Sweet chestnuts are becoming much more common in many shops and stores and will often be found around early winter time after the trees have fruited.
Chestnuts tend to be grown on a commercial basis but what if you’d like your own chestnut tree, can you buy chestnuts from the store and grow them at home?
Growing your own chestnuts from store bought chestnuts is possible but will dependant upon the freshness of the chestnuts that you use. If you use fresh chestnuts that have not been processed then you should be able to grow your own trees successfully.
If you are thinking about growing your own chestnut tree then it is possible to grow one from the chestnuts that you get at the store.
You should choose some fresh chestnuts, that are loose and not packaged as these are more likely to be organic and to have not been subjected to any forms of processing.
How to sprout chestnuts
Chestnuts will normally need to spend sometime in a cold environment to help them to sprout.
One way that I’ve found to be successful is to simply plant two chestnuts in a pot of compost and leave it outside over the winter months.
The action of cold and frost helps the chestnut to rest and then, come the warmer spring weather the nut begins to germinate.
It’s important to make sure that the pots are protected from rodents which will easily dig into the compost and steal them if left unprotected.
Another option is to place the chestnuts in a plastic bag in a cold place, such as the fridge, and to leave them there for 4 to 6 weeks, before removing and sowing into pots of compost.
How long does it take chestnuts to sprout?
Normally you will see signs of sprouting within 3 to 6 weeks of sowing in the pots.
The temperature will need to be above 55 degrees F for the germination to take place and continue.
If the temperature drops below this then growth will continue but will be slower.
It’s important that once growth begins that you protect the young plants from frost which could kill them.
Place them into the greenhouse or a sheltered place if there is a chance of frost or ice.
Can chestnuts be grown in pots?
You can grow chestnuts in pots for the first few years of their lives but, at some point you will need to find a spot in the garden for them to grow.
I’ve grown chestnuts in pots until they were 4 to 5 years old, increasing the size of the pot annually to allow them to increase in size.
After this the simply became too large and needed their own outdoor, permanent spot.
Where do chestnuts grow best?
Chestnuts don’t like to be in wet or boggy areas.
A spot with good amounts of sunlight and a well drained, loamy soil is ideal for a chestnut tree.
Do chestnut trees need feeding?
This will depend on the age of your tree and the quality of the soil.
If your tree is still growing in a pot then changing the compost annually and potting in a larger pot should be sufficient for your young tree.
You can feed the plant with a general plant fertiliser which will help it to enjoy good growth during the growing season.
Like many fruit trees, spreading a good amount of manure and well rotted compost around the base of the trunk during early spring can help the tree to secure nutrients from the soil which will aid fruit production and growth.
Chestnut tree pruning
Chestnuts don’t really need to be pruned but, if you do want them to increase in size and spread then you can cut back the branches as they begin to grow.
It’s best not to cut the branches back too much as this will stop future growth and reduce fruit production.
Remove any dead or damaged branches which will help to keep the tree disease free.
Can chestnut trees be grown indoors?
Chestnuts are quite hardy but, they still prefer being outdoors in an area where they can grow and spread without restriction.
They are not suitable for growing indoors so you should only attempt to do this if you live somewhere cold and your garden is not suitable, or large enough for the tree to grow.
When growing inside you will need to ensure that it has plenty of light and warmth which can be achieved by placing it in a sunny spot indoors during the day time hours.
It’s important that you keep your chestnut plant well watered but still allow good levels of air circulation to prevent the roots from rotting.
You must also ensure that it has plenty of ventilation around its trunk and avoid placing it in drafty areas if you want to keep it alive.
I would recommend that you only grow your chestnut indoors for short periods of time, during winter months when the weather is not suitable outside.
What is the best way to grow chestnuts?
The best way to grow chestnut trees is by placing them into the ground and allowing nature to take its course.
If you choose to place your new sapling into a pot then this must be done early on as these plants will not thrive if they are placed into a pot for too long.
As mentioned earlier in the article, you should only attempt to grow chestnuts inside if there is nowhere suitable for them to thrive outside.
Just like with growing any other fruit tree you must ensure that your plant receives plenty of water throughout the year and preferably make use of a good quality garden fertiliser which will give it all the nutrients it needs to grow healthy and produce crops for you.
It must also be placed in an area where it can receive plenty of sunlight (at least 6 hours per day) throughout the year.
If you are growing your chestnut tree in a pot then make sure that the soil is well drained so that no water collects around the base of the trunk and rot the roots.
When planting your chestnuts into the ground you should spread a good amount of compost around the base of the trunk to help it secure nutrients from the soil as these trees like all fruits require good amounts of water, sunlight, temperature and soil nutrients in order for them to produce fruit successfully.
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If you choose fresh, organic chestnuts from the store then you should have little difficulty growing your own chestnut tree. You
Chestnuts are hardy trees that, once planted into the ground, can normally be left alone as they need very little attention or treatment.
The only real challenge that you’ll have is getting to the ripe chestnuts before the birds and other wildlife eat them.