Growing Apple Trees from Seed

It’s a fascinating long-term undertaking, but growing an apple tree from seeds of store-bought apples is entirely achievable. Apples may be grown from seed, but it’s not as simple to do as you would think. The more pressing question is whether you’d like to cultivate apples from seed.

Why Grow Apple Trees from Seeds?

Apples do not breed true to type, which means that apples produced by a tree grown from a certain kind of seed will nearly always be different from the parent. You may have a good time and try new things, but don’t anticipate the same results every time.

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Almost all types are also incapable of self-pollination. Pollen is transferred by insects such as bees. There is no way to tell the species of another parent tree unless you manually pollinate it.

Growing Apples From Seeds

With the right preparation, apple seeds are simple to cultivate at home, and seedlings are typically more robust than their grafted commercial counterparts. If you give apple tree seedlings three to four years, they will catch up to and surpass the size of a potted transplant. After that, you’ve got a tree that can live for centuries.

Before apple seeds germinate, they must be exposed to cold, moist conditions. Apple seeds may be planted outside in the fall to meet the chilly, wet requirements. Plant the seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch. Indoors, the cold, wet environment is also possible.

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How Long Does It Take Apple Trees to Bear Fruits?

From the moment you plant your seeds until the time the ensuing trees are grown enough to bear their first fruits, it can take up to a decade. And keep in mind that when they do, the fruits will most likely be significantly different from the apple type from whence the seeds came.

Dwarf apple trees begin providing fruit two to three years after they are planted. It might take up to 8 years for a standard-size tree to yield fruit. Insect or disease damage affects certain kinds more than others. Apple trees should be pruned once a year to maintain them healthy and fruitful.

What Do You Need to Consider Before Planting Apple Seeds?

Before going toward the steps of planting apple seeds, there are some points you should be aware of.

  • Seeds must be ripe in order to be viable. A grocery store apple will almost certainly develop, but an apple plucked from a tree in the middle of the growing period will not have completely formed seeds. So start with ripe, mature fruit.
  • The time it takes to stratify an apple varies and it depends on the type. It usually lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 days.
  • Not all seeds germinate. Even if you follow all of the instructions to the letter, some varieties will never sprout, and even if they do, only half will germinate. As a result, start a batch, preferably from many distinct varieties of apples, to maximize your chances.

How to Grow Apple Trees from Seeds?

Apples are one of the most challenging fruits to grow. Diseases such as fire blight, brown spots, and scabs, as well as insect infestations, are common in trees and fruits.

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Some apples have a lot of seeds, whereas others have few, none, or only small white casings where seeds should be. To enhance your chances, start with a large number of apples (15 to 25) from several varieties. If you do, keep track of each type and mark it so you know what works.

Prepare Your Seeds

To begin, the seeds must be exposed to cool temperatures for a period of time, a process known as stratification. Because their germination rate is barely 30%, you’ll need to put a lot of seeds in a bag with wet moss. Place in the fridge for 6 weeks before planting in a container. You’ll need to trim and train it later to make it become a proper apple tree.

Some of these seeds may have sprouted by the conclusion of the 6-week period. Because apple seeds have a low germination rate, this is a positive thing. Some sites claim as low as 30%, but I’d think ours was closer to 60%, so it’s certainly a variable.

Planting Your Seeds

Apple seeds may be planted like any other seed after a total of 6 weeks in a damp towel in the refrigerator. If it’s after the final early spring and the soil can be handled, they can be straight sown outside. We usually sprout them in pots since germination rates are poor and early nibbling from mice, voles, and squirrels might be a nuisance.

They may be planted in a repurposed one-gallon nursery container with some seed potting mix. As with any other seed (spring-planted) start, you need to keep the soil warm and wet.

Taking Care of Apple Plants

Once you have planted your apple plants, the following care tips will help your plant grow healthy.

Water Requirements of Apple Trees

How much water is required by apple trees depends on the amount of rain that falls. In general, you won’t need to water an established tree unless you don’t receive much rain or there’s an extremely dry period or even drought. Trees in their initial year of growth may require a bit more.

When you water your tree, be sure you don’t leave standing water or damp roots behind. This can be just as harmful to your tree as drought circumstances. Too much water deprives the soil of oxygen and hinders roots from getting essential nutrients, and renders a tree prone to decay and illness.

Light Requirement

When apple plants are in their growing season, they require at least eight hours of sunlight every day. Because apple trees demand full sun, they must be grown in a site that receives at least six hours of sunlight every day throughout the growing season.

Too much sunshine, on the other hand, can cause sunburn in young apple trees. Paint the trunks and major branches exposed to the sun with a combination of equal amounts of water and white latex paint when the trees are still young; the paint shields the exposed regions and reflects sunlight. For the first few seasons, you can use this paint protection can be employed until each tree develops a broad enough canopy to cover its trunk and branches.


As long as the soil is well-draining and healthy, apple trees will endure a broad range of soil depth, texture, structure, and acidity. Apple trees thrive on medium-clay well-draining sandy loam soils that are fertile and slightly acidic to neutral in pH between 5.8 and 6.5.

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Apple trees require phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen as well as different trace elements (the three digits on fertilizer bags). Fertilizers for home gardeners should have a greater nitrogen ratio to promote healthy development. Apples may be fertilized using granular 20-10-10 fertilizer.

Are Seeds of Apples Toxic?

Although apple seeds are deadly, it takes a large number of them to kill you, and only if they have been crushed.

Cyanogenic glycoside is a cyanide-based chemical that is found in apple seeds. However, it would take a very huge amount to cause damage. That’s why swallowing seeds by accident when eating apples isn’t a problem. There have been no reports of apple seed poisoning.

Apple Plant Issues and How to Troubleshoot Them

Keeping apple trees disease-free is an important aspect of good upkeep. Apple trees are susceptible to a variety of diseases. Infections range from fungal to bacterial. Some just cause cosmetic harm, while others can be fatal, destroying your apple trees and causing fruit loss.

Bumpy Blemishes on The Fruit Surface

If the fruit has rough imperfections on the surface that do not penetrate the skin.

Capsid bugs are most likely present in your apples. In the spring, these little green bugs survive the winter in fallen leaves and feast on emerging fruit and leaves. Though they may make the apple peel slightly rough, the taste is unaffected.

If the infestation appears to be minor, overlook the bugs this season and clear up the leaf litter in the fall to minimize the population the next year.

Apple Scab

Apple scab appears as black lesions on the apple tree’s leaves and fruit. Your tree may be infested with apple scab if you observe strange, black splotches on it.

A fungus causes apple scab, which results in diseased leaves and fruit. This bacterium flourishes in cold, damp settings, so if you reside in the north, you’re more likely to come across it.

To begin, remove any fallen leaves from the area around your apple tree. When spring returns, the likelihood of infected leaf litter transmitting spores to the tree is reduced. As soon as new shoots sprout in the spring, spray your apple tree with a commercial fungicide every two weeks.

Distorted Leaves with Sticky Patches

This is typical aphid damage, which is most visible on the backside of apple leaves. Aphids aren’t going to cause significant harm to your apple tree on their own, but you can manage them with insecticidal soap.

Flyspeck and Sooty Blotch

The symptoms of these three diseases are matte black or grey patches with small black flecks. Flyspeck and sooty blotch are distinguished by little black blotch or speckles on the fruit. This makes apples appear less appealing, but it has no effect on the taste of the fruit.

Pruning and sanitizing are the two easy methods of treating various species of fungus. This improves air circulation and minimizes the chance of germs growing on healthy fruit and branches.

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Mix one ounce of bleach with one gallon of water if you observe sooty blotch or flyspeck. To remove the fruit, gently rub it with the mixture and a moist towel.

White Fluffy Areas on Tree Branches

If the fluff is limited to stems and branches, this seems like a woolly aphid infestation. While these insects are unlikely to do significant harm to your tree on their own, they do promote the spread of illnesses such as canker, which can lead to more serious problems.

You can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to spot-treat treat affected regions, or you can clip out the infected limbs entirely.

Insect Holes and Lumpy Indents on Fruits

The plum curculio is most likely to blame. By feeding on buds, blooms, and early-set fruit, this little weevil can inflict considerable harm early in the growing season. Adult females pierce a hole in the apple fruit into which they lay their eggs, and the larvae eat the fruit until they reach adulthood and emerge.

Early pesticide application, as well as removing any diseased apples as soon as possible and avoiding windfalls from decaying under trees, can assist.

Cedar Apple Rust

It is a fungus that reproduces by infecting two different hosts. Gymnosporangium juniperi-vinginianae is the pathogen that causes it.

The lesions on the branches and fruit of cedar-apple rust can be identified. This disease usually affects young branches and grows in size over the course of the growing season.

To avoid reinfection from leftover spores, remove any dead branches and damaged fruit, as well as any debris.

Remove any lesions you find on cedar trees in the vicinity as well. The fungal life cycle will be disrupted, and the danger of infection recurrence will be reduced.

Tips to Grow Healthy Apple Trees

  • Apple trees are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Keeping the area surrounding a tree clean by eliminating weeds to limit nutrient competition and cleaning any plant waste to reduce disease spread will help prevent issues.
  • Pruning or rimming an apple tree is not only suggested but also required.


To grow apple trees healthier are put in well-drained soil that does not become too wet.  plant apple trees in rainy areas; willows and bald cypress are better for that! An eastern or northern slope, with the tree growing at the top in a sunny spot, would be excellent.

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