How to Plant Apple Seeds— Ultimate Growing Guide

A group of green apples in a tree with its leaves
Apple has five seed pockets which can produce seeds according to the health and variety of the plants ranging from one seed to maximum eight.

Having an Apple orchard might seem daunting because of the grafting process, but did you know you can create your orchard by planting Apple seeds?

Apple seeds have the viability to produce an entire fruit tree from seeds.

To plant Apple seeds, collect the seed from the ripe Apple and let it stratify in the cold fridge or under moist soil to boost germination. After 3 to 4 months, plant the sprouted seeds into a pot or outdoor soil during fall and wait patiently for at least 7 to 8 years to enjoy fruits.

A person is scrapping off seeds from apple with the help of knife, over a table.
A single apple might not provide you with enough seed, so cut off many apples of different varieties.

The mentioned time may have scared you off but think of the time when those beautiful trees will bear fruits you can enjoy with your kids and family.

So, do not skim the article to know the entire process of planting the Apple seeds successfully.

Overview of Apple Seeds

Apple trees growing from seeds takes about five to ten years to bear fruit.

The seeds produced by the Apple are hybrids formed from the genes of two different parents, giving rise to a completely different variety. 

A person is holding an apple in her hand.
Choose a fully ripe apple, as immature seeds might not germinate.

Apple plants love cold temperatures for their growth but give harvest in the mid-summer, but not in the same year of the plantation.

The table below helps you identify Apple seeds by providing an overview.

Seed AttributesProperties
ShapeOval and elongated
ColorWhite to brown from immature to mature stage
Size7.69 - 9.43 mm in length
4.02 - 4.87 mm in width
2.01 - 2.03 mm in thickness
WeightAbout 0.7 gram
Seeds Per Apple fruit1 to 8
Harvesting SeasonEarly August to late September
Germination InitiatorCold stratification
Germination Time3 - 4 months
Germination To Flowering TimeAbout 5 to 10 years depending on variety
Treatment Prior To GerminationStratification of seeds in fridge at the temperature of 3°C - 4°C or in moist soil during fall
Germination TemperatureBetween 60°F to 75°F
Seed Sowing TimeEarly spring fr colder zones
Autumn or fall for warmer zones
Soil Type and pH For Seed GerminationWell-draining soil with pH between 5.5 and 7
Seed Sowing Depth1 inch deep
ToxicitySeeds is toxic to human and pets but not the fleshy fruit

When to Plant Apple Seeds?

Apple has received the name temperate fruit for its ability to handle the cold threshold for four hours at -20ºC.

But do not leave out the sub-tropical and tropical varieties of Apples, which you can grow in the warmer zone.

The best time to plant the Apple seeds in the northern cold zones is during the spring, and for the zones with a less severe cold, planting would be better during the early spring or late fall.

A group of four pot filled with soil and containing seedling in the each of them.
Apple trees can bear fruit true to their parent only when grafted but not when grown with seeds.

Besides, Apple seeds germinate properly when the soil temperature is chilly, as Apple seeds need stratification to break their dormancy.

So to allow the seeds to experience chill and moist conditions, let them germinate outdoors during the fall, which usually takes 60 to 90 days.

Alternatively, you can do it indoors using a paper towel, peat moss, and a refrigerator.

How to grow the Apple from seeds?

Growing Apples from seeds requires time and patience as it is long until you receive the fruits, and not all seeds will sprout.

Remember to choose different varieties of apples, including McIntosh, Red Rome, Honeycrisp, Sparta, Fuji, and Gala, based on their growth in different USDA zone.

Now, let us know about the planting process.

1. Planting Apple Seeds Indoors

Growing indoors might be complicated as hardy plants like Apple demands four seasons for their growth, but it is not impossible.

Instead, it will be fun to try it indoors.

Germination of Apple Seeds

At first, you should have the seed for which you do not need to go to the seed department.

Instead, you can use a ripe apple fruit bought from the store, and it is best if you start germination in the fall. 

  • Cut the apple to its core but do not hurt the carpel of the seeds.
  • Scrape off the Apple’s seeds with a knife and collect as much seed as possible.
  • To check the viability of seeds, put them in a water bowl. Discard the ones that float, as planting them will be a waste of time.
Five to six seeds of apple is inside a transparent bow containing water.
Check the seeds before planting, as some seeds lack viable embryos or endosperm.
  • Dry the seeds over a paper towel and leave them as it is for at least one week by turning the seed upside down every two days.
  • When they have dried out, mix the seeds with a few tablespoons of peat moss and sprinkle some water on it.
  • Shift the entire mix with seeds to a zipper-lock bag and use a marker to note down the date of packing.
  • Lastly, put the bag into the refrigerator for stratification.

However, do not expect your seeds to have magic and germinate in just two days.

You need to wait for the seeds patiently for at least three to four months to see the seeds germinate. 

Potting of Apple Seeds Indoors

Potting comes after the seeds have germinated and have broken out of their dormancy.

Start potting in the early spring but before starting, take a quick guide below!

  • Firstly, take the bag out of the refrigerator and separate the seed from the moss using your hands.
  • See the seeds that have sprouted successfully and keep them aside from the non-sprouted ones.
  • Prepare a pot with a diameter of 4 to 6 inches and a similar depth. To avoid transplant shock, use a biodegradable pot like a peat pot.
  • Fill the pot with a loamy potting mix, and there should be enough drainage holes.
  • Dig a hole of an inch in the soil and make at least two to three holes of the same depth at a distance of three inches from one another.
Nine germinated seeds of apple over a white paper.
The sprouts of the seeds should be above the ground, and the round part should be inside the soil.
  • Put the germinated seeds in the holes, cover them with light soil, and pour water to wet the soil.
  • Then, transfer the pot into a location receiving at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. It is better if it is a greenhouse, but if not, no problem.
  • Water the young plants twice a week in the growing stage till they form seedlings with the growth of five to six leaves.

After completing all steps, you must transplant it outdoors into a place receiving direct sunlight and well-draining soil.

2. Planting Apple Seeds Outdoors

If you plant Apple seeds outdoors, you need not transplant them once the seedlings grow.  

Planting in early spring or fall meets the essential requirement for Apple seeds to grow outdoors.

  • Firstly, soak the seeds in water for at least an hour to enhance germination.
  • Choose a location receiving plenty of direct sunlight, and the soil should be light loamy with a proper drainage system.
  • Remove all the weeds from the ground to prevent Apple’s seedlings from fighting for nutrients with the weeds.
  • Break out the lumps of soil into tiny particles and remove any big rocks and stones from the ground.
  • Add an inch of garden-made compost or store-bought compost to enrich the nutrient value of the soil.
  • After adding the compost, make a furrow of 12 inches long and one inch deep to plant the seeds.
  • If you plan to grow more seeds of Apple, place one seed per furrow and maintain a distance of 12 inches between the seeds. 
  • Lastly, cover the seeds with an inch of sand to protect them from frost in cold weather, as the germination period can extend up to 3 to 4 months.
  • Water the seeds as soon as you plant them in the soil. Later maintain a regular interval for watering and once a week for the dry region.

The planting of Apple seeds is for the ones with patience as the trees take at least four years to attain a height of 4 feet.

According to University of Maryland Extension, Apples are self-unfruitful. So to produce fruits, plant varieties of Apples within the range of 100 feet as the Apple tree cross-pollinates to bear fruits.

And to see the Apple fruits, you should be patient for at least eight years, extending up to 10 years depending on the variety.

Let this video be of help to you!

Tips to Care for Apple after Planting

Apple trees revolve around their growing stages, including germination, formation of seedlings, the bushy stage, the flowering stage, and finally, fruiting.

If you want your plant to complete all these stages, you must fulfill all the requirements below.

  • Provide the plants with at least 8 hours of direct sunlight indoors or outdoors.
  • Maintain the relative humidity within the range of 65 – 80%.
  • For the germination of seeds, keep the temperature within the range of 35 – 40ºF, and the growth temperature should be less than 90ºF.
  • Provide two inches of water per week for the young while one inch of water per week for the mature plant, which varies according to the soil type and tree size. 
  • Maintain the soil to be slightly acidic to neutral, loamy with a well-draining system and a pH of 5.5-7.
  • Fertilize your Apple plant once a year during the spring with 20-10-10 N-P-K granular fertilizer.
  • Apple plant requires repotting into a larger container after 12 months of planting in the pot and later every two to three years until it reaches full height if grown in pots.
A pot filled with soil and a seedling is sprouting.
After the seedling stage, the plant demands repotting to establish its roots for at least 2 to 3 years.
  • Avoid pruning the tree branches in the first four to five years to prevent the stunted growth of the Apple tree.
  • Protect your seedlings and plant from the pests like aphids, moths, and capsid buds using insecticidal soap and systemic insecticide.
  • Diseases that attack the plants are scabs, mildew, and canker. You can treat them by improving air circulation in roots, removing the damaged parts, and burning them. 

Conclusion

Apple seeds planting is easier than grafting as it does not need expertise and can initiate quickly, giving you a mature tree in about 4 to 5 years.

However, do not be upset if your plant bears no fruit because Apple seeds’ germination rate is a tricky subject.

Although all the seeds germinate and produce seedlings, only 10 out of 100 might have a successful bearing.

But who knows, your seeds can be the luckiest to bear fruit!

Have patience, and keep planting!

If you wish to learn about quick germination, read germinating seed in a paper towel.

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