Can I grow chestnut or hazelnut trees indoors?

If yes, how? If not, how can I grow them outdoors?

  • 1
    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

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.
  • 1
    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? – kevinskio Jun 25 '12 at 14:37
  • Horse chestnut is not an alternative to chestnut if you want safely edible nuts - some Asian cultivars are resistant to the blight and not poisonous, which horse chestnut is. novascotia.ca/museum/poison/?section=species&id=64 Depending what's around you it may be possible to grow American Chestnut - there are blight-free (not resistant, just not exposed) stands that have been found, and if there's no blight in an area you may have success. Seedlings have become available in recent years, and there's also been work on developing blight resistance, but I don't know how well that's gone. – Ecnerwal Nov 26 '16 at 3:06

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