How do I grow a plum tree from a stone?

Full question:
Thanks for your website – it’s very useful and interesting. I am staying in Auckland at the moment but live in Palmerston North. We have been able to pick plums off an old tree in New Lynn. The fruit has red-yellow skin and yellow flesh. How can we grow it from the plum seed please? I tried last year but the methods I tried didn’t work. I didn’t try growing in the garden …..

Our response:
Growing from a stone is relatively easy. Dry out the stone on a piece of kitchen towel, keeping it out of direct sunlight. When fully dry (about 2 months) try and break open the stone to take out the seed. We find a vice works best. Place the seed in a bag of damp sand or fine pumice and put in the fridge. After about 6 weeks there will be roots coming from the seed. Remove carefully from the bag and place in a container with good soil and leave in a warm place to grow.
Remember though, the fruit tree that grows will not be the same as the one that the stone originally came from, as it would have been cross-pollinated. It might turn out to be great, but you won’t know for about 5 years.
If you want that exact type of tree, the only way to replicate it is to take cuttings in winter, store it in wet newspaper in the fridge and plant out as cuttings in spring.

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