How to Grow a Plum Tree from a Pit

By: Contributors  | 
An image showing a plum tree.
Many plums come from hybrid trees, and a plum tree can be grown from a pit. Mike Powles / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • You can grow a plum tree from a pit, but the fruit quality and plant characteristics may vary since many plums are from hybrid trees.
  • To start, place the pit in water to test its viability (it should sink), then store it in a refrigerator within moist compost or peat moss for 6 to 8 weeks until it sprouts.
  • Once it has sprouted, plant the pit in soil mixed with compost and protect it with hardware cloth to prevent animals from digging it up. Transplant the sapling after a year if necessary.

Although you can grow a plum tree from a pit, be aware that many plums come from hybrid trees. A tree that grows from such a pit may not grow fruit, and even if it does, the fruit may not have the same quality and taste as the plum whose pit you planted [source: Do It Yourself].

Bearing this in mind, here's what you'll need to grow a plum tree from a pit:


  • A plum pit of the desired variety (a self-fertilizing type is best)
  • Zip-lock bag
  • Compost or peat moss
  • Hardware cloth

Let's go grow a plum tree:

  1. Place the pit in a bucket of water and see if it stays afloat or sinks. If it floats, the pit is no good and shouldn't be planted. If it sinks, it should grow.
  2. Dry the pit thoroughly and put it in a zip-lock bag with some compost or peat moss.
  3. Place the bag in the refrigerator and maintain the pit's temperature at around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) for six to eight weeks.
  4. Check the pit frequently after about five weeks. When it cracks and sprouts, remove it from the refrigerator.
  5. Prepare the soil for planting by combining two parts soil with one part compost. Try to do this about a week before the pit is ready. If it hasn't started sprouting by the fifth week, start preparing the soil then.
  6. Plant the pit 4-inches (101.6-millimeters) deep in the soil.
  7. Place a hardware cloth over the area until the sprout breaks through the surface. This will keep animals from digging up the pit
  8. Transplant the sapling after a year, if necessary, to the place where you want it to grow permanently. Spring is the best time for transplanting [source: Garden Guides].


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a plum tree to start bearing fruit?
Plum trees grown from pits can take anywhere from 6 to 10 years to bear fruit, depending on the variety and growing conditions.
What should I do if my plum pit doesn’t sprout after the chilling period?
If the pit doesn’t sprout after the initial chilling period in the refrigerator, it may not be viable. It’s recommended to start with a new pit and ensure it is from a healthy fruit.