How to Grow Almonds



almonds
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Time to germination: Several months over winter
Time to harvest: 5 years
Light requirements: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained and loose soil.

Introduction

Almond trees are wonderfully small and compact, ranging from 15 to 30 feet tall. They are related to the peach, and the almonds develop inside small fruits (much like the pit in a peach). Though technically a fruit, the almond fruit is very leathery and usually just referred to as the hull or husk of the seed. It’s not an edible fruit.

For edible almonds, you want to plant sweet almonds not bitter almonds. They are two different kinds of trees, not just descriptive terms. Bitter almonds actually have cyanide in them, so you must avoid these trees. There are also some varieties of almond that have been bred for their flowers and won’t really produce any fruit (or almonds) at all. They are called ornamental or flowering almonds at most nurseries. Do your research before you shop for seedlings so you get the variety you need.

Even the edible trees are lovely when in bloom. They’re not one of those nut trees that make a mess of your yard every year (like walnuts always seem to do). They do make a bit of a mess when they start to drop their nuts but the flowers make up for the annoyance.

Almonds are originally from the Middle East and will not grow in cold climates. You’ll need to be in at least zone 6 to get almonds to thrive. In the United States, there are commercial crops of almonds in California and not many other regions. If you want to grow almonds, you may not have much luck finding seedlings elsewhere.

Starting Your Tree

You can start your almonds by buying seedlings or planting almond seeds (fresh unprocessed nuts). Either way, choose a very sunny location where there won’t be any build-up of water around the roots.

Dig up the area where you want to plant so the soil is loose under the seed. Plant your almond about an inch or 2 under the soil and cover. Do this in the fall so that the nut can overwinter for sprouting in the spring. Cover the spot with heavy wire screen to keep out the rodent pests.

Alternatively, you can plant seedlings or grafted seedlings. Often, sweet almond buds are grafted onto bitter almond root stock. This has no impact on your nut harvest, and shouldn’t be any concern. Your trees will only produce sweet almonds. Dig a hole larger than the root ball on your seedling, and break up the soil at the bottom so that it’s very loose. Even mix in some peat moss or some sand for added drainage. Plant your seedling so that it’s at the same depth as it was at the nursery.

Some varieties of almond are not self-pollinating, meaning you will need at least 2 or 3 trees in order to get almonds from your trees. Check with the nursery or seedling supplier before buying so that you don’t end up with just one tree that won’t make you any nuts. If you decide to have more than one, plan to space your trees around 20 to 30 feet apart

There are some dwarf varieties of almond, though many are just ornamental and it can be difficult to determine at a nursery if any will actually produce edible almonds. Look for the Garden Prince variety if you can find it. It doesn’t grow more than 5 feet in height, and will self-pollinate (meaning you only need the one tree). An excellent option for anyone looking for a nut tree with only a small space to spare.

Tree Care

For the first year, be generous with water. Give your trees a thorough soaking once a week through the summer. First thing in the spring, you can give your trees a feeding of standard fertilizer or aged manure.

Watch your trees for the usual tree pests, like aphids and leaf-eating caterpillars. You can treat the tree with standard insecticidal soaps to help keep the insect population down. Almonds produce very sweet blossoms in the spring, to attract the bees for pollination. Don’t be alarmed if your trees are crawling with bees. That’s what you want.

Peach leaf curl can attack almonds as well as peaches. It’s a fungus infection that will start to brown your tree’s leaves, and then they will curl up tightly. If this happens to your trees, remove the infected leaves right away and dispose of them. Burning is a good idea so the fungus doesn’t spread. Rake any dropped leaves off the ground around your trees. If you can’t control it, you may have to spray your tree with Bordeaux spray, a commonly used fungicide treatment for fruit and nut trees.

Almonds can benefit from some regular branch pruning, but that is not something a novice will want to undertake. It’s not hard to prune improperly and kill your trees. Get a professional to prune your trees, and ask for advice so you can do it yourself in the future.

Harvest and Storage

Almond trees can provide you with a yearly harvest of nuts for up to 50 years once they start, which is usually by the age of five years. By 12, your almond trees should be producing a full harvest of nuts for you. A healthy tree can product between 30 and 50 pounds of almonds each year.

Once the small green fruits (or hulls) have started to dry, they will split open and reveal the almond nut inside. Many of them will drop from the tree on their own, but you may have to pick some of them by hand.

After you taken the fresh almond out of its husk, you have to let them dry in a well-ventilated place for several days. The nuts should rattle a little inside their shells when they are done.

Almonds can be eaten raw, but are more often roasted. It’s a versatile nut that can even be used to make a non-dairy version of “milk”. If you are looking for the all-white almonds for your recipes, you will have to blanch them to remove the thin brown skin that is around the nutmeat. Soak shelled almonds in just boiling water for a minute, then the skins should slip off.

34 Responses to “How to Grow Almonds”

  1. abigail marie collins  Says:

    To whom this may concern,

    Where can I purchase edible almonds seeds the ones people love to eat.Thankyou

    Abigail Marie Collins

  2. abigail marie collins  Says:

    where can I purchase seeds of sweet edible almonds.

  3. Dan  Says:

    I am extremely interested in growing my own almond trees. Can you refer to me a reputable supplier in which i can by seedlings or seeds from. Thanks

  4. Toast  Says:

    I bought some green almonds in a supermarket and want to plant these. Are these the bitter or the sweet almond seeds? Are they viable? I believe I am in zone 20 (Houston,TX) and want to start these in a pot. How do I plant the seeds? All I found to go with (in this article) is vague:
    “Dig up the area where you want to plant so the soil is loose under the seed. Plant your almond about an inch or 2 under the soil and cover.” What type of soil (acidic, alkaline…), moistness level…?

  5. Donna Daniels  Says:

    I would like to know where to purchase them, I want the sweet almonds. Also I live in central arkansas is that a good zone to grow them in?

  6. Paddy Bird  Says:

    I have just purchase a Almond-Fritz tree. Now i suspect i may require another as pollinator. If so can i get another variety

  7. ELAINE BAINBRIDGE  Says:

    I have a fairly well established almond tree in a pot in the courtyard, but this is getting too big. I live in a house that is ocean view and would like to plant the tree outside. Can an almond tree withstand salt blast? are there any special precautions I should take?
    Thank you

  8. george  Says:

    How do you get them out of the shell which is very hard? They look just like a peach seed and just as hard.

  9. Marty  Says:

    I got a couple almonds from the young tree I bought and planted in my yard 2 years ago, but what time of year should I plant the seeds after I’ve already opened the woody shells to get them out? I’m in Los Angeles, so I’m well within the proper climate zone.

  10. Pippa Hall-Johnston  Says:

    Hi, I have found two saplings in my garden and I thought they were weeds but when I pulle one up it looked like it had germinated from an almond, probably thrown out of the window by my husband. That one is now dead unfortunately but I have left the other one in the ground until I can prove its identity. I am having trouble finding any photograhic references for this purpose, have you any photos of almond saplings i could compare mine with?
    Thanks
    Pippa
    NSW, Australia

  11. Mr karan gurung Nepal  Says:

    Hi I am karan from Nepal and i wnat to do commerical ediable almond farming here in Nepal but i don’t have any idiea about actual tempeture of land as well as where to buy its seeds or plant to nursery and to distribution for all intersted Nepalese farmer.

    I hope that you will addvice me in this regards.

    Regards,
    karan gurung
    karan_gurung11@yahoo.com
    00977-9849265501

  12. Mr karan gurung Nepal  Says:

    I am extremely interested in growing my own almond trees. Can you refer to me a reputable supplier in which i can by seedlings or seeds from. Thanks

  13. angel  Says:

    I cannot find any places to purchase seedlings in my area. I need to find out soon

    angelmartinez@hospira.com

  14. Fred  Says:

    Can you tell me where I can buy a sweet almond seed?

  15. Deb  Says:

    I love eating almonds, just so happen we always make a compose pile. One day we found two of the almonds had started sprouting, so we planted them, they are doing wonderful. I am in Texas so hopefully they will do well.

  16. Krishna Pokhrel  Says:

    Hi I am Krishna Pokhrel from Nepal and i wnat to do commerical ediable almond farming here in Nepal but i don’t have any idiea about actual tempeture of land as well as where to buy its seeds or plant to nursery and to distribution for all intersted Nepalese farmer.

    I hope that you will addvice me in this regards.

    Regards,
    Krishna Pokhrel
    +9779856027704

  17. Tom Welch Welch  Says:

    I live in north Ark which is zone 6b, I guess I’ll get some raw almonds in their shell and try this out

  18. gerald anderson  Says:

    Tom
    I am in north Ark also and would like to grow some nut trees. I grew up in central California we had almonds and english walnuts. I remember sprouting shelled almonds there here they will not simply sprout after soaking.Have been looking at a Minnesota source of hybrid Hazel and chestnut and hickory/pecan cross.The more plants you buy the cheaper they are -I just want ten more or less.

  19. glenda tatchell  Says:

    i am stating a tree from the almond husk should i plant husk and all or just the almond seed itself?

  20. Lily  Says:

    I live in Alberta.Is this the right zone to be planting almonds? Also I have a bucket of almonds from superstore. will this work?
    thankyou!
    Lily

  21. Hasan Ahmed  Says:

    I love to grow my own almond garden in Bangladesh. Now i want to know, is it possible to grow almond tree if there is rainy seasons for 3 to 4 months? And where can i get best sweet almond seedlings?
    Thankyou!
    Hasan

  22. Khalil  Says:

    I am originally from the Middle East and there we benefit from the almond fruit to the max. In early season, almond flesh is still very soft and crunchy so do not be afraid to eat it and once the fruit is dried up and cracking, you can enjoy just eating the seed.

    Khalil

  23. Gerald Mbaabu M'Ikunyua  Says:

    Thanks a lot for your site .please deep up.

    Highly intested in growing good quality almonds,preferably quick maturing.

    How can I get urgent supply here in Kenya

  24. Brenda  Says:

    I live inTulsa, Ok and I purchased a bare root Texas Hardy and it is growing into a beautiful Almond tree. This almond is self pollinated so I don’t need a second tree. FYI for the inquiries.

  25. aaryan  Says:

    I have unprocessed edible almond. Can i grow them to get a tree of almonds.
    And Will it produce the edible almonds?

  26. Boris  Says:

    Very good writen, clearly understandable. I probably have the same quesrion like others. Where can I find seeds ? Best regards.

  27. Hillary  Says:

    Gurney’s sells Hall’s Hardy almond trees. I purchased two. Can’t wait to get them in the ground! Gurney’s can be found online at gurneys.com and they guarantee their plants!! If they don’t make it, they replace them. Best of luck everyone!

  28. Denise  Says:

    Try Stark Brothers nursery for self-pollinating sweet almond trees and advice on growing them. Also Willis Orchards. There are probably others online as well.

  29. Paul  Says:

    “Almond seeds” are the almond nut we eat. Buy a bag of almonds intended for consumption then treat as follows:

    Soak almonds in water for 48 hours.
    Remove from water and place in roughly the same conditions you’d use to make bread rise prior to baking (so warm + SLIGHTLY damp – in a bowl with a wet cloth over them will do).
    You should notice a small white “dot” on the pointed end of the Almond – you now have a sprouted Almond which can either be eaten (tastier once sprouted) or planted to grow a tree from.

  30. Annette Darnell  Says:

    I have 2 sweet almond trees that are about 3 yrs old. They have produced a few almonds this season a total of 8 almonds. We have not pruned of fertilized. We would like to know what kind of fertilizer we should use & the best time of year to do so . Also how to prune & when to . They are 7′ to 8′ ft. tall now. they are a beautiful tree. Best regards

  31. s.c.bushnell  Says:

    i have an All in One almond tree 3 yrs old. Is it a sweet almond?

  32. Alami Binani  Says:

    Hello;

    I live in NYC but I own a land in Guyana, South America. Where I would like to start commercial almond farming. I would like to know if the local soil is favorable to this type if operations.

    I also would like to know who I could contact in the USA for other information on seeds supply , storage, transportation and markets.

    My sincerest appreciation.
    Alami Binani
    Tel: (646) 853-6510

  33. Tobiko  Says:

    I love to grow my own sweet almond in kenya. i wnat to do commercial ediable almond farming here in kenya. but i don’t have any idiea about actual temperature of land, soil ph, as well as where to buy its right seeds or plant to nursery and to distribution for all interested kenyan farmer.and also to plant on my farm.

    I hope that you will advice me in this regards.

  34. Lopez  Says:

    I live in Brooklyn close to Coney Island. In my balcony I dropped an almond. It took roots and is growing fast. How do I protect it in the cold wather? How will I restrict its size? Is it possible?

    Thanks!

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