I've already attempted growing almonds in my usual "just plant and water" way which resulted in a large pot of moldy soil and no almonds after a month, whereas all my previous attempts with seeds from other types of plants were consistently successful, and there were no mold problems whatsoever, even though they've all been growing in the same soil.

Internet says US has a problem with almond seeds where they're all pasteurized, even if labeled "raw", so it's hard to find truly raw seeds there, but I'm in Europe, so I guess it shouldn't be a concern.

Various sites list methods where seeds need to be soaked in water or damp cloth for several weeks or months and kept in the fridge. Some sites say the fridge stage only needs to last from 8 to 24 hours. Youtube videos show storing seeds in a jar filled with water, stored in a kitchen shelf behind closed doors (no light). I'm not sure but I think this has to do with the fact that most people don't try to grow almonds, but eat them instead, and this method gets into the search results and related articles about growing them, so this part is unclear.

Mold has been a big problem in my previous attempt, and various articles say that it's to be expected, but there is not enough information on how to prevent or remove mold from the seeds without harming them and being effective at the same time.

So my questions here are:

  • What are the steps for germinating the raw almond seeds?
  • How long to soak them in the water?
  • At what temperature (is the fridge necessary)?
  • Is sunlight going to be a problem?
  • How to avoid/remove mold?
  • How can I tell that it's time to plant a seed?

Update on what happened some years ago when I finally found some raw almonds from a nut cart at a market:

I planted about 100 of them, only 3 sprouted, and the rest got as moldy as possible and rotted into mush. Then 2 of the 3 stopped growing and got moldy, and the only good one has been growing extremely slowly, unlike most of my other house plants (chili peppers, mini cherry tomatoes, all the herbs and salads, and grain). I don't know if it's hungry for sunlight or what, but it's only green from spring until the dim days start in mid-autumn. Most of my other plants seem to be ever-green or grow well enough starting in any season. Maybe it's just a needy plant and my "whatever grows - grows, whatever dies - dies" approach is not agreeable enough for home pot-grown almonds.

  • Just an aside, if the look of the pits and "fruits" weren't a giveaway, peaches and almonds are closely related, and grafting branches between the two to create "mixed" trees is apparently a very successful endeavor. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 21:25
  • I'm only interested in growing from seeds. I don't have any access to live almond trees or saplings. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 23:02
  • That's why it was an aside, it was more of "related trivia" than directly responsive to your question. If you get good advice, you'd certainly have access to trees and saplings in the future. :) Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 23:04

3 Answers 3


If you live in an area where almond trees will grow, get some fresh almonds in the fall (ideally right from an orchard, unprocessed, even still in the fruit) and bury them.

I would guess that as usual, you will do better on the tree making almonds if you purchase a grafted named/selected variety or graft one of those onto your seedlings, and you might well get a better tree using a different rootstock than seedling almond (rootstocks have also been named/selected.)

For trying the experiment, in a suitable region, sticking it in dirt outside when the fruit is ripe (and letting it pass through winter, to sprout in spring) is what all the refrigeration, etc. is trying to mimic. Planting outside is easier than mimicking that inside. For growing almonds this is probably as much of a fools errand as planting apple seeds, and obtaining a known good rootstock and scion of a good variety will offer much better return on your time and effort.

In dirt meaning in the ground. If you want it in a pot, either transfer after it sprouts, or bury the pot in the ground (also known as "plunging" a pot.)

  • 3
    I think part of the confusion is also about what is the "seed" of almond: the complete seed, or only the edible inner part. Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 16:55

For anyone stumbling across this years later: The two words you are thinking of is "cold stratification".

  • Soak overnight,
  • Refrigerate for about 3 months,
  • Plant,
  • Enjoy

How interesting! Almonds aren't pasteurized they are radiated. You say you just plant and water and in a month you've got a pot of moldy slimy wet soil and NO ALMONDS? You must know that almonds come from a tree, yes? A bigger investment I am sure.

Do you have houseplants? Have you ever grown vegetables? What soil are you using? (garden soil is a huge no-no to use in pots). Ecnerwal knows his way around the orchard. Bug him about how to germinate almond seeds (how to choose viable seed) and depending on whether you plan to transplant in the garden or keep in a pot. Forget getting almonds without a mature tree, planted and established in the garden. Fertilized correctly with the proper formulation of fertilizer. Different needs for the tree in the garden and the tree in a pot. Light...growing indoors, forget about getting almonds from a plant in a pot unless you have an open atrium or serious grow lights. Just because you failed a few times, just means there is something you need to know that you don't know that is causing you to fail. Whew! You can do this. Expect a bit more of a learning curve. Growing plants isn't that tough but we aren't taught about plants growing up or in our schools. Anyone who wasn't taught by family or University and who hasn't slaved away in soil to grow something... just would never be successful first time out. It isn't something we are born to know much less understand unless we go back and get the book learning down pat and spend time following 'recipes' making mistakes. So very worth the effort and mistakes.

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