Soak the cherry seeds in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Spread the seeds out on a paper towel in a warm area and let them dry for three to five days, then, transfer the dry pits to a plastic container, labeled and fitted with a tight lid. Store the pits in the refrigerator for 10 weeks.
Why are you doing this? Cherries need to go through a cold or stratification period that normally occurs naturally during the winter, prior to germination in the spring. Refrigerating the pits is artificially mimicking this process. Okay, seed planting of cherry trees is now ready to commence.
Once the ten weeks have passed, remove the seeds and allow them to come to room temperature. You are now ready for planting the cherry seeds. Put two to three pits into a small container filled with planting medium and water the seeds in. Keep the soil moist.
When the cherry seedlings are 2 inches tall, thin them, removing the weakest plants, leaving the sturdiest seedling in the pot. Keep the seedling in a sunny area indoors until all danger of frost has passed for your region, and then transplant outside.
Seed Planting Cherry Trees
Growing cherry trees from seed can also be attempted directly in the garden. In this method, you are skipping the refrigeration and letting the seeds go through a natural stratification process through the winter.
In the fall, gather the dried cherry pits and plant them outside. Plant a few since some may not germinate. Set the seeds 2 inches deep and one foot apart. Mark the planting sites.
In the spring, the pits will sprout. Wait until the seedlings are 8-12 inches in height and then transplant them to their permanent site in the garden. Mulch well around the transplanted seedlings to retard weeds and aid in water retention.