Can I grow an apple tree from a seed?


Can I grow an apple tree from a seed?


It is possible to grow an apple tree from an apple seed.  However, in most cases, apple trees don't come true from seeds.  For example, a seed taken from a Red Delicious apple will not produce a Red Delicious apple tree.  Seedling apple trees are genetically different and usually inferior to the parent tree.  Most apple trees are propagated by grafting.  Grafting allows growers to produce trees that are identical (genetically) to one another.

While a tree grown from an apple seed is likely to be disappointing, it's not difficult to germinate apple seeds.  Apple seeds need to be exposed to cool, moist conditions before they will germinate.  The cool, moist requirement can be accomplished by planting apple seeds outdoors in fall.  Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep.  The cool, moist requirement can also be attained indoors.  Place a layer of moist sand in the bottom of a small container, such as a plastic margarine tub, place the apple seeds on the moist sand, and then cover the seeds with additional moist sand.  Punch 1 or 2 small holes in the plastic lid and then place it on the container.  Place the container in the refrigerator for 90 to 120 days.  (The temperature in the refrigerator should be 37 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit.)  Afterwards, remove the seeds from the refrigerator and plant indoors.  Plant the seeds 1/2 deep in a commercial potting mix.  Keep the potting mix moist until the seeds germinate. 

More information about growing plants from seed can be found on this page: Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Last updated on
February 8, 2023