Growing Apples From Seed by Hand is Easier Than You Think!

Growing apples from seed is something that EVERYONE should do at least once.

Think of it. Instead of going to the store to buy apples, you could walk to the other room. You could enjoy something that would produce heavily for YEARS to come.

Thankfully, now is the perfect time to grow trees from seed since winter is in full swing. The presence of cold is crucial for starting apples from seed. How? Well, You’ll have to read on!

This method is tried and true, I used this exact method four years ago, and my tree is still going strong! You can check it out on my Instagram.

Before Growing Apples From Seed

The reason why most apples are grown from seed is that humans like reliability and predictability. Therefore, most apple trees are grown through grafting and stem propagation.

Apples are like humans; they won’t be exactly like the parent or grow true to seed. For example, if you plant a seed from a Gala Apple, you will most likely not get a Gala Apple.

Don’t let that discourage you from growing apples from seed, however! It’s like a lottery. Try your luck, and you could get a variety never grown before!

Even if the product isn’t great, you could still use the flowers as a bee magnet plant to attract pollinators! Or turn the apples into hard cider.

Growing apples from seed take about the same time [8 years] to produce fruit as a transplant will. If you are concerned about time, try buying seeds for a dwarf variety tree to shorten that time to 6 years.

It takes a lot of time, but the payoff will be for decades to come! Not to mention you learn how to germinate things from seed, which many people find difficulty doing.

Close up of apple tree grown from seed
My apple tree 4 years after germination. Definitely due for a repot next season

How to Grow Apples From Seed

Starting apple trees from seed is the same method as the germination paper towel method! The only difference is that you pop it in the fridge for a while and do a few extra things that will make the entire process quicker.

Step 1: Prepare The Seeds

Apple seeds need cold stratification to trigger the germination process. In nature, apples would fall and germinate on the snowy ground.

Germinating apples is most successful from mature seeds. Make sure to cut from ripe apples of different varieties.

If your apples are extra ripe, you might find that some seeds already had sprouted inside the apple! If this is the case, skip ahead to step four.

After cutting out your seeds, wash away any remaining pulp. You can also choose to lightly sand the seed coat to help it absorb more moisture!

Cut apple with seeds in it against black background

Step 2: Place Your Seeds on A Paper Towel

Wet a paper towel and squeeze out the excess water so that it’s moist. Lay the paper towel out flat on a flat surface.

From others’ experience, sometimes apple seeds don’t have the best germination rate. For me, only one or two end up molding or not germinating at all. To avoid this, place 10 seeds on the paper towel.

This is for two things. One, you’re guaranteed to get at least one plant to sprout. And two, some apple trees need an opposite sex tree to pollinate so you can have at least two trees ready for pollination.

If you are growing different varieties, use multiple, separate paper towels.

Apple tree full of apples from seed

Step 3: Place Your Apple Seeds in The Fridge

Gently fold over the paper towel with the seeds like a tiny package. Place the paper towel in a sandwich bag and close the bag. Leave a little gap open for airflow.

After, write the current date and variety on the bag with a marker, and pop it in the fridge! Set a reminder for two months after the current date.

Apple seeds need around 60-90 days to sprout and mature. You can check every two weeks for mold and progress.

You’ll know if a seed has molded if it feels incredibly slimy or has the trademark fuzz. If you find mold, throw it out and put all the other seeds in a new paper towel. Wash the plastic bag and place the new paper towel in there.

apple seedling grown from seed

Step 4: Start Growing Apples From Seed After Sprouting

After your apple seeds have sprouted, you can plant three of them in a 6-inch pot full of potting soil [not garden soil] to develop. Repot your apple trees the right way when they are 2 inches tall to give them their own space.

And congratulations! You just germinated an apple tree!

So What’s Next, Sarika?

Caring for apple trees is a whole other ballgame, from treating diseases to overwintering. It’s a lot! So expect more on growing apples from seeds in the future!

If you want to learn about more plants to grow and get to know me personally, subscribe to my Plant of the Month! I share gardening experiences and teach you about a new plant every month! You can always unsubscribe!

Before you go, don’t forget to snag your gardening dictionary! I collected and defined more the 100 of the most common gardening terms you’ll come across. So that next time you encounter a gardening word, you’re not scratching your head and saying, “Huh?”.

And that’s all for now. Happy Gardening, till we meet again.

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My name is Sarika, and I am the founder of “The Blossoming Gardener”! Let me tell you a little bit about myself…Read more

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