Planting plum seeds is an exciting project to undertake because it’s not only simple, but you also get to enjoy watching the trees you planted in your backyard grow.
However, you could get things wrong without proper guidance.
You have to consider what seeds to choose, soil type, method of planting, planting season, and best care and maintenance practices.
In this article, we’ll outline very easy-to-follow steps to help you grow plum trees from seeds.
What is Plum?
Plum is a fruit belonging to several species in Prunus, existing worldwide. Plum trees take several years to grow and bring forth flowers, but when they do, they’re in high demand.
This is because they’re healthy and tasty, making them one of the topmost commercial fruits. Dried plums are also referred to as prunes in some areas.
How To Plant Plum Seeds?
There are multiple steps involved. Note that the trees grown from seeds may or may not produce edible fruits.
The first step is to get the plum seeds you wish to plant. You get the seeds directly from the fruit. We recommend you buy plums grown locally and choose the fully ripe ones. Mature plums easily come off the branch and are soft to the touch.
Also, take the seeds from the plums that taste the best, as this can play a role in how your future plum will taste.
After getting through the plum, what you see next is not the seed you need to plant. You need to crack the pit to get to the seed, and this is where step two starts.
Allow the pit to air dry so it will be easier to crack. After drying the pit for about three to five days, crack it with a nutcracker or hammer.
You need to be cautious during this stage so you don’t want to break the seed and render it useless.
The next step is to start the cold stratification process for germinating seeds. In a natural occurrence, the seeds stay on the ground during the winter period for some days.
The cold stratification process using a refrigerator mirrors this circumstance. However, before you begin the process, you must check if the chosen seeds are viable for planting.
To do this, fill a glass with water and place your seed inside. Seeds that float will not be useful, while seeds that sink are good to go.
To begin step three, take a jar or plastic bag and fill it with moist (not water-soaked) peat moss or potting soil. Ensure the seeds are deep inside the soil.
Place the container/bag in your refrigerator at about 40°F (4.44°C). This process should go on for 60-90 days.
This step is essential because it germinates the seeds for proper growth. If you start this step early, it will end right around the time when frost isn’t an issue.
The next step is to prepare a suitable environment for growing seeds. A permanent and spacious area in your yard is great, although you can plant in a pot and transfer later.
Ensure your chosen area isn’t threatened by frost, and the seeds receive full sunlight. Prepare the planting area by adding lots of well-drained soil and compost.
In this step, you’re going to plant your plum seeds. When you take them out of the refrigerator, white roots should appear. Dig a small hole for the seeds and ensure it’s deep enough for the roots to sink inside. Typically, the seeds should be at least 3 inches in the soil.
After that, cover the top of the seed with soil. If you’re using a pot, ensure it is large and has drainage holes.
Since plum trees do not self-pollinate, you should plant at least two trees within the same area. Ensure the space between your trees is about 20-25 feet.
Ensure you water the soil but don’t overdo it. The soil needs to be moist constantly, especially during the germination process.
Germination typically takes 7-30 days. When the top two inches of the soil feel dry, ensure you water it properly.
You’ll need to water deeper once germination begins. You also need to ensure the seeds are getting enough sunlight.
If you’re planting in a pot, you need to monitor the temperature of the soil during the germination process.
Use a thermometer to see if it reaches the ideal temperature. If not, you’ll need to place the pot on a heating mat. Once germination begins, you might not need to do this again.
Note that if you’re planting with a pot, you’ll need to transplant it to a permanent space. However, doing this too early can cause complications.
You should wait until the seedlings start developing a root system. This usually takes two years. Once the root system is strong enough, you can transplant.
Within a few weeks of planting your seeds, you should start to see the seedlings grow. If you don’t see any progress, it’s likely your seed isn’t going to grow.
Check the steps and ensure you’ve followed them properly, then plant another seed. In five to six years or less, your tree will start to bring forth fruits. The time is long but worth waiting for the tasty fruit.