I read on this website that:

Store the jar of cherry seeds in your refrigerator for 8 to 12 weeks. Cherry seeds, and trees, require a period of cold, usually 90 to 150 days each winter.

The article concludes with planting the seeds after the requisite 12 weeks:

Leave the cherry seeds in the refrigerator until the last hard frost of spring has occurred. Plant the cherry seeds [...]

Unfortunately, my seeds are now dry, so 12 weeks will put me in early October; 150 days will put me in November.

Will these seeds survive, dry, for an additional 5-6 months? Should I simply hold them dry (not refrigerated) until I'm 12 weeks from the last frost (eg. mid-Feb)?

  • What is your average winter temperature where you are? Or which USDA zone are you classed as?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 4, 2014 at 11:53
  • @Bamboo I'm in USDA Zone 5(a). Not sure about average winter temperatures, but the peaks are around -30 (winter) and +30 (summer).
    – ashes999
    Jul 4, 2014 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Ah good, reliably low winter temperatures. There's another way to do it - find a container you can punch holes in the top of and fill it with sand and peat, or just sand if that's all you've got (silver or horticultural sand, preferably), moisten if it needs it,you want it nice and damp but not sodden, mix in the cherry stones. You could use a plastic bag, but leave the top slightly open. Now put those in your fridge (temperature must be below 6 deg C) and leave them there for eight weeks. In the meantime, prepare an area outside where you're going to plant them - you're using it as a sort of germination bed, the intention is to move the trees once they've got at least 3 sets of leaves, and you need to space the cherry stones 6 inches apart and half an inch deep. If your weather is still warm after eight weeks, leave them in the fridge for longer, until daytime temperatures aren't higher 8-10 deg C, - then plant your cherry stones in the prepared area. The continuing cold of winter will complete the stratification process, and they should then germinate next spring.

I guess you already know you won't know what cherries you'll get, and that they won't fruit for years.

  • So to clarify, you're saying I should just do the fridge thing but plant them and let them overwinter once it's 8-10C outside. Yes, I know that I won't get cherries for a few years.
    – ashes999
    Jul 4, 2014 at 19:02
  • @Ashes Yep, that's what I'm saying - if you lived somewhere temperate, it's less likely to succeed, but with your winter temperatures, it'll be fine.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 5, 2014 at 9:46
  • @Ashes: the only thing I'm slightly concerned about is you let the cherry stones dry - normally, with this method, you just pick them out of the cherry, scrape off everything you can, and pop them in the peat/sand mix, but I reckon it'll still work. Not all will germinate anyway, that's to be expected.
    – Bamboo
    Jul 5, 2014 at 10:00
  • I can restart with non-dried cherry seeds if necessary. I don't have peat/sand handy, though.
    – ashes999
    Jul 5, 2014 at 13:27
  • get some peat/sand and try this method with both fresher pips and dried ones, if you've room
    – Bamboo
    Jul 5, 2014 at 13:59

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