Best Fruit Seeds

Updated October 2020
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Buying guide for best fruit seeds

Fruit is sweet and delicious as is, but it tastes even better plucked fresh from the plant when perfectly ripe and eaten while it's still warm from the sun. Growing fruit from fruit seeds is challenging yet rewarding and is an affordable, if somewhat time-consuming, way of having fresh fruit in abundance.

You will, of course, need to decide what types of fruit you wish to grow, though this will be restricted somewhat by the climate in which you live. You will likely find countless varieties of plants to pick from, some of which are quite novel and unlike anything you could buy in a store. There is even more to think about before buying fruit seeds, such as whether you want F1 or open-pollinated varieties and if you should choose a variety pack of fruit seeds or individual packets.

We're here to help you with these quandaries and more. In addition, we've listed our top five fruit seeds in this buying guide, some of which just might catch your eye.

Many fruit plants are perennial, meaning they only need to be planted once and will keep on producing year after year.

Key considerations

Types of fruit

One of your first decisions should be regarding the types of fruit you wish to grow. Some fruits are easier to grow from seed than others. For example, you can grow strawberries from seed to fruit in a few months, but it takes years to grow an apple tree that produces fruit. In these cases, it may be better to buy live plants or small trees in order to get a harvest sooner. That said, some people love the challenge of growing all kinds of fruit from seed.

Melons, berries, passion fruit, and tomatoes are some of the easiest fruits to grow from seed. Let’s take a look at each.

Melons

Melons are part of the gourd family and grow in a similar way to their squash cousins. They're the perfect fruit to grow from seed since you can plant them in spring and have melons ready to eat by summer or fall. Once you've raised the seedlings and planted them, they're fairly low maintenance, though they grow best in relatively warm climates and in greenhouses.

Strawberries

You can start strawberry seed indoors in late winter to early spring and have them ready for harvest in late spring to early summer. You can also find varieties that keep producing year-round, though they will only give you small fruits. You'll have strawberries to harvest in your first year, but your plants will become more prolific during the second year and onward. If you want to grow berries from seed, strawberries are the quickest and easiest option.

Other berries

Other berries are slower to grow than strawberries, as these plants are shrubby rather than tender and take longer to establish. They're still fairly simple to grow from seed, however, and you can plant them in containers or directly into beds. Most berries, including blueberries and raspberries, will be ready to harvest in their second growing season. It's worth noting that they thrive in reasonably cool, but not frigid, climates.

Passion fruit

Passion fruit comes from a fast-growing vine that gives you a full passion fruit harvest within a year to 18 months. If you live in a warm climate, it's a perennial that will keep giving you fruit year after year, but it will die off in the winter in cooler climates unless you bring it indoors. Passion fruit also grows well as a houseplant. 

Tomatoes

They might not be exactly what you imagine when thinking about fruit, but tomatoes are technically fruits even if they're generally used in savory applications. You can start tomato seeds indoors in early spring, plant them once the chance of frost has passed, and have a full crop of tomatoes by late summer.

Fruit varieties

Fruits come in a huge range of varieties, some of which are easy to acquire while others are hard to find outside of farmer's markets and community farms. For example, you're probably used to red strawberries, but the Pineapple Crush variety is one of several white varieties of strawberry, and the Purple Wonder is a purple strawberry. In addition to unusual colors, you can find fruit varieties with unusual shapes, such as the Carolina long watermelon with its elongated shape, or with usual flavors, such as the pineberry strawberry that tastes slightly like pineapple. Many fruit growers like to experiment with more unusual varieties that they haven't tried or that are difficult to find. That said, some unusual varieties can be trickier to grow than old favorites, so there may be a tradeoff.

Features

F1 varieties

F1 seed varieties are new hybrids made by crossing two different varieties of parent plant. They tend to germinate easily and grow vigorously, which is useful when growing fruit. They're no good if you want to save seed, however, as the plants you grow from saved seeds are unlikely to resemble their parent plants.

Open-pollinated seeds

Open-pollinated seeds produce fruit whose seeds will grow true to type. If you intend to save seeds for future use, always choose open-pollinated varieties.

Variety packs

You can choose to buy a single packet of fruit seeds, but it’s noteworthy that some variety packs contain a range of exciting fruit types. For example, you might get strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry seeds in a variety pack. Other variety packs contain several varieties of the same type of fruit. For instance, you might get four different varieties of watermelon in one package.

Fruit seed prices

The price of fruit seeds varies depending on the number and type of seeds you're buying, but you needn't spend much.

Inexpensive: If you don't have much to spend, you can buy a single packet of fruit seeds for less than $5.

Mid-priced: For between $5 and $15, you can buy variety packs featuring several types of fruit seeds.

Expensive: Large multipacks of fruit seeds can cost between $15 and $45. Some of these may also include small containers, soil pucks, or other useful extras.

Tips

  • Consider the climate in which you live when choosing fruit seeds. Some types of fruits need near-tropical conditions or extremely mild climates to thrive, whereas others fare better in moderate to cool climates. If you live in a cool climate, you can extend your options by growing in a greenhouse.
  • Think carefully about heirloom varieties. In theory, heirloom seeds are unusual varieties that have been maintained by gardeners or small farmers over the years, especially in isolated areas, but aren't readily available elsewhere. That said, there's no legal definition of heirloom seeds, so some seeds sold as such aren't really heirloom varieties.
  • Decide whether you want to grow in beds or containers. You can grow almost any type of fruit in a container, which is ideal if you only have a balcony or patio or if you rent a property and can't make changes to your yard. Some plants, such as fruit trees, won't get as large in a container as they would if planted directly in soil.
Some fruit seeds need stratification in cold conditions before they can germinate. This means either sowing them outside in late fall or placing them in your freezer for a couple of months before sowing.

FAQ

Q. Should I grow fruit from seed?
A.
Growing fruit from seed can be a nice challenge for enthusiastic gardeners who are willing to wait a while for results. If you grow a cherry tree from seed, for instance, it will take 7 to 10 years to produce fruit. Of course, you can find some fruit seeds that will grow to a point where you can harvest them within one to two growing seasons. You can save money by growing fruit from seed, but for quicker results, you can buy established fruit bushes or trees.
 

Q. Will I need special equipment to grow fruit from seed?
A.
This depends on your climate and how much light you get in your house, but you'll at least need soil and seed trays, unless you plan to sow seeds directly into a bed in your yard. When starting seeds indoors, you may have more luck with a grow light and a seed propagator.
 

Q. Are there any fruits I can harvest the same year that I plant the seeds?
A.
Yes. Melons are fast-growing and will be ready by late summer to early fall if planted in spring. You can plant strawberries in early spring for a summer harvest, though your strawberry plants will grow a stronger root system if you pick off the flowers before they turn into fruits in their first growing season.

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