As you finish chowing down on a tasty piece of fruit or veg, you may wonder about whether the seeds or core could be used again to grow your own plant from it. Well in many cases you can! This is my guide to growing from pips and stones.
Of course, some of the things we eat are not grown in the British climate, but some can be grown indoors or can be grown outside during the summer. Others may produce a plant that doesn’t produce fruit, or perhaps not the same fruit, because of how it’s been bred. You may have to do a little reading on the plant you choose, but it is loads of fun to take scraps that were headed for the bin and create a whole new plant from them. And, of course, if you do grow a productive plant then you can save lots of money down the road!
Do remember, patience is a virtue when it comes to growing pips. It can take some time to get right, and then a while for them to grow enough to start producing fruits.
Here are my tips and ways to grow different fruits and veg from pips and stones.
Collect pips and stones from fresh fruit and making sure you remove any flesh that is left on the stone.
Prepare where you will put the plants. They grow much better in pots than anything else, and will need to be on a bright windowsill, in a warm room once they have germinated. They can go outside, or in a greenhouse, in the hotter summer months but will definitely need to be inside from around September to May.
How to grow avocados from a stone
Avocado plants are great to grow and who can resist those delicious fruits. Because the stones are grown on top of a cup, this is a great way to show kids the way plants grow and develop as you can fully see the roots.
- Clean up your avocado stone
- Find the bottom and the top – the pointer end is the top and that is the end that will sprout, the bottom is the root end
- The root end needs to be placed in water, but the top must remain out, so get some toothpicks and pierce them around the middle of the stone
- You will need the toothpicks to balance the stone on the rim of a cup full of water, where the bottom end is slightly in the water, and the top pointed out
- After around 4-8 weeks a taproot will appear and you should hopefully have a small sprout at the top of the stone
- Your root must remain submerged in water the whole time. If they dry out, the tree will die
- Once your tree is around 6 inches tall, you can pot the stone in soil. Use multipurpose compost and the top of the stone still needs to stick out.
- Place the pot on a sunny windowsill, and frequently water, the soil needs to remain moist at all times
The plant can go outside when it’s warm, but it’s important to bring inside as soon as the temperature drops. While it’s unlikely your avocado plant will produce fruit, it’s a great plant to grow from a stone, and it’s exciting for kids to learn about plants!
How to grow pomegranates
Pomegranates are quite a good plant to grow as they don’t need high humidity like other exotic fruit plants so grow well in the British climate.
Planted pomegranate seeds are likely to grow into plants that won’t produce fruit but it is a fun plant to grow and they live for years!
- Squeeze the pips out of the juice sac and wash to remove all fruit flesh
- Sow the pips straight away in compost that has already been watered
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag and place in a warm spot
- Remove the bag once the pips have sprouted and put the pot in a bright spot
- Always keep the soil moist.
How to grow citrus fruits
The pips from citrus fruits can grow great plants. Sow several seeds into a pot, if the seeds are fresh they’ll grow into seedlings fairly quickly. They need a warm environment to grow, so will need to be brought inside for most of the year.
- Seeds and pips from over ripe fruit generally work best
- The soil should be of very good quality and moistened when you plant
- Plant the seeds about 2-3cm below the surface of the soil
- Cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a humid environment for the seeds and ensure the soil is always moist. It takes about two to three weeks inside the plastic bag for the seeds to germinate
- Move the seedlings into larger pots when necessary
- Make sure you place the plants in a spot that gets a lot of sunlight
How to grow pumpkins
Pumpkins are a great thing to grow from seed, but they need a lot of room and a lot of sun.
- You want to start by sowing the seeds into pots around April/May time
- Place the pot on a windowsill that receives a lot of sunlight
- Once the seedlings are establish, you can transfer them directly into the ground
- You want a large spot that enable the vines to grow far, but also a spot that is sunny
- Sow seedlings 2-3m apart and water regularly
Once the pumpkins are gully grown, leave them to mature and ripen on the vine for as long as possible.
Once cut, leave the pumpkin exposed to sunlight, or keep in a very warm place for four days. This enables the pumpkin to harden and taste delicious!
Growing plants from rubbish
Before you throw out those kitchen scraps, try to grow them! The tops of carrots and pineapples can be planted and grown quite easily!
How to grow carrot tops
Carrot tops, along with other root crops like turnips grow really well, and quite quickly so present a great opportunity for kids to get involved.
To begin, you’ll need a shallow dish and some cotton balls.
- Add a layer cotton balls to the dish
- Pour a small bit of water over the cotton so its wet, be sure not to completely flood it
- Press the carrot top onto the wet cotton and place the dish in a sunny location
- The cotton needs to be wet throughout the whole growing period, don’t allow it to dry out
Carrot tops grow fairly quickly once they start to sprout, once it’s established, you can plant them in soil
How to grow pineapple tops
The tops of pineapples can be planted and grown again. Remove some of the lower leaves and trim off the outer part of the pineapple top until you see little brown bumps, the root buds. Leave the top to dry for a few days before planting.
- Once dried, plant the top directly into soil up to the base of its leaves. I’d start by planting in a pot so you can move it around.
- At first, choose a bright spot for the pot, but at first, avoid direct light if possible
- Use a good quality soil mix and water thoroughly
- Keep the soil moist until the roots develop, this should take about two months to establish
- Pineapples grow slowly, so be patient and keep the plant away from frosts throughout its life
What plants will you try to growing from pips or stones? Or have you tried any before? I’d love to hear your stories! Just leave a comment below.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK’s leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.
Got a double avocado plant from 1 avocado stone.
I always grow avocado, mango and lemon. But the lemon has not grown well. I do pumpkin, courgettes. I would love to have some aubergine, lady fingers and a veg(bitter) I think it is called bitter lemon….not sure. They grow li vine like grapes.
Iv grown a apple pip.
Iv a apple pip thrived ng well on my window will. Going to plant a lemon pip.
I’ve grown alot of veggies and spices from pips/sprouting scraps; Pumpkins, tomatoes, capsicums, nectarines, peaches, pomegranates, garlic, onion, potato, ginger, watermelon.
I planted 2 satsuma pips and both are growing and doing well .
Should one crack the stones of plums and cherries before planting and when is the best time to sow?