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Can I grow chestnuts or hazelnuts indoors?
If yes, how?
If not, how can I grow them outdoors?

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I doubt it, trees those are big, and need lots of sun, and need seasons to produce flowers and therefore nuts –  Grady Player Jun 24 '12 at 16:58
    
But you could certainly grow the tree indoors, growing deciduous trees as house plants isn't for the faint hearted. –  Grady Player Jun 24 '12 at 16:59
    
I will try them in the garden then, since I want the trees for the edible nuts. <br>Great answer, thank you ! –  user1358 Jun 26 '12 at 8:38
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1 Answer 1

Both these trees are from temperate climates and need a dormancy period which is brought on by decreasing day length and, sometimes, colder temperatures. American chestnuts have been subject to a fatal blight for many years so the European varieties such as the horsechestnut are more suitable. As @Grady Player notes chestnuts are big trees with mature heights up to 25 meters:

Horse chestnut has leaves that can approach 1m across and has long internodes so it is very difficult to produce anything that works well as a bonsai.

Hazelnuts or Corylus are a better subject for growing indoors as a bonsai as they will tolerate a small pot size with reduction in foliage size and have an interesting flower called a catkin.

  • both are difficult to grow as full size trees indoors without a tall climate controlled greenhouse
  • Hazelnuts can be grown as bonsai but will still need a dormant period in the winter.
  • neither are suitable for nut production indoors

Here's how to grow a hazelnut from seed

  • Collect nuts from the trees rather than from the ground when they begin to turn brown.
  • Use the flotation test to see if the seed is viable.
  • Hazelnut seeds have a hard seed coat, internal dormancy and irregular germination with increasing length of storage. To overcome this dormancy, the following procedure is followed for C. avellana in Oregon.
    • Half-brown nuts are harvested in August and are refrigerated.
    • In late November, the nuts are soaked for two to four days in water then stratified in moist vermiculite at 4 degrees C for three to five months.
    • After three months the seeds are warmed for 5 days and those with visible root tips are planted in flats in the greenhouse.
    • Ungerminated seeds receive further stratification. Seedlings are transplanted after they reach 25 cm.

And to propagate a chestnut or horse chestnut:

  • Obtain healthy chestnuts in the fall from a surviving mature tree over 10 years old.
  • Store them in slightly damp peat moss, place them in the refrigerator and plant them in March or April. Germination rates often exceed ninety percent.
  • Choose a location with full sunlight and slightly dry, well-drained soil.
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At the end of the 3rd paragraph: they'll have an interesting what? –  Niall C. Jun 25 '12 at 14:09
    
Ooops, my bad, how could I forget catkins? –  kevinsky Jun 25 '12 at 14:37
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