How to Start Crabapple Trees From a Pit


Crabapples are also known as crab-trees, wild apples and school boy apples. The crabapple is a fruit-producing tree believed to be an indigenous to Kazakhstan. The trees are not just grown for their fall fruit, but also for their ornamental value. In spring, crabapples provide a plethora of showy blossoms, and in summer and fall, fruit and brilliantly colored foliage.

Preparing Crabapple Seeds

Step 1

Remove the crabapple seeds from the crabapple. Rinse the crabapple seeds off by placing them in a strainer and pouring warm water over them for 30 seconds to one minute.

Step 2

Set the crabapple seeds onto paper towels to dry for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 3

Mix together 1 cup of sphagnum moss and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water inside a zipper-top polythene bag. The sphagnum moss should be moist to the touch, but not dripping wet. Squeeze out excess moisture from the sphagnum moss if necessary.

Step 4

Remove the crabapple seeds from the paper towels after they have been allowed to dry and put them inside the polythene bag. Squeeze out any extra air from the bag as you zip it closed.

Step 5

Place the bag of crabapple seeds into a refrigerator or other 35 to 40 degrees F location. Check on the bag every two or three days to make sure the sphagnum moss in the bag is moist, Mist the sphagnum moss with water as needed. Keep the bag in the cold location between 60 and 120 days. You can plant the crabapple seeds at any time between the 60 and 120 days, as long as there is no more frost expected in your growing region.

Planting Crabapple Seeds Outdoors

Step 1

Cultivate the planting area to a depth of between 10 and 12 inches. Use a garden rake to remove all weed clumps, rocks or roots.

Step 2

Mix into the soil a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic media. Such as compost, rotted manure or leaf mold.

Step 3

Create 1/2 inch deep rows in your planting are that are between 10 and 12 inches wide. However long you make the rows is up to you, and how much space you have in your garden.

Step 4

Plant the crabapple seeds from between 2 and 3 inches apart. Push the crabapple seeds into the soil with a garden hoe or the base of your hand.

Step 5

Cover the crabapple seeds with no more than 1/2 inch of garden soil. Mark the area with garden stakes so it will be easier to water the crabapple seeds.

Step 6

Mist the planted area with a fine spray of water until the soil is well watered. Take care not to use a stream of water which could possibly displace the crabapple seeds. Keep the seed bed moist, spray with water as needed. Crabapple seeds should germinate in 30 to 60 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Crabapples
  • Strainer
  • Paper towels
  • Spaghum moss
  • Sealable polythene bag
  • Spade
  • Garden rake
  • Compost
  • Hoe
  • Wooden garden stakes


  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Crabapples
  • Iowa State University: Germinating Tree Seeds
  • The University of Florida: Crabapples

Who Can Help

  • North Caroline State University: Seed Germination
  • United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Map
Keywords: germinating crabapple seeds, growing crabapples from seeds, planting crabapple seeds

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.