In fact, you don't need to buy seeds from a plant store to grow an apple tree. Just use the seeds from your favorite apples! Keep in mind that growing apples from seed takes years, and the resulting fruit may not be the same as the apple from which the seeds came. But it was fun watching the seeds grow into apple trees over the years. Maybe you're learning to grow apples for a school project, or simply satisfying your curiosity about growing seeds, but it's important to understand the complex germination and planting process so that you can finally enjoy your hard-earned apples!
Method 1 of 3: Collecting and Preparing Apple Seeds
Step 1. Collect the apple seeds
Buy some ripe apples. You can eat or cut it to get to the core. Carefully remove the seeds from the apple core, making sure you have collected all the seeds before removing the core.
- Be aware that most fruit growers and gardeners grow grafted apple trees, and do not grow them from seed. Growing apple trees from seed produces very varied fruit because apple trees do not always grow according to the type or variety.
- The more seeds you plant, the more likely it is that one of the trees will produce edible fruit instead of the less tasty apple varieties like the crabapple. The success rate of growing an apple tree from seed that can then produce fruit that is edible enough is one in ten.
- Try to start the process of preparing apple seeds during September, October, or November. That way at the beginning of the dry season, the seeds are ready to be planted.
Step 2. Dry the seeds on a paper towel
Once you've collected the seeds from a few apples, put the seeds in a bowl of water. If the seeds float, throw them away as they are less likely to sprout. Place the other seeds on a paper towel and let them dry for three to four weeks.
Turn the seeds every two days so they dry evenly
Step 3. Mix the seeds with peat moss
After a few days of drying, buy some peat. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of peat on a paper towel, then splash a little water. Use your hands to mix the peat and seeds.
Step 4. Put the peat and seed mixture in a plastic clip bag and place it in the refrigerator
After mixing the seeds and peat, pour the mixture into a plastic bag. Write the date on a plastic bag with a marker, then store the bag in the refrigerator for three months.
- The process of storing seeds in moist, cold conditions is called stratification. Stratification softens the tough outer layer of the seed and encourages the embryo inside the seed to begin germinating.
- After three months, remove the plastic bag from the refrigerator, and let it warm up so you can plant it.
Method 2 of 3: Planting Seeds Outdoors
Step 1. Weed the garden plot to be planted
Find a location in your yard or garden where you will sow apple seeds. Prepare a plot of soil by weeding weeds and pulling them up to the roots. Remove large stones or gravel and loosen the soil.
- Choose a location that is exposed to direct sunlight and fertile soil that can absorb water well.
- You can tell if the soil is absorbing water well if there is no standing water above the soil surface. Soil that absorbs water well usually looks dark and fertile, not loamy and looks like loam.
- Try sowing seeds around March.
Step 2. Spread the compost over the soil
Before you sow apple seeds that have germinated, make sure that the soil conditions are favorable for plant growth and rich in nutrients. After weeding the soil, sprinkle a 2.5 cm layer of compost over the soil. You can make your own garden compost or buy it at a plant store.
Compost enriches the soil with essential nutrients and also makes the soil looser so it can absorb water better
Step 3. Make furrows in the soil
Use your hands or a garden shovel to make a 2.5 cm deep furrow, or ditch, in the soil. If you are going to sow several seeds, make one long line. You should extend the line about 30 cm for each seed you plan to plant.
Step 4. Plant the seedling in the ground
After digging the furrow, plant the seeds in the ground. Leave a distance of 30 cm for each seed. Spacing each seed allows the plant to have room to grow and ensures it doesn't scramble for nutrients in the soil.
Step 5. Cover the seeds with soil
After planting the seedlings, apply a thin layer of soil over the furrows to protect the seeds. Then sprinkle sand on top of the thin layer of soil until it is 2.5 cm thick. The sand protects the soil from hardening in cold weather, thereby inhibiting seed growth above the soil surface.
Method 3 of 3: Sowing Seeds Indoors
Step 1. Separate the seeds from the peat
To sow seeds in pots, remove the plastic clip bag containing the seed and peat mixture from the refrigerator. After being stored in the refrigerator for 3 months, the seeds are ready to be planted. The best time to do this is around March.
You can also sow apple seeds in pots and place them indoors. Keep in mind that apple trees are healthier if they are grown outdoors, rather than in pots
Step 2. Fill the pot (choose a self-destructive or biodegradable type) with soil
Buy several small pots measuring 15 cm, or adjust the number of seeds you want to plant. Fill the pot with soil to a height of 2.5 cm from the mouth of the pot. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
Self-destructing pots, such as peat pots, will make transplanting easier and less shocking for seeds
Step 3. Plant two seeds for each pot
After filling the pot with loamy soil, make two holes 2.5 cm above the soil about 7.5 cm apart, then plant each seed in each hole. Since there is no guarantee that every seed will grow, plant the seeds 5 -10 times as much.
Step 4. Water and cover the seeds
After you have sown all the seeds in the holes, water the soil in each pot. This will shift the soil so that it covers the seeds. If you can still see the seeds, apply a little soil to cover them.
Step 5. Place the pot in a warm place in direct sunlight inside the house
Make sure you put the pot in a sunny place, it's even better if you put it in a greenhouse. Otherwise, place it in a warm location with lots of windows.
Ultimately, the apple tree should be moved outdoors to allow for better growth
Step 6. Water the plant twice a week
Apple seeds grown indoors should be watered twice a week. Water until the soil is wet and dark, but don't overdo it and flood the soil.
Step 7. Prepare the garden for transplanting plants
You can't plant seeds in pots forever. Apple trees will thrive outdoors because there is more room to grow, in addition to more sunlight and soil nutrients. After transplanting in the garden, don't forget to weed and remove rocks.
- Choose an area of the garden with soil that absorbs water well, or water that is sprinkled will seep directly into the soil.
- In addition, choose an area of the garden that gets direct sunlight.
- Add a layer of compost 2.5 cm thick above the soil to enrich the nutrients.
Step 8. Dig a hole in the ground and place the pot in the hole
Use a garden shovel to dig. Make sure the hole is the same depth as the pot, but twice the width. Then, place a pot of seeds in each hole.
- The biodegradable pots will rot over time so that the apple tree seeds will be completely surrounded by soil.
- After burying the pot, you should be able to see the edges of the pot sticking out of the soil.
- Some biodegradable pots are designed with a removable bottom. You can also cut the bottom of the pot to speed up the process of uniting the plant with the soil.
Step 9. Compact the soil and water
Compact the soil around the mouth of the pot until there is no space between the pot and the soil around it. Then, water the plants and soil with plenty of water.
Consider adding a 2 inch (5 cm) layer of sand above the soil, if you live in a cold climate. Sand helps prevent the soil from hardening due to cold weather
- If you want to be successful in growing an edible apple tree, consider buying a grafted tree instead of growing it from seed.
- Water the apple tree once a week if you live in a dry area and don't get regular rain.
- Weed the garden regularly to keep the trees healthy.
- Please keep in mind that growing apple trees from seed has a high failure rate. For every 100 seeds you collect from apples and go through the germination process, only 5 or 10 might survive and grow into a tree.
- Growing an apple tree from seed requires patience. It takes about four years for the tree to reach a height of two meters, and about ten years before the tree begins to bear fruit.