How to extract seeds from berries

Do it:

Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

30 minutes

It's really easy to extract and sow seed from fruits you've collected, and it's also free. Plants grown from seed aren't always exactly like the parent plant, unlike those grown from cuttings, so look forward to results that could be new, different, and sometimes better.

You will need

  • Secateurs
  • Kitchen towel
  • Plastic or terracotta pot
  • Gritty loam-based compost
  • Sieve (optional)


Choose a healthy plant, such as sorbus, holly, cotoneaster or rowan, and check the berries are ripe by squeezing them. Remove a generous bunch with secateurs.

Squash the berries onto a sheet of kitchen towel and clean away the skin and flesh to expose the bare seeds. Alternatively, clean away the flesh by running them under the cold tap in a sieve.

Fill a small pot with gritty loam-based compost and sow the seeds evenly across the surface.

Sprinkle a layer of compost over the seeds, water, then stand the pot in a cold frame or sheltered place in the garden. Keep it watered and protect it from birds.


Allow seedlings to develop a few true leaves before pricking them out into separate pots and growing on.

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