Start Your Own Apple Trees From Seeds

45 Minutes
Yesterday, it took me about 90 minutes to make a quart of homemade applesauce and start a small orchard of apple trees from seeds at the same time. Here is why and how I did it.
Eddie and I want fruit trees down on our property. The more the better. This is why I never, ever throw out fruit tree seeds. Last January, I tested the theory of growing apple trees from seeds and now we have 56 baby apple trees and 11 baby lemon trees (ranging from 4-10 months old) growing in our backyard. Will they ever produce? I have no idea, but that is not the point. We still have much to learn about raising fruit trees. The point is that (since we have nothing to lose but a little time) whenever we wash, peel, core, and cook up apples for applesauce (or pie or whatever), we don’t just compost those cores! No, no. We harvest the seeds and perform the steps in the link below. (Most folks have these inexpensive items on hand, so the cost is for this project is $0.)
Sprouting Apple Seeds
Harvest the seeds.
Package them up.
Stratify in the fridge.
Wait for them to take root.
Plant & place in the sun.
Watch them grow.
Homestead Chronicles
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • And4636745 And4636745 on Nov 10, 2016
    Hi. What hapend if I live in the tropical? Sorry for my english😔

  • Josetta Josetta on Jan 12, 2017
    I tried this and it really works. I have 4 that is about 4' tall. Now I was told that they would produce fruit because they was store bought apples (gala). Any sugguesion? Should I pull them up?

  • Cheryl Gillman Cheryl Gillman on May 21, 2018

    How long did you put them in the fridge for? Did you just put them in wet paper towel in Ziploc bags then put in the fridge or did you let them sit out (in the bags) for any amount of time before putting them in the fridge?

    Thankyou :)

Join the conversation
2 of 110 comments
  • Shuesler Shuesler on Apr 23, 2017
    Most apples are grown from grafted trees and will not come true from seed. The seeds might germinate, and they could develop into productive trees, but the fruit might not be similar to the fruit you purchased. Fruit breeders plant thousands of apple seeds every year from controlled crosses they make. Of these seedlings, no more than one or two are expected to make it into commercial production.
    If you want an apple tree that develops tasty fruit, you should buy a known variety from a nursery or mail-order source. You can find almost any variety of tree available, and trees you purchase will fruit in a much shorter time. A seed-started tree could take 8-10 years to fruit. Also, apple trees started from seed will have no dwarfing characteristics. Unless you have a large yard, they may be too big for your site.
    If you're the adventurous type and would like to start the seeds despite this discouragement, here's how to do it: Remove the seeds from the ripe fruit. Plant them an inch deep in a pot containing potting soil or seed germinating mix. Moisten the soil. Bury the pot outdoors in the ground in fall, or place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, away from ripening fruits and vegetables.
    Periodically check the soil mix to make certain it stays moist but not wet. After 3-4 months of temperatures just above freezing, move the pot to a location at room temperature (or wait for warm temperatures to develop naturally outdoors). If properly chilled, the seeds should germinate in several weeks.

  • Leenukka Leenukka on Apr 11, 2020

    Not a question, but suggestion. Once you have the little tree you can 'craft' a branch from a sweet fruit producing tree into your tree. As I understand you could get several different fruits into same tree (apples to apples). Naturally it's a great stress for the tree. Hygiene is really important doing this. You find instructions on the net. I only know this in theory.