How to Plant Fruit Trees From Seeds


If you've ever thrown an apple into a compost pile only to find a seedling growing months later, you've accidentally germinated a fruit tree from seed. While planting fruit trees from seeds can be a fun exercise, you'll need to be patient: Such trees are not true to type and they often don't bear fruit for many years. Gardeners hoping to plant fruit trees from seed have two methods to get the seed started: Direct planting and refrigeration.

Direct Planting

Step 1

Collect fruit tree seed from the fruit you wish to grow in autumn .

Step 2

Prepare a sunny spot in your yard for direct planting. Pull out any weeds and turn the soil over with a shovel to aerate it. Create a furrow no more than twice the length of your seed, according to Penn State University. Push your seed into the hole.

Step 3

Cover over the seed with soil. Pour 1 to 2 inches of sand over the soil to protect the fruit seed.

Step 4

Create a barricade against squirrels and other critters. Push hardware cloth or wire mesh over the seed in a small dome, burying the edges of the mesh into the ground.

Step 5

Leave the seedling alone through the winter. Watch for seedlings in April. If you see seedlings, remove the wire mesh so it doesn't inhibit growth.

Refrigerator Method

Step 1

Collect fruit seeds and air dry them. Save them in a glass jar until mid-January.

Step 2

Shred a paper towel, then dampen the pieces. They should be moist but not soggy. Place the shredded paper towel into the container with the seeds and turn them over with your fingers to mix them in. Place the container in your refrigerator until April or after the last frost for your area. The seeds need at least 60 days of refrigeration, according to Penn State University.

Step 3

Prepare a furrow in the ground in the same manner as for the direct planting method. Plant your seeds in the furrow. Then water the area lightly so that it remains moist but not wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Fruit seeds
  • Sand
  • Wire mesh
  • Glass jar
  • Paper towel
  • Water


  • Purdue University: Growing Trees from Seed
  • Penn State University: Growing New Fruit Tree Plants from Seed
Keywords: plant fruit trees, plant tree seeds, grow from seed

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.