Germinating Cherry Trees from Seeds

Eating fresh cherries is one of the joys of summer, and if you love cherries, you may be wondering about germinate cherry seeds and growing your own crop of this delicious fruit. While you can sprout cherry seeds, the tree that grows won’t be the same as the cherry it came from. Nonetheless, it can be fun and interesting to germinate a cherry pit and watch it grow.


The Process for Germinating Cherry Seeds

Cherry seeds need a period of cold dormancy in order to germinate, so the first thing to do when sprouting a cherry seed is to give it this necessary cold treatment called cold stratification.

Cold stratification for cherry seeds needs to last between 4 and 14 weeks, depending on the variety, at a temperature of 32°° to 45°F (0° to 7.2°C). You can store cherry seeds for later stratification by cleaning and drying them and then storing them in a paper bag in a cool, dark place.

To cold stratify your cherry seeds:

  • Start by cleaning off all the flesh from the seeds by washing them and scraping them with your fingers.
  • Put a layer of moistened peat moss or shredded paper towels in a container.
  • Spread the cherry seeds out on top of the peat moss or paper towels.
  • Add another layer of peat moss or paper towels over the seeds to cover them.
  • Cover the container with a lid with air holes in it.
  • Place the container in the refrigerator and periodically check that the peat moss or paper towels stay moist.

Reasons for Germinating Cherry Seeds

Sprouting cherry seeds and watching them grow is fun and educational, but the tree which develops from the seed will be different than the fruit it came from.

Cherry trees and many other fruit trees are not propagated from seed. The reason is that the seeds grow from a fertilized flower which is pollinated by separate male and female flower parts, creating a new genetic profile in the seed, differing from either of the two parents.

In order to grow a cherry tree which is the same as its parent, a section of a branch is cut and grafted to a rootstock in a process called vegetative propagation.

Nonetheless, if you germinate a cherry seed, plant it, and care for the tree, it will grow and might be an attractive landscape tree. If it does bear fruit, it probably won’t be good for people to eat, but birds and other wildlife may enjoy the treat.