Apricot is a refreshing snack on a hot sunny afternoon. While munching the tasty delicacy, did you ever wonder how to grow an apricot from seed? The answer is simple! Read on our guide, and we'll teach you how to plant the seeds, so they grow into an apricot tree afterward.
Growing apricot from seed takes patience and basic knowledge in arbor maintenance. But don't worry. We'll also delve into how to prune apricot trees. It takes some years to harvest your home-grown fruit, but trust us, growing your own tree is the most rewarding thing.
How to Grow Apricot from Seed Step-by-Step
Apricot, also called chabacano fruit, that is picked from trees, needs to be temperature-manipulated to wake them up. To grow apricot from seeds, these are the steps:
- Choose the apricot tree varieties. Select those with excellent fruit quality and disease resistance. However, you may skip this part if you have just picked one from the supermarket.
- Extract seed from the pit. Apricots have pits that house the seed kernel. Crack it open using a nutcracker or a light hammer blow will do.
- Refrigerate the seed. Wrap it with wet tissue paper and place it inside the bottle. This step, called stratification, is important to let germination kick start.
- Planting apricot. As soon as it sprouts, about 4-6 weeks after, we suggest temporarily planting it in a pot.
- General tree maintenance. Where do apricots grow ideally? They grow outdoors in full sun, in climates with cold winter to induce dormancy and warm summers. Place it temporarily inside the house or in partial shade and water it accordingly. Transplant outdoors when a substantial leaf number emerges.
How to Plant Apricot Seeds
What is an apricot in the first place? It is a fruit tree that belongs to the family of stone fruits, characterized by hard pits inside its soft fleshy fruit. Inside the stones are kernels, or the seeds you wanted to plant. Commercial farms maintain tree size as a bush for easy harvesting.
When do apricots bloom? They bloom in spring from February to March. If planted from a seed, they can take longer than 3-6 years but largely depend on the tree.
Now that you've got a sprouted seed, what's next? Of course, the planting. We suggest planting it in a pot rather than directly outside as the sprouted seeds might abort. Any soil will do as long as it is fast draining and doesn't hold moisture for too long. It is best to put it in partial shade, under tall plants on the balcony, or a window with morning or afternoon sunshine. Wait for a couple of months until about 4-6 leaves have emerged. This means that it can tolerate outdoors better than as a sapling.
Planting apricot trees from small saplings is very simple. You will need to choose a sunny location and a place not waterlogged. Digging a deep trench around the site improves the drainage. Adding sand and organic material to the ground also helps. Plant the apricot at the same deepness as the stem level to avoid rotting.
How to Prune Apricot Trees
There are only a few considerations on how to prune an apricot tree. Prune apricots in spring after the flowers have withered to maintain the tree size. Cut the twigs and branches that are sickly, thin, and dead. Trim also the mummified fruits, flowers, and unproductive branches. Dispose of cuttings in the trash and not beside the plant.
Growing apricot trees is not complicated. The ideal shape of the tree plant should be a wine glass, so all the branches receive equal sunlight. Cut the top branches to expose the side ones, allowing good air circulation that is healthy for the tree.
Apricot Tree Varieties
Many varieties are available in the market that will depend on your choice. Fruit and tree characteristics are essential, and taller varieties, for example, might need apricot tree pruning. Here are some apricot varieties that you may need to consider choosing:
Gold Kist Apricot: This is an early blooming tree characterized by its large orange-tinged fruit. Ideal for climates with mild winters.
Moorpark Apricot: The fruits are golden yellow, freestone, and fine-textured that can be harvested in mid-to-late summer. Apricot tree planting to harvesting takes 2-3 years. Chill hours take longer than Gold Kist, about 600-700. This is the cold period needed for bud stimulation.
Blenheim Apricot: Relatively petite variety, about 1-2 inches (3-5 cm), with golden-yellow fruit blushed with red, best enjoyed as a table fruit. The harvest season is from late spring to early summer.
Apricot Tree Care Tips
Now that you have learned how to grow an apricot tree from a seed and pruning apricot trees rules, this section covers its general care:
Fertilizer. The organic compost and mulch provide a source of nutrients during the first 2 years of the tree. However, apply a complete fertilizer (10-15-10) specific to the fruit when it starts blooming. About 1.4 kg (3 pounds) is needed per tree.
Staking. Reinforce the tree with a tree stake in its early growth stage to avoid root and stem damage from pets or strong winds.
Pest and Diseases. The fruit brown rot is the most common disease. Apply Chlorothanlonil fungicide just before they bloom. However, thinning the fruit, leaving about 1-2 per cluster, is ideal for reducing the disease occurrence. Thinning also makes the flavor richer.
Where do apricots grow?
Apricots grow in climates with cold winters enough to initiate dormancy and mild summers that are not too hot. They thrive in USDA hardiness zones five through nine.
What is an apricot?
An apricot is a sub-tropical fruit tree with a stone-hard core under its fleshy fruit. Apricots belong to several species in the genus Prunus, and their fruits resemble small peaches.
When do apricot trees bloom?
Apricot trees bloom in spring, from late February to March, after undergoing dormancy in winter. The bloom requires dry weather to end up producing fruit. Once an apricot tree blooms, it takes between 100 and 120 days for the fruit to get ripe.