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What Is an Apple Pip?

By Rachel Lovejoy ; Updated July 21, 2017
An overhead view of an apple cut in half on a table exposing the seeds.
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"Pip" means the seed of an apple (Malus domestica). A simple way to view the pips is to cut an apple in half, revealing the tough core that houses varying numbers of seeds based on the type and the health of the parent plant. A single apple seed, however, rarely produces the same type of tree from which it was grown. Most apple trees today are hybrids, or crosses, of at least two other types, with the focus placed on developing more disease-resistant or more productive varieties. Pips must undergo a cooling period in order to germinate properly.

Cool Your Pips

Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 8, apples are grown from pips that have been chilled at a steady temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit during a period of dormancy that is also called after-ripening. This subjects the pips to the same conditions they would experience if left outside during the winter. In fact, planting the seeds outside in the fall is one way to accomplish the after-ripening, during which the seed's embryo develops fully and becomes capable of producing new growth. The other method involves refrigerating the seeds for a specific time before planting them.

Germination Rate

According to the University of Minnesota Extension's website, fruit trees sold commercially are grown using root stock and scion, plus a secondary variety stock that is grafted onto the root stock. If you plant apple pips -- after the chilling process -- it takes another six to eight weeks before they germinate.


About the Author


Rachel Lovejoy has been writing professionally since 1990 and currently writes a weekly column entitled "From the Urban Wilderness" for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine, as well as short novellas for Amazon Kindle. Lovejoy graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.