The peach originated in China and has been cultivated at least since 1000 B.C.E. It has special significance in Chinese culture: the peach has mystical attributes, and supposedly brings luck, abundance, and protection.
Harvest from Year 1+ on.
Equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day].
Intermediate. You’ll transplant, prune, and harvest.
Best Peach / Apricot / Nectarines varieties to grow inside.
Peach has many varieties. However, we recommend growing only those bonsai or dwarf varieties at home. We’ve listed our top 4 favorite peach varieties for you below:
Its fruits are large and sweet, with a delicious flavor and juicy, yellow flesh. Not only is this a compact tree that produces tasty fruits, it can also serve as an ornamental plant.
Its fruits are excellent for fresh eating, desserts, canning, freezing, and jam. It can also be grown indoors.
Due to its compact size, often reaching no larger than 6 feet (2 m.) tall, Its fruits are the perfect candidates for home gardeners who want to grow fruit trees indoors.
Best Setup for Peach Plants
A pot that is at least 12″ / 5 gal, though there is some flexibility. The plant will grow in proportion to its planter – so size is based on how tall you want your plant to grow.
Standard Potting Mix
Balanced Blend. This should be equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10).
A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day].
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Starting your Peach: Seed vs Propagate
Peach that’s grown to eat is usually started with a live plant or cutting. This is because plants grown from seeds will grow as “wild types” – meaning they won’t produce the same fruit they came from (think of crab apples!).
Why you shouldn’t start Peach from seed
If you grow a Peach from seed, it won’t grow “true to type” meaning the fruit you will get will be a weird cross between the many different varieties – and chances are it won’t taste very good. However, if you are growing it for a houseplant and don’t care about the produce – go ahead and plant the pit!
Propagating Peach: How to Clone from a Stem Cutting
If you’ve already got a Peach plant you love (or a friend does!) you can easily “clone” it with just sharp scissors and a clean glass of water. First, cut a couple 6” shoots of new growth (avoid anything woody). Next, remove the lower leaves, so the bottom half is just stem. Place in a glass of 3” of water, making sure the cut leaf spots are underwater. Place the glass on a bright windowsill and change the water every few days. In a couple of weeks, roots should emerge and you can transplant them into your container. While using additional rooting hormones won’t hurt, it’s not necessary with Peach plants.
- Cut 6” section of new growth
- Remove leaves halfway and place them in the water on a sunny window sill
- Wait 28-42 days for a few ½ inch roots to form and carefully transplant into it final container
How to Transplant Peach
Many nurseries ship Peach as “Bare-Root” – this means the roots are not in soil and the plant is dormant. It’s a bit strange to receive something that looks like a bare stick, but it’s much easier to make sure you’re not bringing any pests in. To transplant your bare root Peach plant:
- Prepare your pot by filling it ½ with soil and shaping it like a cone
- Prepare the plant roots by trim any that seem dead, mushy, or excessively long, then shape it like a cone to fit on your soil.
- Check the fit so that the highest roots are just below the rim of the pot. Adjust the soil as needed.
- Once the fit is good, fill the pot up to the highest roots, lightly tapping the soil down as you go. Finish up by giving it a good deep watering.
If you received your plant in a nursery container with soil, the process is much the same. Once it arrives, gently pull it out to check on the roots (adding water can help if it’s dry). If they’re not hitting the edge and there’s plenty of soil, then resist the urge to transplant it into a bigger pot. If the roots are crowded and starting to circle around the pot, then you’ll need to repot it. Use a slightly larger pot (2 to 3 inches larger in diameter). Fill the bottom with enough new soil so that the top of the nursery pot lines up with the top of the permanent container. Finish by filling around the edges and watering thoroughly.
Where to grow your Peach plants
While you should take advantage of the sun (it’s free and perfect for plants) there are limited circumstances where indoor natural light is enough for Peach plants to grow well. A very bright window can cut your grow light needs in half, but if you want to grow lots of Peach, you’ll still need one. For an introduction to grow lights, head over to our post on grow lights for indoor gardeners. We’ve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, we’ll just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle-of-the-road option.
How bright should your grow light be?
Peach plants need the equivalent of 6+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI of 18+ mol/m²/day] to grow their best. In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright! The 24W Sansi bulb should be placed 6 inches away from the top of the plant. This will give your PPFD (the standard measure of brightness) of 500 μmol/m²/s.
How many hours per day do your Peach plants need under a grow light?
Peach plants are known as “long-day” meaning that they develop faster with over 12 hours of light (and only need 6 hours of darkness to rest) so setting your timer to light your plants for 14+ hours is best.
Peach Plants Need Warm Temps with an Annual Chill
Peach plants are native to northern climates and need to rest each winter – brought on by shorter days and colder temperatures. Plants need to be in between 32°F and 45°F for 150-500 hours in order to internally build the cellular structures that will become fruits. When your indoor plant starts to lose its leaves in fall, place it outside for a few months until you meet the “chilling requirement” (but bring them in if temps drop below 30°F for longer than a day). For the rest of the year, they are perfectly happy with a wide range of typical indoor temperatures.
How to Prune Peach Trees
Pruning is important for Peach trees. Even dwarf varieties can easily grow up to 15 feet – and pruning keeps them easier to manage, care for, and fit in our living space. Beyond this, we help the plant focus its energy by limiting the number of branches we allow to develop. The basics of pruning are simple; plants grow from their tips (not bottom), but if you remove the tip it will redirect the growth to side branches. The art of pruning takes many forms, however – Bonsai, Espalier, and Spur are some ways the basic principles are applied. We encourage you to explore the look you want, but if you are unsure, open-center pruning is a well-established style for fruit trees.
The standard for most fruit trees is known as “Open Center Pruning” where the canopy consists of 3 or 4 evenly spaced main branches. This lets light and air penetrate through the center and reach the edges for an even, lush plant. Make the first cut when you are happy with the height of the trunk – it may happen as soon as you get your plant (we recommend letting the trunk be at least 2 ft above the soil). This cut should be right above a bud or branch coming off the main trunk. This will encourage the main branches to form, so if more than 3 or 4 come out then remove the extra with an eye to keep spacing even. The main pruning is now done, so just once or twice a year you’ll want to do a maintenance prune to remove any crossing or dead branches and keep the center short.
Year 1+: How to Pollinate Your Peach Flowers
The peach trees we recommend are self-fertile, meaning they don’t need pollen from another tree to produce fruit. However, you can get up to 3 times more fruits from the same tree if you pollinate the flowers. We recommend using a paintbrush and just touching the “nose” of each flower on a tree when it is blooming.
Year 1+: How to Harvest Peaches
Peaches are ready to pick after their skin changes color, and if they feasible come off the branch. If you are unsure, give them the “supermarket” ripeness test. Gently press your thumb and if it gives a little, then it’s ready.
Year 5+: End of Life
Peach trees are not particularly long living – with an average lifespan of about 12 years. As they get older they are prone to canker and bores which can take them out.
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The right supplies can take the guesswork out of caring for your plants – and turn care from a daily to weekly routine. Through our grow tests, we’ve found these products to produce the best indoor Peach (and also have simple maintenance). Plants are adaptable and can grow in many different conditions, so they are by no means necessary if you already have other supplies.
Best Containers for Peach: Ceramic Self Watering Planters
Plants thrive on consistent moisture but can suffer if they’re waterlogged. A semi-porous ceramic self regulates ideal conditions. Our favorite is the COSWIP planter. Runner up is XS Self Watering Planter by Wet Pot.
Best Soil for Peach: Standard Potting Mix
Peach likes a rich and moist root zone – so you are best off with a standard potting mix – we like this Organic Mix by Espoma.
Best Nutrients for Peach: Balanced Blend
Peach likes nutrients that are equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10). For a Balanced Blend we recommend: Dr Earth All Purpose
Best Light for Peach: DIY or Soltech
There is a very small chance that you have the bright windows needed to grow these without a grow light. If you are looking for a higher-end option – we love the Aspect Light by Soltech. For a more affordable option, a DIY setup using a 24W Screw-in Bulb by Sansi with a Clamp Light and Mechanical Timer works well too. Check out our complete guide on a DIY setup for less than $40 or our buying guide for screw in bulbs.