Add some fresh fruit to your homestead or garden the frugal way – by growing these fruit trees from seed!
When we think of growing fruit trees, we usually think of buying saplings at a nursery and popping them in the ground – but if you want to add fruit trees to your homestead at a lower cost, and you have some time, you may want to try starting fruit trees from seed. In the past, most families who planted fruit trees at home did so from seed. In fact, it has only been within the past century that planting young trees obtained from a nursery or garden store has become commonplace.
Interestingly enough, some trees, when planted from seed, will actually produce fruit almost as soon as those grown from purchased saplings! But even if they take a little longer, you’ll still have fruit starting within a few years for most varieties.
Planting fruit trees from seed can be fun and rewarding, and even if your seeds don’t come up, if you plant them from fruit that you ate, they basically cost you nothing! I’ve listed 9 popular fruits below for a range of climate conditions – some for tropical regions, and others for more Northern climates.
Here’s how long it takes for these fruit trees to bear fruit when planted from seed – plus a few planting tips (see the video below for more suggestions):
6–10 years to bear from seed. Pop seeds in a bag of moist soil in the fridge and watch for roots to form, then plant the sprouted seeds.
5–13 years, but there are exceptions where they’ve produced earlier. Planting directly in the soil works better than starting them in water.
Plant fresh seeds—do not allow them to dry for very long as the embryos inside will die.
Time for citrus to produce fruit from seed:
Key lime: 3–6 years
Calamondin: 3–6 years
Lemon: 3–6 years
Orange: 6–15 years
Grapefruit: 6–15 years
5–6 years for most improved mangoes. Take embryo out of the pit and don’t let it dry out. Plant in soil and wait! They also come up well from compost piles.
Papaya takes about 1 year to produce fruit from seed. I plant fresh seeds right out of the fruit, then thin as needed.
#6. PawPaw (Asimina triloba)
4–8 years. Seeds must be taken from fresh fruit and not allowed to dry out. Put them in pots of soil outside through winter weather to stratify or put them in moist potting soil in the fridge for a few months, then plant in the spring. Germination takes a couple of months.
Can produce in as little as 18 months. Stratify in moist potting soil in the fridge, then plant when roots start forming.
Likely 3–5 years for fruit production. Treat the same as peaches.
Scrub off the pulp, dry the seeds on a paper towel, then plant. They say it takes 4–5 years to produce from seed, but I had a dwarf pomegranate produce from seed in just a couple of years.