How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

Are you tired of buying apple trees from nurseries? Why not try growing your own apple tree from seed? It’s a simple and fun project that anyone can do, even beginners in plant propagation. Plus, it’s a great way to spark a lifelong interest in gardening. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of growing an apple tree from the seeds you find in grocery store fruits.

Grow Your Own Apple Tree

Related Posts: peach tree diseases pictures

Starting a plant from seed is an excellent way to cultivate love for plants, nature, and gardening. It’s even more fascinating when you can grow a fruit-bearing tree from the seeds of the very fruit you’ve eaten. Imagine taking a bite of an apple and knowing that you can grow a tree from its seeds!

Before we jump into the instructions, let’s go over a few things you need to know.

  • Mature Seeds: For viable seeds that can grow, you need mature apples. While grocery store apples are usually mature, those picked from a tree mid-season might not have fully-formed seeds.
  • Stratification: Apple seeds, along with other fruit seeds like pear, peach, and cherry, require stratification (cold, damp conditions) for germination. The stratification time can vary between 60 and 90 days, depending on the variety.
  • Sprouting Success: Not all apple seeds will sprout, and even if they do, only about half of them may germinate. To increase your chances, start with a variety of apples.
  • Genetic Variation: Growing an apple tree from seed won’t give you the same type of apple as the one you started with. Most apple trees require cross-pollination from another tree, resulting in genetically diverse apples. Plant breeders usually propagate apple trees vegetatively to ensure specific cultivars.

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s dive into the steps for sprouting and planting apple seeds.

How to Sprout Apple Seeds

How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

Follow these steps to germinate your apple seeds:

Get Seeds Ready

Start by collecting seeds from different types of apples. Look for fully formed, dark brown seeds in apples like McIntosh, Delicious, Granny Smith, and others. Cut around the core of a ripe apple to avoid damaging the seeds with your knife. Take pictures for future reference.

Sand Seed Coats

To help seed germination, gently soften the seed coat through a process called scarification. Fold a small piece of sandpaper, rough sides together, and roll each seed between your fingers until you remove a bit of the coat. Be careful not to expose the embryo inside.

Soak in Moist Paper Towel

Spread the sanded seeds on a moist paper towel or dishcloth. Fold it up and place everything in a food storage container or plastic bag. This method allows you to monitor seed sprouting without digging them out of the soil.

Chill in Fridge

Label the container with the seed name and date and place it in the refrigerator. Apple seeds require temperatures around 40°F (4.4°C) for successful stratification. Check on the seeds weekly to ensure the paper towel remains moist. Depending on the variety, germination may take 60 to 90 days.

Planting Sprouted Apple Seeds

How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

Congratulations! Your apple seeds have sprouted, and now it’s time to plant them. Follow these steps:

  • Use a 4 to 6-inch wide and deep plastic flower pot with drainage holes.
  • Fill the pot with organic potting mix.
  • Transplant each seedling into its own container once they grow to about 6 to 8 inches tall to avoid tangled roots.

Winter Care

If you live in a cold climate and are growing your apple tree in a container, you’ll need to provide winter protection. Keep your potted tree watered until just before frosts begin. Then, find a sheltered location where temperatures stay slightly above freezing. Store the potted tree in an unheated garage, covering the soil and tree with a few inches of straw. Check on it regularly and water the potting mix if it becomes dry. In spring, gradually reintroduce the plant to outdoor conditions over a week or two. Eventually, you can find a suitable location in the ground for your apple tree to mature.

Frequently-Asked Questions

When Will My Apple Tree Produce Fruit?

How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

With optimal conditions, apple trees grown from seed may take 7 to 10 years to flower and bear fruit, but it’s not guaranteed. Some apple trees grown from seed never fruit. If you’re looking for a specific type of apple, it’s best to buy grafted apple trees. Additionally, understanding pollination is crucial. For cross-pollination and fruiting chances, you’ll need other apple trees nearby.

Are Apple Seeds Toxic?

Apple seeds contain a small amount of cyanogenic glycoside, a cyanide-based compound. However, you would need a large dose to experience harm. Accidentally swallowing apple seeds while eating isn’t a cause for concern, and there are no recorded cases of apple seed poisoning.

Can I Grow an Apple Tree Indoors?

Unfortunately, apple trees need the four seasons to thrive and cannot be grown indoors under normal household conditions.

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to try growing an apple tree from seed. For more gardening tips and creative ideas, remember to sign up for the free Empress of Dirt Newsletter.

~ Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛

How to Grow an Apple Tree from Seed: An Easy Tutorial

Related Posts: fig tree branch planting