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Collecting Seeds

HenryPHenryP Posts: 48
Evening All,

I had some questions relating to seed collecting which go as follows:

1. Generally speaking, you can't collect and grow seeds from fruit in the supermarket, right? Would it make any difference if it was a certain supermarket variety or even organic, perhaps?

2. Seeds collected from trees, for instance, an apple in our garden, will not stay true to the original tree, right? I think I'm correct in thinking this depends on whether it is a cultivar or an heirloom (I'm not even sure what an heirloom is if I'm totally honest!)

3. Overall, what is the best way to grow from seed? Is it much simpler to just buy the seed of the plant you wish to grow, or alternatively collect from the above means?

Apologies for the amateur question, but always hoping to learn!


  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,744
    apples will grow true to type, but might end up huge trees, as commercially, they're grafted onto dwarfing root stocks
  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,291
    There is a book called 'Seed to Seed', written by an American lady, that could be useful for you.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    You CAN grow seeds from supermarket fruit and many mums do, for the amusement of their offspring. Oranges, lemons, apples, sometimes nectarines and peaches, they all grow. What you are unlikely to get is fruit.
    Seeds from trees will also grow but the outcome may be unpredictable if the tree hybridises. Ash is notorious for self seeding and a walk in the woods will reveal a vast range of baby trees.
    It all depends on what you want: growing random seeds is a bit of an adventure and may bring a welcome surprise. However, if you just want a certain result, you are best to buy named seeds from a reputable supplier.
  • 1. I sowed seeds from a tomato last year from a supermarket.
    Best crop of tomatoes ever.
    Sowed some melon seeds...not so good but we got some small very sweet fruits.
    2. True as far as I know
    3. Gardening is always an adventure. You try and see what you can do and have good and not so good results.
    We continue to do both home grown seeds and bought in seeds.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Posts: 7,948
    Growing trees from seed follows the same principles as growing any other plant from seed.  Trees grown for their fruit, eg apples, will always be cultivars as far as I'm aware - Malus domestica 'Bramley's Seedling', for example.  Modern or "heirloom" (if "heirloom" means an old variety) makes no difference.  If you grow a seed from an apple in your garden, it might resemble the original apple, but it might not.  

    However, if you grow a seed from a wild crab apple (Malus sylvestris), which is a species, not a cultivar, you'll get much less variation in the fruit.  But you'll still get a bit of natural variation.
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • EmerionEmerion Posts: 447
    Saving seed from non-F1 veg works, as long as they didn’t cross pollinate with another variety. Tomatoes are a safe bet and I always get plants coming true, even though I grow several types in one polytunnel, because they aren’t insect pollinated. You could  have a look on the RHS web page for a plant that you are interested in, and see if they say you can propagate from seed. Also, don’t be afraid to try cuttings. It’s much easier than you might think, it’s free, and if it works, you get a clone of the parent plant.
    If at first you don’t succeed, have some cake. 
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