. Take small pots having drainage holes and fill them with a well-draining potting mix. Plant the seeds about half an inch deep in the soil and cover them gently. Water the soil lightly to ensure  moisture.

Place the pots or trays in a warm and bright place, where provide a temperature of 18 to 24°C (65 to 75°F ) for germination. You can place the pot indoors if the outside temperature is too low or too high.

Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Germination can take several days or weeks, depending on temperature and other conditions.  As the seeds germinate and sprout, tiny cherry seedlings will emerge.

Cherry Tree from Seed
Cherry Tree from Seed

Transplanting Seedlings

Once the cherry seedlings have grown a few inches tall and have developed a 3-4 sets of leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into larger pots or directly into the garden. 

Cherry Tree Care

Where To Plant Tree: Cherry trees need full sun, ideally 8 hours of full sun each day. 

Soil: Cherry trees need soil free-draining well fertile soil between pH 6.5 and 7.

Mulching: Mulch around the base of the plants to conserve moisture and prevent weed growth. Mulching is important to provide protection from the sun around the roots. Add lots of compost on the soil as a mulch for young cherry trees, and well rotten manure on mature trees.

Watering: Young cherry tree needs regular watering. However, mature trees can tolerate periods of drought, but do not completely dry them out. Water the tree regularly during its fruiting season to help them develop larger fruits.

Fertilizer: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to ensure healthy growth. 

Pruning and Training: As your cherry plants grow, consider pruning to encourage a strong, open structure. Remove any weak or crossing branches to promote good airflow and fruit production. In early spring, prune the last season's fruiting branches. .

Pests and Diseases

Cherry slug and bacterial canker may be the problems. If you notice the sign of bacterial canker, which are black scabs on the trunk and/or branches, cut off the affected branches and burn them away from other fruit trees.

If slugs are the problem, then blast them of leaves with a strong jet of water.


The question is when can you harvest cherries from a seed grown cherry tree, how long does it take to grow cherries from a seed

The cherry tree grown from seed can bear fruit in 5  to 8 years. The cherry trees grown from saplings can take about three years to establish and begin bearing fruit in the fourth year. 

You need two sweet cherry trees as they need pollination with other cherry tree. However, most varieties of sour cherries are self-pollinating and grow on a single tree.

Growing Cherries in Containers

Dwarf cherry varieties can be grown in containers. You will need two sweet cherry trees to produce fruits. But if you plant a single fruiting cherry tree, it  will flower as an ornamental cherry tree, even in a container.

Video on Growing Cherries

How to germinate cherry seeds youtube video
how to grow cherries from seeds youtube