How Long Do Apple Seeds Take to Germinate

Gardeners often wonder, "How long do apple seeds take to germinate?" The answer may not be what you expect. Apple seed germination is a careful process. Knowing what affects this process can help you grow amazing apple trees.

Understanding Apple Seed Germination

Apple seeds, like many others, have a way of staying dormant. This needs to be broken for them to grow. The cold and moist stratification helps mimic their winter experience in nature.

This natural dormancy avoids early sprouting, ensuring their future. Without it, they might not sprout or would take a very long time. The chance of seeds turning into trees that bear fruit is about one in ten. So, caring for them is vital.

Normally, after the cold stratification, apple seeds sprout in about two weeks. Keep them in the fridge in a moist environment for three months. Before planting in the early spring, make sure to dry the seeds for three to four weeks.

However, even with proper care, not all seeds will grow into fruitful trees. This is because each apple tree that grows from a seed is unique. It takes around 8 to 10 years for these trees to grow to a size that yields a lot of fruit. Even then, they are more likely to be big, full-sized trees than smaller, dwarf ones.

Germination Time
2 weeks after stratification
Stratification Duration
3 months in the refrigerator
Drying Time Before Planting
3-4 weeks
Planting Recommendation
Early spring
Success Rate of Edible Fruit
1 in 10
Time to Harvest for Seed-Grown Trees
8-10 years
Tree Size for Seed-Grown Apples
Full-sized, not dwarfs

Preparing Apple Seeds for Planting

Growing apple trees from seed can be both rewarding and interesting. However, it takes some careful preparation for them to sprout successfully. First, you need to extract the apple seeds from ripe fruits.

Then, make sure to wash the seeds well to get rid of any remaining fruit. Dry them out completely after this step.

There's another useful step to help the seeds germinate. It's called scarification. This process includes lightly sanding or making small cuts on the seed coat. Doing this can get past the seed's natural dormancy.

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After scarification, the seeds go into a sealed bag or container. Add a damp paper towel or sand with them. Then, place this in the fridge for 6-8 weeks. This is called cold stratification. It makes the seeds think they've gone through winter.

Apple seeds usually take 30 to 40 days to start growing. But, the fruit they might bear often differs from the original apple. Most apple types we know today came from specific choices among thousands of seedlings.

If you want a certain kind of apple, grafting is the way to go. Grafting ensures the new trees are exactly like the parent tree.

Growing apples from seeds is uncertain but can teach you a lot. By knowing how to prepare the seeds, you can improve your chances. Maybe you'll even create a new kind of apple.

How Long Do Apple Seeds Take to Germinate

Growing apples from seeds takes time. Usually, the seeds will start to grow in 2-3 weeks. They need cold conditions first, between 40-50°F, for 70-80 days. This step is very important for their growth.

The time it takes for seeds to start growing can change. It depends on the apple type, how old the seed is, and where and how it's planted. Some seeds may start growing after a month, but not all will. About 30-50% of seeds will turn into trees. That's why it's best to plant more than you want.

Getting the seeds ready and taking care of them after planting is key. Good soil, enough water, and the right amount of sun are important. Knowing these things helps gardeners and orchardists grow healthy apple trees from seeds.

Planting and Caring for Apple Seedlings

After apple seeds sprout, it's time to move them. Put the baby trees in pots with good drainage soil. This helps the plants grow for many years.

Keep the young trees out of direct sun at first. Water them a lot, making sure the dirt stays moist. When they are bigger, they can handle more sun. Remember, in cold places, protect them from freezing over the winter.

Before fully planting, slowly let the trees get used to outdoor weather. This makes them stronger. Finally, find a good spot to plant your apple trees.

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Taking care of apple seedlings is key to growing healthy apple trees from seeds. Follow these steps for your best chance at seeing planting apple seeds turn into strong apple seedling trees.

Fruit Production and Pollination Considerations

Growing apple trees from seed has its challenges but can be quite fulfilling. The apples that grow will look and taste different from their parent. They must also be pollinated by another apple tree that's blooming at the same time to produce fruit.

Some types of apples can't pollinate themselves. They need pollen from two different trees to make fruit. It also takes a long time for an apple tree grown from a seed to start fruiting, usually 7-10 years. Even though the results can be a surprise, the process is rewarding.

Here's what to keep in mind for growing apple trees from seeds:

  • Apple seeds don't always grow, with some studies showing just a 30% success rate.
  • After being chilled for 6 weeks, seeds can sprout within 1-2 weeks of being planted in warm soil.
  • Young apple trees might start making fruit about 5 years after they're planted, if they're cared for well.
  • Using seeds from apples that grew nearby, after they've been chilled, can improve the chance of sprouting.
  • Since different apple trees blossom at different times, it's smart to plant various kinds to ensure good pollination.
  • Crabapples work very well at helping other apple trees get pollinated and are often used in orchards for this reason.
Fruit Production Considerations
Pollination Considerations
- It can take 7-10 years for seed-grown apple trees to produce fruit
- The fruit from these trees will be different from the parent trees
- These trees are less hardy against diseases and pests
- Apple trees need help from a different apple tree to bear fruit
- Some types of apples can't make fruit alone and need two different trees to help them
- For apples, crabapple trees are especially good at pollinating other trees

Learning about the challenges in growing apples from seed and the role of pollination is crucial. It helps gardeners increase their chances of getting fruit from such apple trees. Patience and dedication are key to enjoying the process and the delicious outcome.

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The Unpredictable Nature of Seed-Grown Apples

Growing apple trees from seeds poses a key challenge. It's hard to predict the fruit you'll get. Unlike trees made through grafting, seed-grown apples are one of a kind. This uniqueness can lead to apples that taste and act very differently from their parent. Imagine, only about 1 in 80,000 apple seeds grows into a tree that bears fruit similar to the parent's.

Most apples grown from seeds are better for making cider or cooking than eating raw. This is because apples' genetic makeup is very complex. They can carry tastes as varied as banana, mango, and even the flavor of “jolly rancher's candy”.

Gardeners might find joy in the surprises of seed-grown apples. They could end up with fruits that are both special and tasty, not found in stores. Yet, it's important for them to know that growing apples from seeds is a slow process. For example, the Prigioni apple took over a decade to develop, starting in 2013.

Even with its difficulties, growing apples from seed can be rewarding. Those who welcome unpredictability might discover flavors and types of apples that stand out. However, for those looking for consistent fruits, grafted trees are a better choice. They ensure a dependable harvest, staying small with specific rootstock.


Growing apple trees from seed can be rewarding and educate you. Yet, it does come with challenges. Apple seeds need cold to start growing. Even then, not all seeds will grow. Those that do can take a long time to produce fruit. And the fruit might be quite different from its parent apple.

For a simpler way to get an apple tree, grafting or buying one might be better. But, if you like the idea of a surprise, growing from seed is fun. It's a chance to learn about how plants grow and see the many types of apples out there.

So, to seed or not to seed depends on what you want. Do you want something steady or are you up for an adventure? Knowing about apple seeds and trees can guide you to a choice that fits your plans. Either way, growing apples is a great way to connect with nature.

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