What is the best way to germinate apple seeds?

justin_linker(7)July 11, 2009

Hello all. My name is Justin I'm from North Carolina and I just signed up for this site today and so far I am loving it and hope to become a regular here.

Well, I've been gardening for about 2 years now, this is the year I've actually got really serious about it. I've grown alot of veggie crops over the past 2 years and the passion is building. I wanna take it to a higher level.

I bought a few apples from the market a few weeks ago, I've already eaten them and I saved the seeds out of them and they've been sitting on a paper towel for a little over a week now (maybe 2 weeks, memory isn't what it used to be lol) and I thought I would give trying to grow an apple tree myself a shot. I've read that less than half of your seeds will actually germinate, so from what I've read it's not the easiest seed to sprout. I've read that people put seeds in damp paper towels and put them in fridge for a few weeks, I've read people put them in a damp paper towel in the sunlight for a few weeks. Read that people simply plant them in soil and they will simutaneously sprout in about a month. And I've even read a remarkable amount of people simply dropping seeds in a cup of water and they begin to sprout. Come to think of it, the cup of water method seemed to get the thumbs up more than anything. But I just want to be 100% sure what I should do, since this is my first try, I would really hope to get at least 1 of my seeds sprouted. That would be great.

It is said it's best to have plenty of seeds in possession when trying to germinate apple seeds, so I just counted and I have 13 seeds.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks in advance.


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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Justin, apple trees from seed will produce fruit unlike the apples you ate. You could wait several years for apples only to find they are something like a crab apple - crab apple trees are often used in orchards as pollinators.
If an apple good to eat is your goal, you'd do better buying a young tree.

The seeds need 2 - 3 months of moist chill (40F) to break dormancy, you can do that by either sowing and placing the pots outdoors over winter, or putting the seeds in a bit of moist sterile vermiculite or moist sterile sand in a baggie in your refrigerator - you could use a damp paper towel too. Then sow, barely covered, keep moist, and wait for germination.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 12:43AM
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Thanks for the response. Even if the tree does not produce fruit I would still enjoy having grown a tree itself lol. But thanks for the response, I think I'll try the paper towel method first.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:45AM
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Germinating isn't that hard, we've even just planted the seeds after they've dried and they have sprouted. The tougher problem is keeping them alive -very fickle!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 6:58AM
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niptrixbop(z5 OH)


Try it. You might just get a great new apple. I have planted apple, pear, and peach seeds. Peach seeds or pits, I did plant years ago and got real nice peaches from the trees. Pears and apples I planted them 2 yrs ago, and the trees are still too young to bear fruit--I hope someday they will bear some.

Of course, I planted the seeds the lazy--or easy--way. Sometime in the winter (I live in zone 5. Used seeds from fruit I had just bought from a supermarket.) I planted the seeds in the ground, covered them with dirt--the small seeds not too deep, the peach pits deeper. In the spring they sprouted. Just make sure you mark the spot where you plant your seeds; this way, you wont pull them out as weeds--something I often do.

I'm sure you are doing this for fun, so enjoy and learn. Hey, After 5 summers, I just got my first flowers from oriental lilies that I started from seed...Most of them look just like their parents...2 look different, but I have seen the same type of flowers in catalogs.

Good luck, but most important: Happy Gardening!!!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:56PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You will notice that apple seedlings have a long juvenile life when they will not flower or bear fruit. Usually from 7 to 10 years from planting. When you graft onto your seedling, if you should do so, the scion wood, or bud is from a mature tree and ready to produce flowers and fruit buds, so the tree produces much sooner. Al

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 9:59AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

So if one gets a juvenile apple tree from a seed and grafts that onto good rootstock how long will it take to produce fruit?

I had a grafting class back in the '60s and having never done any grafting since then I think I may have I have forgotten everything I learned.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 10:21AM
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1. Take the seeds out of an apple.

2. Wrap the seed in a napkin.

3. Wet the napkin.

4 Place the napkin in a plastic bag (leave the bag open).

5. Place the bag outside in the shade.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 8:22PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

As Joe has indicated, a fresh seed out of an apple will usually germinate without any pretreating. If you don't want to germinate in a wet napkin, before planting the germinated seed, in seed starting mix, just start the seed right in the mix. Al

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 1:14PM
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My neighbor brought me 4 apple seeds from 100+ year-old trees in upstate Vermont and asked me to winter sow them for him. I did, and in April I gave him 4 seedlings that he planted in his garden. They got the same treatment as all the other seeds I winter sowed.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:41AM
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Justin, in my years, i have found that the moisst paper towel and plastic bag method in the refrigerator for a few weeks works best. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:52PM
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i've been tried paper towel and plastic bag method but didn't work. Could u give me some advice?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 2:55AM
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