Growing Apple Trees From Seed.




I am going to tell you how to grow apple trees from seed. This is a lot more complicated than just throwing a few seeds in the ground, but with my help I can show you how.

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Step 1: Materials Needed

 You will need:
An apple
Paper towel
plastic bag
Later On:
Grafting tape or Cling film
Grafting Wax or Masking tape

Step 2: Getting the Seeds

 Now, Carefully cut down the middle of an apple and take out the seeds. You may need a few apples always remember on average only 30% of your seeds will germinate.

Step 3: Getting the Seeds to Germinate

 Now we need to get our or paper towel and wrap our seeds in them. Wet the paper towel and put it in the plastic bag. Make sure the plastic bag is sealed tight, and put it in the fridge. Your seeds should take about a month to germinate but check every few weeks and wet again if dry. Your seeds will start to have little white sprouts coming out of them soon enough thats when you know there ready for planting.

Step 4: Planting Seeds

 Once the seeds have germinated just drop them into any pots about 1 - 2" deep and cover in good compost. Then just watch them grow.

Step 5: The Most Important Step: Grafting

 This step is vital or you apple trees will not produce any apples.
First wait until your apple trees are about 30-60 cm high.(Like in picture)  
Now there are many different methods of grafting apple trees but the one I use and find most helpful is the "Whip and Tongue" graft.

Use pictures to help with the graft. Pictures used on random pieces of wood for an example.
Firstly you get a piece of wood (Scion wood) from the variety of apple you want.
Then you cut down at an angle on wood.
Now make an identical cut on the apple tree.
Then cut downwards on the sliced wood. Do this on both tree and scion wood.
Then push together and wrap with cling film and then masking tape.

Step 6: Watch for Results Some Will Be Unsuccessful.

 Watch closely for results if you graft is growing leaves then it is successful if it isn't it probably isn't successful, After 1-3 months take off the grafting tape.

Step 7: Watch Your Lovely Apple Tree Grow.

Thanks for reading my instructable.

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190 Discussions


8 weeks ago

Hi, I’m growing 100 apple trees from seed. They are about 3-4 inches tall. However, they are all turning brown and yellow. Please help!


Question 2 months ago

Does it become a real tree


Question 1 year ago on Step 4

Most of my 24 seeds germinated and now they are just wilting away... I don’t want to lose them all. What should I do?

1 answer

Answer 6 months ago

i am having the same thing happen what should we do


Question 7 months ago on Step 3

Is it better to start the seeds pointy end up, or with the pointy end down? I can never remember, but it seems to me like the root should come straight out and go down into the soil directly. Or is it better to start the seeds with the pointy end up? Do tell.


Question 7 months ago on Step 2

In the half apple image, above the two visible seeds, are two very small dark things... that I have always wondered about. Are they immature seeds? Are they miniature but viable seeds? Are they not seeds at all? What are they? Please illuminate me.


10 months ago

Contrary to most believe, apples can grow in the tropics (in Nigeria to be specific). I and some research colleagues have done extensive work and have been able to grow and maintain four varieties within three species of temperate apples namely Malus domestica “Top Red”, Malus domestica “Cripps Red”, Malus pumila “Pink Lady” and Malus sylvestris “Granny Smith”, actually my farm (Ikol farms) helps individuals, companies or institutions develop tropically pre-adapted apple seedlings for tree orchards. The major reason why people have failed in this attempt is that most species of apples are self-infertile, that is they require another species or different variety to pollinate them. If you plant just one variety without a matching cross pollination will end up having the flowers just blossom and then wither with no formation of fruits at all.


1 year ago on Introduction

It was not complicated at all for me. I took 4 apple seeds put them in the cupboard to dry. After a couple weeks put them in a ziploc bag open just so they wouldn't get lost. When I had a pot I got some potting soil and threw them in the dirt. 2 out of 4 sprouted to my amazement since I did nothing Google said. comes taking care of them and I guess I'll see how it goes lol


Question 1 year ago on Step 5

I planted my seeds 2 years ago I have really good little trees growing in my pots but I do not understand the grafting is there a video I can watch ??


Question 1 year ago on Introduction

I have an establish apple tree grown from pip but does not flower its trained against a wall. Can I graft a fruiting tree onto it now so it bares fruit. It’s about 6/8 yrs old now, it has plenty of leaves and is healthy looking but no buds. Help!


3 years ago

There are a lot of misconceptions and errors in this thread, and some good stuff too. The article is really about growing apple root stock from seeds in order to graft on a variety that you like, such as pink lady, Wickson, etc...... Nothing wrong with that. People used to do this all the time. If these seeds were allowed to grow out and produce fruit instead of grafting them to another variety, each one would produce a unique new variety of apple, which may or may not be good and may or may not resemble the original parent.

Most of what you read or hear about growing new varieties from seed is very negative. Michael Pollan in particular has done a great disservice by blugeoning home the message in his book Botany of Desire that it is almost impossible to grow really good apples from seed . The experience of many people disproves that notion though. For instance, my friend Freddy Menge has been growing seedlings and says that more of the apples he grows from seed are worth eating than not... and he's a picky apple collector. My very first open pollinated apple seedling to fruit is quite promising and I happily ate all of them. I named it BITE ME! for all the people that say it can't be done. I have over 100 intentionally cross pollinated seedlings growing and more coming this year. If you want to know more about growing apples from seed intentionally to produce new varieties, I'm producing a youtube video series that follows my efforts and shows how I do everything. I hope to start getting fruit from those this year.

In short, I think more people should be growing fruit from seed and a little intention in selection of parents can probably go a long way toward skewing results in our favor.

Apple Breeding video playlist:

Bite me!

6 replies

Reply 1 year ago

Thanks 4 the positive vibes n video efforts. I'll check it out later :-) Americans r raised 2 go 2 the store & buy a bag of apples. Unfortunately, it's not in r vocabulary 2 "grow your own trees from seed. " I only started that journey recently as my mom has a little orchard in her backyard. I want 2 leave an even bigger orchard 4 r next generation (my daughter & nephews) plus teach the kids in r family 2 b self reliant in the process. Part of the problem is that we're raised in such a commercialized atmosphere that we don't know anything other than pre-packaged foods...which is ruining r overall health & quality of life. We CAN grow r own trees, but the pioneers of r time r being totally discouraged online. Only the serious rebels don't care what others r saying & r going 4 it anyway. I'm 1 of those ppl....bound & determined 2 do it anyway because my daughter deserves 2 learn how 2 really feed herself & her future family. Doing nothing is not an option. We gotta try. R great grandparents didn't bring r ancestors into this world going 2 a store n buying a bag of apples. We need 2 take this "do it anyway despite what u hear" approach in more avenues of r lives. Thanks 4 the encouragement! Keep it up please!


Reply 3 years ago

I think you should read or perhaps reread Michael Pollans' book Botany of Desire he actually credits John Chapman or people like him with spreading and nurturing apple seeds which have led to most known American varieties.Every garden/Hort/herbal/plant book that I have read that talks about planting seeds mentions 1in 50000 apple seeds will produce an apple as good as either parent. Pollan does not walk that line in his book.As a side note it I have spent a lot of time looking for someone that has actually run the experiment. Gathering 50,000 apple seeds grown and collected under the same growing conditions then planted and germinated under the same conditions and then waited the 3-15 years for the trees to fruit etc,etc. Does anyone actually have that much time, money and land to perform this experiment? I would love to see the results.


Reply 1 year ago

I did re-read it and he states repeatedly that the odds are enormously against getting anything good to eat. The relevant quotes are here:

It is very overstated and the entire chapter is wrapped around the mistaken idea that almost all apples from seed are not worth growing for anything but cider. That was the message. He mistakenly picked up that idea and ran with it. his point was that almost all the apples from seed sucked and were good for only cider and it was only by sheer numbers that new varieties happened. He may not have understood at the time either just how many apples sprung from that chaos of seeding planting. It wasn't just seedlings planted to grow as seedlings, but seedlings were used as rootstocks then and often ended up overgrowing the top, or the top might die. Many good apples have also always come from hedgerows. I know people that hunt hedgerows for worthwhile apples The 1 in 1000's thing derives from the commercial breeding paradigm where the number of criteria an apple has to meet has become very high, so very few apples make the grade. As home growers we don't have so many criteria to meet.

Regarding an experiment, we can do the same experiment in small numbers. I know people with various numbers of seedling trees. All we need is for them to report what percentage are worth growing and eating. All results from anyone growing a number of seedlings has been pretty encouraging. It's a gamble for sure, but it's not the dismal odds we are often told.

Pollan is an intellectual and academic. He decided to write about something he didn't know anything about and ended up building a case on a fundamental error. That isn't that surprising given the prevalence of the misunderstood 1 in thousands thing, but it's unfortunate, because millions of people read that and they frequently cite him to make the case that it's a waste of time to grow apples from seed.


Reply 1 year ago

I have pics uploaded today on Facebook in my handi-woman photo album of my new lil seedlings. I'm such a proud seedling parent! Everything online leaned towards the impossibility of it & waste in efforts trying. With no experience & constant Internet discouragement I grew babies in the fridge. They really REALLY wanted 2 become trees lil buggers grew huge in the refrigerator & r taking off in soil less than 24hrs after planting :-)