Sprout Pecan Trees From Seed

I was first introduced to pecans after my husband and I were married. Robert was born and raised in east Texas so it seemed fitting after we married to move to his home state.

That was twenty some years ago and what I remember most about that move was pecan pie and corn bread stuffing at my first Texas Thanksgiving.  It was sweet and simply amazing!

Last year Robert mentioned we should grow pecan trees from seed, my response went something like this, “is this the royal we?”

I wasn’t excited because we were getting ready to sell our farm and I just wanted to begin closing things down.

He didn’t let up and started researching, running numbers and I continued to just smile and change the subject.

Eventually I came around to the idea and agreed to sprout a few seeds at this farm so I could learn more about the process.  I did some research; this is what I uncovered.

Sprouting by Seed or should I say Nut?

Pecan trees are native to planting zones six – nine, Texas seems to strive with the greatest success, it’s our state tree.
Before I go into the process of how, I want you to know that when you start pecan trees from seed it can take up to 25 years before you get a decent harvest.

Sprouting by Cuttings

You can decrease that time frame by sprouting trees from cuttings of an existing tree.  This would be implemented in the spring and harvesting would begin around 6 to 8 years.

With that aside, I decided to sprout pecan trees by seed, for no other reason that I thought it would be fun and something neat to learn.

Encouraging the Sprouting Process

Starting trees by seed takes place during the winter season.  The cold moist temperatures encourage the seed to sprout.

Add Pecan nuts to a dish of water 24 hours prior to planting.

Note:  You can also wet a paper towel, wrap the nut inside and place it in a plastic bag for a week then wait for it to sprout before planting.

Planting Pecans

  • Use 4 inch containers and fill with soil.
  • My soil consisted of half organic potting soil and half from a raised bed in the garden; mix together.
  • Place the soil about 3/4 from the top of the container.
  • Lay the nut sideways in container.
  • Cover with your soil mixture.
  • Water with brewed fertilizer tea, I used Llama Tea.

The final step is to wait, continue to keep the soil moist and in about a month there should successful sprouts.

We’re going to see if Robert’s idea to sprout pecan trees is just a lot of work or simply something fun.  I do have to admit starting any plant, even trees by seed is amazing and a wonderful gift for all to enjoy.  It’s also a fun winter activity while we wait for Spring.

Get tips for sprouting pecan trees from seed. Perfect for zones 6 - 9 the southern states get more here. #Homestead, #PecanTrees


  1. PENNY says:

    OK, Im all excited! How did yours turn out? I have heard about grafting two different types of pecan trees, root stock for heat tollerance and The top graft for large meaty nuts. Any knowledge of such?
    Thanks in advance!

    p.s. Isn’t Texas WONDERFUL!!!???

    1. Carole says:

      Texas is wonderful my favorite place I’ve ever lived, my husband was born here so we’ve pretty much lived and visited the entire state. Those Pecans – Oh funny thing, they did sprout which was really exciting but then I forgot to put them back in our covered raised bed for protection from the squirrels and they dug them up. I haven’t replanted but I may try again this year. When you start by seed it does take about 25 years for them to reproduce. I haven’t grafted pecan trees but I hear it’s a breeze.

      1. Amanda says:

        Hi Carole,
        I just wanted to share my experience. I brought some Texas pecans to southern Spain with me about ten years ago and planted a few. Two of them sprouted and one is still surviving. This one that survived grew up to about two feet and stayed that way for a long time until this spring, it grew up about a foot more. It seems to leaf out nicely every year, but this is the first year it has grown so much. (Tree puberty maybe?)
        I didn´t realize it would take so many years to produce. But I am wondering, are two trees necessary for them to produce?

        1. Carole says:

          Good Morning Amanda – Pecan trees have male and female flowers but they don’t bloom at the same time. So yes you would need a second tree but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t need to be the same variety. Check with a specialized nursery in your area and they may be able to order you a tree if they don’t have any in stock.

        2. Carole says:

          Hello Again Amanda – apparently you can also gather that pollen from the male blooms, save it in a jar and then when the female blooms appear you can use that pollen to pollinate them. I’m guessing you would do that by sprinkling into the flower. I’ve never done this but apparently it’s very common practice in countries like Japan.

          1. Amanda says:

            That´s interesting. I will definitely look into what trees are available near me. Thanks so much!

  2. doug says:

    so what we learned is: we have no idea if this works yet, or not.

    1. Carole says:

      It worked great they sprouted I just forgot to place them in a protected area. We’re moving this year so I didn’t try it but plan to do it again next winter. Starting these trees by seed takes patience.

  3. Jimmy says:

    I’m starting 72 from seed and excited to see what kind of germination rate I get.

    1. Carole says:

      Awesome – thanks for sharing!

  4. Ruth says:

    Hello, I am in Oklahoma and I am wondering what I should do once the tree is growing? I have no problem starting the seeds as the squirrels do this for me, they plant the pecans in my houseplants that I have on the porch and I am always pulling them out. I decided to try and keep some of them but not sure how to transplant. I pulled up one and planted in a new pot all its own and so far it is doing well, it is still outside and about a foot tall now, should I just leave it in the pot or do I have to re-plant in the ground?

    Thank you.


    1. Carole says:

      Hello Ruth,
      You want to transplant when they go dormant because it’s less stressful for the plant and success rate will be higher. This is normally late winter when temps are mild.

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