How to Start Apple Trees From Seeds


Growing apples from seed is something of a gamble: You never know what you're going to get. That's because most commercially grown apples have been engineered for optimum flavor, texture and sweetness, while apple trees for the home are generally purchased at nurseries after having been grafted from existing trees with proven track records. Still, if you're willing to take a chance starting apple trees from seeds can be done.

Step 1

If your apple tree seeds are of the unpackaged variety--if you're going to pluck them from the core of the Red Delicious or Granny Smith you've just finished eating--then rinse them off and set them aside to dry in a cool place.

Step 2

Chill your apple seeds in the refrigerator for about six weeks, wrapped in a paper towel.

Step 3

Fill a seedling tray with peat moss and plant the apple seeds at a depth of about 1/2 inch. Set aside in a cool place and wait for them to germinate, which should take about a week to 10 days.

Step 4

Wait until the seedlings have two or three leaves and then transplant them to a bigger pot, 8 to 12 inches in circumference, filled with topsoil.

Step 5

When the tree reaches a height of about 2 feet, plant in the ground, digging a hole three times as wide and as deep as the root ball and filled with equal parts dirt you removed from the hole and topsoil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apple trees started from seed only have about a 30 percent success rate of growing into a mature, fruit-bearing tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Apple seeds (or an apple)
  • Seedling tray
  • Potting mix
  • Topsoil
  • Water
  • Shovel


  • Gardening Tips 'n' Ideas
  • Garden Action
Keywords: growing apple trees from seed, apple tree propagation, growing fruit trees

About this Author

Thomas K. Arnold is the publisher and editorial director of Home Media Magazine and a regular contributor on entertainment to "USA Today", "The Hollywood Reporter," "San Diego Magazine" and other publications. An alumnus of San Diego State University, Arnold has appeared on such TV shows as "CNN", "E! Entertainment" and "G4's Attack of the Show" to discuss home entertainment and technology issues.