Bootstrap Slider


No announcement yet.

Growing non-hybrid fruit tree's - from seed

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Growing non-hybrid fruit tree's - from seed

    I'm not that keen on growing hybridised fruit - i want traditional or wild varieties.

    Sure, hybridised fruits are sweeter, less seeds, or less prone to attack.
    But I've read many times that the original, wild varieties are generally richer in vitamins & minerals etc.

    Also, tree's grown from seed generally produce more nutritious fruit, so i've read.

    But where can one source these wild strains of seed?

    Sourcing Heirloom Vege's is easy, but heilroom fruit tree seed is rare!

    Does anybody know of a good book on growing from seed & which varieties to choose, or heilroom seed suppliers?

    Coastal 2.5 acres Subtropical Food Forest - Coffs Harbour, NSW
    Visitors welcomed & encouraged

  • #2
    Hi Paul,
    The rootstocks that are used to graft our modern fruit trees are heirloom or original species. They are used for their superior hardiness or disease resistance. The grafts are added for their superior fruit. A lot of the wild. or old type fruits had undesirable characteristics. You might be somewhat disappointed after biting into a Citreon, which is one of the rootstocks used for oranges. Just one example. Personally, I'd just eat more of our currently available yummy fruits.
    Jackie K


    • #3
      Planting seeds of anything is pretty 'hit and miss'. You do not necessarily get the apple you want. You may get any sort of result. When you have to wait 4 years or so with a grafted tree, a seedling could take ten for a undesireable result.

      It is one area that seems best to follow modern practise. There are producers developing appealing strains of 'old fashioned' fruit trees.

      Try this


      • #4
        I have started several trees from seeds, apples, avocadoes, apricots, and one of the issues is that you may not know just which one you've started, and will you have a pollinator for it? Blooming times are crucial. Asian pears need another Asian pear pollinator (not the same kind), and not just any old pear.

        I love to do heirloom fruits, and they were growing on their own roots for centuries before hybridization came along. I think it's worth trying, as long as you know which seeds you've got, and if you've got enough chill hours to produce fruit, the correct pollinators, and soil that is not too wet, not too sandy. Plant some hybrids for a reliable crop, and do a few heirlooms on the side. Trees are a great investment, and always worth whatever room and effort you've got for them.

        There are lots of 100-year-old orchards where I am in the mountains and rural areas, and if you can find old orchards (even 50 years is old enough) and get those seeds, you know they will do well in your area, someone probably knows just which ones they are, and they are a good bet
        "Life flows on within you and without you"...George Harrison
        Coastal California, USA, Mediterranean climate - no summer rain, a little frost mid-winter


        • #5
          fruit trees

          Hi Paul,

          Quite a few fruit trees are only edible because of weird genetic mutations and permutations that we then clone. Some examples are:

          Apples. Plant an apple seed and you will most likely get an apples known as 'spitters', good for cider. not good for eating.

          Almonds. Only edible due to mutation. don't plant seed.

          Citrus. It it's wild state is sour and seedy. Most crosses will end up like this (except for likely ones like meyer lemons which is an orange / lemon cross). On the other hand I think citrus has some unfertilized seeds which are clones of their parent, anyone know ?

          Hope this helps.




          • #6
            I think there is some missunderstanding: there are pretty much apple varieties which are considered as heirlooms, all grafted. Apples, Stonefruit ect. are since early times grafted. In Germany we had thousands of different apple varieties before the european Union and their sometimes weird burocracy.
            On the other hand there are some fruits you can easily grow from seed, but that are more tropical species. For example tamarillo, papya etc.

            'There are other fruit trees which come reasonably true to type you can plant from seed that are magos and as far as I know some lemons and avocados. The disadvantage of growing from seed with this trees is that they need twice the time to fruit (an in all these years you will buy your fruit)

            Some trees can be propagated by cuttings etc.

            Most of the vegetables you eat are breeded varieties and they have little resemblance to their ancestors.

            Breeding vegetables and developping fruit trees is a cultural heritage and you can conserve it buying grafted heirloom varieties (or graft yourself)


            • #7
              Paul, here's a couple of good sites for heirloom seeds:



              Scroll down a bit, there are good links:

     ... links.html

              It is faster to graft an heirloom than start from seed, so that is one step that is probably worth taking
              "Life flows on within you and without you"...George Harrison
              Coastal California, USA, Mediterranean climate - no summer rain, a little frost mid-winter


              • #8
                I agree that there are two issues here: heirloom, and grafted vs seed.

                Just wanted to say that some fruit does do ok self seeding. I have plums and apples locally that do this. The fruit is smaller than 'bred' fruit, and is typically not as sweet. But it's free, and I'm kind of partial to feral food. And in terms of powerdown, I'm interested in my tastes changing to accomodate wild food more. The feral fruit is good when dried but again it's not intensely sweet like commercial dried fruit. But I think that degree of sweetness is a modern and learned thing.

                Also, I don't have the energy or space to establish a good heirloom orchard at the moment, so I appreciate the local feral trees.

                So if you have the room (in addition say to a grafted heirloom orchard), you could find the fruit trees local to you that you can harvest seed from, or even seedlings.

                I agree that heirloom varieties are more nutritious. There is research to back this up too.

                A question about grafting. Is it still faster than seed if you have to grow your own rootstock?


                • #9
                  Sweetpea, you discussed Asian Pears and I suppose these are the things we call 'Nashi'. Very watery, plain tasting sort of a cross between an apple and a pear. I have three 'Nashi' trees that are all the same variety and while they do pollinate and bear fruit they are not really very productive. I have blamed the frost for getting at the blossoms but perhaps I do need another variety to boost pollination. Thanks for the 'heads-up'. :wink:


                  • #10
                    Plumtree, my Asian pears are Yoinashi and Kikusui, so they pollinate each other. They are very sweet and nice. But I had to get the two kinds so they would pollinate each other.

                    All my pear trees are tough, unfussy trees. I have been impressed. I have one I planted long ago that is far away from my other trees, about 800 feet, and the deer don't eat it, and it's tapped into some underground water source because I don't water it, and it's fine. They make the best tarts!
                    "Life flows on within you and without you"...George Harrison
                    Coastal California, USA, Mediterranean climate - no summer rain, a little frost mid-winter


                    • #11
                      thankyou all for your diverse thoughts, I really really appreciate it.

                      Due to the lack of information out there, to the select few who care about this, I've decided to write an article - focusing on which varieties are 'close to heirloom' but still good tasting - as thats the important thing.

                      Essentially, i just want to compile a list that details which 'commercial hybrids' to avoid - as we're not that interested in long storage life, unifrom ripening etc.

                      quote: "A question about grafting. Is it still faster than seed if you have to grow your own rootstock?"

                      I'm not qualified to answer this (being a mere 21 yrs old), but i'm sure someone will soon.
                      Anyhow, I'm pretty sure that yes, it is still faster, but it got me thinking that the root system will still be immature & hence the first few years of fruit may be of marginal quality, or just low yeild.
                      but anway, its better than no fruit.

                      I thinks its obvious to always plant a grafted orchard, in addition to a seedling orchard.

                      I've now got little concerns of grafting (in terms of nutrient rich fruit), however, I can see that cutting grown tree's - which would not develop a tap root, would be somewhat limited to sucking up the deep down minerals, to put into fruit.
                      Hence, I'll avoid cutting grown food tree's - where practical.

                      So, over the next few months, i'll be contacting as many people as possible (DPI of various states, Seed savers, growers from the various rare fruit societies etc.) - to help answer many of my questions & compile a rather comprehensive list of good tasting, 'non-commercial-hybrid' varieties.
                      I'll also be putting together a another list (for my own propagation purposes) of which varieties can be grown from seed & which rootstock to use.

                      When i finnally finish, I'll ask old Geoff L, to pop the articles up on the site for all to use... some months away.

                      Thanks again for your input & keep it coming!

                      For our earth,
                      over enthusiastic food plant collector & naturopathic student
                      Coastal 2.5 acres Subtropical Food Forest - Coffs Harbour, NSW
                      Visitors welcomed & encouraged


                      • #12
                        Just grew a few apples- dead easy from seed.
                        Also some lemons -very slow.
                        I got about a 1,000 capsicum seedlings from a few capsicum.
                        Given the new discoveries about plant epigenetic/natural selection and our fast changing climate, growing fruit from seeds is important (and cheap).
                        I was saddened to see the beautiful big oranges I just purchased have no seed. Plant eunuchs- seems wrong somehow.
                        "You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that"
                        Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
                        "Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001


                        • #13
                          Do plant seeds
                          not enough people do

                          heres a list of planst that produce trees that are just fine from seed that ive seen or grown

                          Persimmon, american
                          Japanese persimmon
                          Passionfruit - all types
                          Star apple
                          Star fruit
                          Black sapote
                          Custard apple
                          Cherry plum
                          Mexican limes
                          Finger limes
                          Oranges (long thorny juvenile phase)
                          Bush lemon
                          Bushnut macadamia
                          Heartnut walnut
                          Some mangos (bowen /kensington pride is one)
                          Mangosteen (apomictic)
                          Capulin cherry

                          Avos sometime do ok. buy a couple grafted types, but if you have the whole hectare then plant some seedlings up the back.
                          its the only way to make new varieties

                          apples and pears are fine too. The true value of these is not as desert fruits, thats just a modern invention
                          they are really more valuable as cooking fruits for pies, for making alcohol (Cider and perry), vinegars and fattening pigs

                          we need more seedling apples and avos as the genepool is getting narrowed, nay whittled down!
                          apples are already weak trees, and they shouldnt be. Pears have been less overbred and are tougher still

                          if you get a really bad but very healthy pear or apple you can always topwork it with improved varieties. very easy


                          • #14
                            You say you want to avoid hybrids, but growing from seed is the way to get hybrids. Unless you're taking an active role in fertilisation, you don't really know which tree pollinated which, so you don't know whether your seed is going to grow "true" or be a hybrid until it fruits (several years away). For example, if you grow an orange next to a lemon and then plant seeds from both, you're going to get some orange trees, some lemon trees, and some that are like meyer lemons.

                            The orange itself is a hybrid (see, as is the grapefruit (

                            I think what you really want to do is plant some rootstock trees, and then locate the specific heirloom fruit trees you want to grow. Then take cuttings and graft them onto your rootstock.
                   - our journey towards sustainability


                            • #15
                              theres three genetic systems you need to know about

                              Apomixis - thats where the seed is formed from the mothers own cells. No sex involved
                              SE asian mangos, limes, mangosteen and a number of other crops do this. Its a good way to get rid of viruses
                              if one seed pops up multiple seedlings theres a good chance its apomictic! but they dont always do this

                              Homozygous - this means theres a fairly common pairs of genes in the genome. planst will tend to breed true with little variation if they self pollinate or pollinate another of the same population. Some peaches are like this, loquats seem to breed true too. I read pommelo is like this - so im giving it a go

                              Heterzygous - this means theres very different sets of paired genes in the genome, so when they mix up with sex they end up segregation into many new combinations and therefore expressed forms
                              Apples, durians, and numerous other fruits

                              its important to keep trialling seeds, not at the expense of food security mind you
                              id def reccomend getting the best trees you can afford for your homegarden
                              or if you were designing somebody elses home garden
                              but once you go extensive you have to recall that modern and heritage varieties werent bred for extensive food forest systems. they yiled highly under open highly managed systems
                              the way we make our food forests is not like orchards of yore..
                              its like the original apple and apricot forests of afghanistan!
                              so we need to pull those hardy genes back out. we need bug , humidity and shade tolerant apples
                              and apricots with deep deep taproots, unlike the fibrous feeder roots suited to intensive irrigated horticulture