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How to Plant a Plum Seed

Three Parts:Harvesting the SeedSprouting the SeedPlanting the Seed

A plum is a type of stone fruit that carries its seed inside a pit in the core of the fruit. Seeds can be harvested from most market varieties, and then undergo a process called “stratification.” Once germinated the seed can be planted outdoors or in a container.

Part 1
Harvesting the Seed

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    Purchase ripe plums from a market stall. Buy plums that were grown locally or in a similar climate, so that you ensure it will grow in your hardiness zone. It is best not to use early-maturing varieties, because the seeds are less likely to develop in these types.
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    Eat the flesh off the plum. Choose the tastiest one to try to plant, since plum seeds often carry on the traits of a parent plant very well.
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    Continue to remove all the flesh so that the pit looks bare.
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    Set the pit out on a windowsill for a few days to dry. The seed inside the pit will dry and shrink away, and you will be able to save it more easily. The shell will also crack more easily when dried.[1]
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    Take a small nutcracker. Place the pit horizontally between the two ends. Crack it gently.
    • Take care not to crack too hard. A smashed seed can’t be planted.
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    Set the almond-like seed off to the side. This is what you need to sprout and plant.
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    Fill a glass of water. Drop your seed into it. If it sinks, you can germinate it, and if it floats, you should continue cracking pits until you get a viable seed.[2]

Part 2
Sprouting the Seed

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    Soak the seeds overnight in the glass of water that you just filled. Use room temperature water.
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    Fill a plastic bag or a canning jar two-thirds full of rich compost. Wet the soil so that it is moist, but not overly wet.
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    Place the seed or seeds inside the compost and seal the plastic bag or jar. Shake the container so that the seed moves deeper into the loose soil.
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    Turn your refrigerator to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius). Place the jar or bag in the refrigerator to start the stratification process. This cool, sprouting process germinates the seeds so that they can be planted and grown into a tree.

Part 3
Planting the Seed

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    Choose a permanent place in your yard to plant your plum trees. It is recommended that you plant at least two trees so that cross-pollinating varieties will come to fruit.
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    Pick a place that can be frost protected. Choose a slightly sheltered place that you can mulch and cover to avoid frost—a killer of young plum trees. It will need to be in full sun.
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    Bring in plenty of well-drained soil and compost before you plant. Adding soil will also help it drain better.
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    Opt to plant in a large pot and transplant later of if you are unsure where to plant the tree. It should be a deep pot with drainage holes.
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    Remove the seed from the jar or bag once healthy, white roots form. Take care not to break these roots when transplanting.
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    Dig a small hole that is a few inches deeper than the roots. Create a small mound of soil in the center. Place the seed atop it and spread the roots around the mound.
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    Cover the planted seed with soil. Space your trees about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.6m) apart.[3]
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    Water the space and protect it well. Water deeply before the ground dries out. Your plum tree should start bearing fruit in three to five years.

Tips

  • Some varieties of plums don’t need to be planted in groups of two or more, because they don’t require cross-pollination. Do your research about the type of plum you want to plant in order to find out if you need to plant a few trees at a time.

Things You'll Need

  • Local, ripe plums
  • Glass of water
  • Nutcracker
  • Compost
  • Plastic bag/Sealable jar
  • Water
  • Refrigerator
  • Soil
  • Spade
  • Deep, well-drained pot

Article Info

Categories: Farming | Growing Fruit