How to Grow a Mesquite Tree From Beans or Pods

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Mesquite trees, also know by the scientific name Prosopis glandulosa, are small to medium-sized trees with attractive leaves, flowers and seed pods. Although the plant is considered invasive by some, it is sometimes used as an ornamental within the landscape in the Southwestern United States. While propagating mesquite from cuttings is difficult, germinating mesquite beans is relatively easy, with the proper preparation, known as scarification, according to Texas A&M University. This actually damages the seed coat to allow water to reach the embryo within the seed to promote growth. Boiling mesquite beans provides sufficient scarifying to allow them to sprout.

Things You'll Need

  • Mesquite tree bean pods
  • Seed tray
  • Seed starter soil
  • Pencil
  • 1-gallon plant pots
  • Potting soil

Obtain mature and fully dried mesquite seed pods from a parent tree. Split the pods open to obtain the beans within, which are brown and hard. Examine the beans for damage. Dispose of the empty pod and any damaged beans.

Boil 1 quart of water in a cooking pot. Remove the pot from the stove and submerge the mesquite beans into the water. Allow the beans to sit overnight.

Fill the cells of a seed tray with a good seed starter soil to within 1/4 inch of the top of each cell. Place one bean in each cell. Cover the beans with soil and press the soil down gently. Water the seeds so that the soil is damp, but not wet.

Insert the seed tray in a large zip-top plastic bag. Poke holes in the bag with the pencil. Seal the bag. Place the tray in a warm and bright place away from direct sun to encourage the beans to germinate.

Check the mesquite seeds after 2 or 3 weeks to see if they have sprouted. Look for the seed leaves, called cotyledons, to emerge from the old seed coat first. Remove the bag, once the seedlings appear. Water as needed to keep the soil damp.

Transplant each seedling to a 1-gallon pot filled with potting soil, after the seedlings have 3 to 4 true leaves on them above the cotyledons. Water as needed to keep the soil moist.

When the saplings have reached 2 to 3 feet in height, plant them outdoors, or in a larger pot for indoor planting.

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