How to Plant Fruit Trees From Harvested Seeds


Fruit trees are normally propagated by grafting but can also be grown from harvested seeds. You can save seeds from produce purchased at the grocery store, but the seeds will not necessarily be the same variety of the purchased fruit. For example, if you ate a Gala apple and saved the seeds, you may end up growing a Granny Smith apple tree. This is due to grafting and cross pollination in commercial orchards. Purchasing commercially harvested seeds gives you two advantages: you can be certain of the variety and the seeds have already gone through the stratification process.

Step 1

Mix potting soil and vermiculite. The ratio should be two parts potting soil to one part vermiculite. This will produce a well draining soil mixture.

Step 2

Fill seed flats with soil mixture. Use a seed flat that has dividers for individual plants and has a depth of at least four inches. Fill each section three-quarters full of soil mixture.

Step 3

Place one seed in each section of the seed flat. Plant the seeds to a depth of one-half inch. Cover the seed with the soil mixture.

Step 4

Water the seeds every other day to keep the soil moist. Moist soil encourages germination. Seeds will germinate in seven to 90 days depending on the variety of fruit tree you are growing.

Step 5

Transplant seedlings into one quart flower pots. Seedlings are ready to transplant once they have developed two to three leaves.

Step 6

Water seedlings once per week keeping the soil moist. Do not allow the soil to become dry.

Step 7

Fertilize seedlings once per month. Use a fertilizer specifically for fruit trees.

Step 8

Transplant seedlings into a permanent location. Seedlings are ready to transplant into the ground after one to two years.

Step 9

Dig a hole in a sunny location. The hole should be twice as wide and a slightly shallower than the root ball of the seedling. Set the soil from the hole aside.

Step 10

Mix the soil from the hole with compost. Use an equal ratio of soil to compost. This creates a nutrient rich, well draining soil.

Step 11

Plant the seedling. Remove the seedling from its container and loosen the root ball. Gently spread the roots out in the hole.

Step 12

Cover the roots with soil. The soil should cover the roots leaving one-half inch of the crown (point where the trunk and roots join) exposed. Lightly tamp the soil around the base of the tree.

Step 13

Install tree stakes. Place two stakes on opposites of the tree. Attach the tree to the stakes using jute twine. There should be no slack, or looseness, in the twine.

Step 14

Place a 3-foot diameter ring of mulch around the base of the tree. Mulch will help retain moisture and provide root protection during the winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed flats
  • Potting soil
  • Vermiculite
  • Fruit tree seeds
  • 1 quart flower pots
  • Fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Tree stakes
  • Jute twine
  • Mulch


  • Gardening Tips and Ideas: Seed Germination: How to grow an apple tree from seeds
  • Perdue University Consumer Horticulture: Growing Trees from Seed
Keywords: plant fruit trees, grow fruit trees from seed, plant fruit tree seed

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.