How to Grow a Pistachio Tree from Store-Bought Pistachios

source: Reddit

I love pistachios. Seriously, who doesn’t? They are that perfect combination of crispy, salty, and a tad sweet that you can’t help but eat them over and over again. Moreover, they are rich in nutrients, so eating a handful is like eating something good for you. But let’s be real, these green gems can get pretty pricey, especially if you have a habit like mine. So, one day, while sitting in my backyard, staring at my humble garden, a wild idea popped into my head: could i grow my own pistachio tree from the pistachios that are bought from the store? I always enjoy trying new things in my gardening endeavors, and so I thought to myself, ‘Why not?

First of all, I had to put the research hat on. Pistachio trees cannot be grown from seeds, but they can be grown with the right knowledge and effort. So here are the steps on how to propagate your own pistachio tree from those pistachio nuts we consume.

source: Pexels

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials

So let’s start with the basics: you will require raw and unsalted pistachios for this recipe. It will not work with salted or roasted pistachios because the process that is used to prepare them prevents the seeds from germinating. I went to a local health food store and bought a bag of raw pistachios and that was all I needed. You’ll also need a few basic gardening supplies: a small pot, some soil, a plastic bag and a lot of time.

Step 2: Prepare the Pistachios

Next, it’s time to prepare the pistachios to give them a head start by soaking them. I then put a portion of the raw pistachios into a bowl of warm water. Let them soak for about 24 hours. This helps in breaking down the tough outer coat of the seeds and makes them ready for growth. It’s a bit like giving them a spa day before they start their journey to becoming a tree.

source: Flickr

Step 3: Breaking the Shells

Now that they have soaked well, it is time to break open the shells. Careful here, you do not want to harm the seed inside. I used a nutcracker but you can also use a pair of pliers or just your fingers if you are gentle. When you peel the outer shell apart, you will find a small beige seed in the middle. This is the magic bean that is going to sprout into your pistachio tree.

Step 4: Raising the Seed

Now comes the part where we have to sow the seeds. Take a small pot and put some well-draining soil in it. Pistachio trees grow best in slightly sandy soil, so if you have sand to incorporate into the potting mix, that’s great. Place the seeds in the soil with about one inch spacing then water the seeds gently. I also put the pot in a plastic bag to augment the moisture and humidity around the pot. This keeps the humidity high and helps the seeds start to grow.

Step 5: Germination Time:

This is where the patience comes in. Pistachio seeds can take from a few weeks to a few months to grow. I put my pot on the windowsill and looked after it daily. It was like watching a pot of water waiting to boil – the more you watch, the longer it seems to take. But one day, after what felt like a lifetime, I saw a little green shoot coming out from the soil. Success!

source: Flickr

Step 6: Transplanting the Seedlings

Once your pistachio seed has germinated and has grown a few inches tall you can transfer it into a larger pot or if the climate is favorable, into the ground. Pistachio trees grow best in hot and dry environments, so if you live in a region with cold winters, you may have to grow your tree in a container that can be moved inside when the weather gets too cold. For mine, I chose to plant them in a large pot and place it on my patio that receives a lot of sunlight.

Pistachio Tree Care Tips

Having nurtured your pistachio tree to grow, it is now high time to take care of it. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:

1. Sunlight
Light is an important factor that helps the growth of pistachio trees. Ensure that your tree is exposed to at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. I have put the tree in a nice sunny area on my patio and it seems to be doing quite well.

2. Watering
Pistachio trees are quite drought resistant, but they need watering from time to time, especially when they are still young. Water the tree thoroughly once a week and then allow the soil to dry out before watering again. One of the common problems is overwatering, which results in root rot, so do not water your plant too often.

source: Flickr

3. Fertilizing
Pistachio trees require a balanced fertilizer to be given to them in the spring and summer seasons. I use an all-purpose fertilizer and I usually apply it as directed on the package. This provides the tree with all the nutrients that it requires to grow and develop into a healthy tree.

4. Pruning
Over time, you will need to prune your tree to shape it and to remove any dead or diseased branches. I normally prune my tree in late winter, just before the bud-break in the early spring.

5. Pest Control
Look for signs of pest infestation such as aphids and mites. To prevent these pests, I have found that using a neem oil spray works well. It’s an organic, biodegradable product that doesn’t pose any harm to my tree or the environment.

source: Reddit

I have had a lot of fun and success trying to grow a pistachio tree from pistachios purchased at the store. It is quite inspiring to witness how something as small as a seed can develop into a full-fledged tree. Also, it is always inspiring to think of the day when I can pick my own pistachios from the tree in my backyard. If you like pistachios and have a green thumb, I suggest you give this a shot. Perhaps, you will be lucky enough to have your own pistachio orchard in the backyard!