How to Start an Apple Tree From Seed


The majority of professionally grown fruit trees are propagated through grafting and root cuttings, according to Purdue University Consumer Horticulture. Starting apple trees from seed is requires patience and time. To obtain one or two trees, it is important to use a handful of seeds due to low germination rates. Results for the features and quality of trees grown from seed vary more than other propagation methods, warns Purdue University Consumer Horticulture.

Step 1

Place two apples on a cutting board. Slice the apples in half. Pry out the apple seeds with the knife tip and rinse. Blot the apple seeds dry with a paper towel.

Step 2

Fill a small glass bowl 3/4 of the way full with peat moss. Mist the moss with water to dampen but not drench. Bury the apply seeds inside the peat moss. Make certain each seed is completely covered with peat moss.

Step 3

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Poke four to eight holes in the wrap to provide air circulation. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for three to four months.

Step 4

Combine peat moss and vermiculite together in equal portions. Fill the appropriate number of potting containers 3/4 full with the mixture.

Step 5

Plant three apple seeds in each container at a 1-inch depth. Water until soil mixture is damp. Cover each container with plastic wrap. Poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick for air circulation.

Step 6

Place containers in a low-light area for several weeks. Remove the plastic wrap and move to a sunnier location after the seedlings surface.

Step 7

Transfer seedlings outdoor when they reach a height of 4 inches or more.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid transferring apple trees outdoors in cold weather. Grow inside until the ground temperature is warm. Don't forget the apple seeds in the refrigerator and leave in past the four-month time period. Supervise children when obtaining the seeds from the apples.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 apples
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towel
  • Small glass bowl
  • Peat moss
  • Plastic wrap
  • Toothpick
  • Potting containers
  • Vermiculite
  • Water


  • Purdue University Consumer Horticulture: Growing Trees from Seeds

Who Can Help

  • Gardening Tips and Ideas: Seed Germination- How to Grow Apple Trees from Seed
Keywords: plant apple seed, grow apple tree, apple tree seed

About this Author

Lisha Smith writes for several blogs and has freelanced for six years. She has a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Greensboro in psychology. Smith has self-published several books. Her areas of experience include gardening, cooking, home improvement, pets and mental health.