How to Plant Sprouted Apple Seeds (a how-to guide)

I have successfully grown 3 apple trees. If you’re looking for the most updated information on how you can do it, I wrote this article with you in mind.

With patience and a little joy, you can also grow apple trees yourself. Here’s the right way to plant sprouted apple seeds:

Wrap your apple seeds in a moist paper towel and place in the refrigerator and leave it for 6 – 8 weeks, then plant the seeds the same way you’d plant any other seed.

For a successful process, various criteria must be taken to heart, such as the careful choice of seeds, overcoming the sprout inhibition and the well-balanced framework conditions.

After reading this post, the cultivation of apple seeds will get easier.


  • Rose family (Rosaceae)
  • Name of the genus: Apples (Malus)
  • Dominant species: Cultivated apple (Malus domesticus)
  • Deciduous tree
  • Height in culture from 100 to 1,000 cm, rarely higher
  • White or pink flowers in May
  • Juicy apple fruits from July
  • Nuclear casing with slightly poisonous seeds
  • Dependent on cross-pollination as a result of self-sterility

Of the more than 30,000 apple varieties worldwide, around 1,500 are suitable for cultivation in Germany.

However, only a few varieties find their way into the supermarkets, such as Golden Delicious, Elstar, Gala or Cox Orange. Growing an apple tree from seeds opens up a unique option for the interested hobby gardener to open up new paths that go beyond the well-trodden cultivation paths.


A successful sowing is always based on the quality of the seed. Therefore, please do not choose a variety of apples from the supermarket at random to remove the seeds.

So that the seedlings actually grow and thrive in the bed later, they should come from native apple varieties. You will find what you are looking for at regional direct markets, as the fruit growers sell apples from their own harvest for sale.

If you live in the catchment area of ​​a fruit juice factory that presses local apples, you have access to the ideal seeds. In the course of pressing, the apple pips go through a process that breaks the sprout inhibition. Just ask for apple pits made from pomace (pressed material).

While these seeds represent the perfect starting material for the hobby gardener, they are unusable residues for the juice manufacturer.

Obtain suitable seeds for growing an apple tree

Seeds for growing an apple tree seedling are usually not available in garden centers or by mail order. On the one hand, this is due to the fact that only a few hobby gardeners have the patience to experiment with sowing an apple tree.

On the other hand, the kernels of the apple tree can usually be used without any problems as they can be found in the core of an apple.

Outsmart the natural germ barrier of the apple stone

In the year they ripen on the tree, apple kernels are provided with natural germ inhibitors, which only decompose over winter. In nature, this ensures that the kernels only sprout in the new vegetation period and do not freeze off in late autumn.

If you want to grow an apple tree from a core yourself , you have to bypass this natural germ barrier in the case of the seeds that have been collected. 

To do this, place the cleaned apple cores between damp layers of kitchen paper in a container so that they can be stratified in the refrigerator for at least two weeks. You can then plant the seeds, which are usually slightly sprouted, in a pot with loose soil.

Keep your eyes open when choosing your core

In principle, the seeds from the cores of apples bought in the supermarket can also be used for cultivation in the garden. Note, however, that many of the apple varieties sold in stores are sometimes not really adapted to the climatic and soil conditions in your region.

It may be better to use the kernels from proven apple trees in the gardens of neighbors or relatives for breeding. Well-known and proven apple varieties in Central Europe are, 

for example:

  • Jonagold
  • Elstar
  • Alcmene
  • Berlepsch
  • Boskoop
  • Gold parmane


To move apple seeds, it requires a stratification . Specifically, this means a cold stimulus lasting several weeks that simulates winter conditions. This is how easy it is to get the process going:

  • Fill fresh apple cores with washed, damp sand or peat moss in a plastic bag
  • Tightly closed for 6 to 8 weeks in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator deposit
  • Check the seeds regularly for sufficient moisture

If you prefer a nature-loving approach, fill small pots with peat sand and put 1-2 seeds 2-3 cm into each. Then place the vessels on the wintry balcony for 2 months. It is beneficial for germination when the seeds snow in. To prevent the seeds from drowning in the meltwater, please do not use coasters.

Tip : The more precisely the sowing is in accordance with the actual seasons, the better the result.


Apples on the tree

After the stratification, you will hold apple pips in your hands, in which life is already stirring. The first small roots indicate that the inhibition of germination has been overcome. This is how the cultivation from seeds continues:

  • Place a pottery shard or pebbles in pots of 10 or 12 over the water drain as drainage
  • Each pot two-thirds filled with potting soil or sand emaciated potting soil
  • Pre-drill a small planting hole in the middle with your finger or a wooden stick
  • Use a germinating apple core at two to three times the seed strength

Please handle the sprouting seeds very carefully, as the tiny root strands could break off. At the end, press the soil and pour with a fine effervescence.

Tip : The apple seedlings take even more trouble with rooting if there is a thin layer of ripe compost under the growing substrate. In order to get to the coveted nutrients, the root strands quickly gain length.

Disinfect the seed soil

Unwanted additions such as viruses, fungal spores or bacteria can lurk in any substrate and nip all hopes of healthy, vital apple seedlings in the bud. To avoid the risk of infection, we recommend disinfecting the seed soil.

To do this, fill the substrate in a fireproof bowl and spray it with water. Put the lid on loosely without closing the jar. 

Then set the oven to 150 degrees top and bottom heat and slide the bowl in. All impurities are removed after 20 to 30 minutes . It’s even faster in the microwave within 5 minutes at 700 to 800 watts.

How to Care for apple plant until planting in the bed

Set up the nursery pots with the germinating apple seeds on the bright, warm window seat. Although the sun’s rays are desirable and beneficial, shading should take place in the blazing midday sun.

Normal room temperatures offer the seedlings sufficient warmth for further growth. Please keep the substrate slightly moist at all times.

Since apple trees prefer neutral soil acidity in every phase of their life, we recommend switching between normal tap water and collected, filtered rainwater.

 Your pupils will not receive any fertilizer at this time. If the nutrients are delivered to them right in front of the root tips, the motivation to develop a strong root system is lost.

Toughen up

An apple tree grown from seeds only gets to know the warm, sheltered conditions behind glass. So that the fruit trees can cope with the hardships in the field, we recommend hardening them in advance of planting .

To do this, place the bucket in a partially shaded location on the balcony or in the garden for 2 to 3 weeks . In this way, a penalty can gradually get used to full sun . If you have decided on spring planting, bring the young plants into the house overnight if there is a risk of late frosts in the ground.

Solitary apple trees do not bear fruit

One of the typical characteristics of apple trees is that they are self-sterile. This attribute implies that there must be at least one other apple tree of a different variety nearby for fruiting to occur.

You can choose to use the seeds of different apple varieties as seeds or you can add a suitable pollinator variety from the nursery to your grown specimen.

The latter has a convincing advantage: the result of sowing apple seeds cannot be precisely predicted.

Which properties of the parent and grandparent plants will ultimately prevail in the young plant remains hidden from you until the first flowering.

Since not all apple varieties are compatible with each other, choose the optimal pollinator variety from the nursery’s range as soon as the breeding result becomes apparent.    


An apple tree would make a wonderful addition to any home garden. In this article, we have discussed how an apple tree can be grown from a sprouted seed.