Can You Grow Apple Trees from Seeds?
Fruits of commercially-bred apple trees are delicious, but their seeds are usually not used for propagation. Most people prefer grafted saplings, which are made by grafting or budding the desired variety onto a suitable rootstock. However, apple trees can be grown from seeds, but this method has its own limitations. So, you must know the proper method of growing apple trees from seeds.
Even if you become successful in growing apple trees from seeds, they may not be able to tolerate the local climate. Even if it survives the climate and grows well, the tree may or may not produce fruits. The fruits produced by the tree may not taste the same. If you are lucky, the fruits would be same or even more delicious.
While a grafted apple tree takes two to three years to produce fruits, an apple tree grown from a seed may take up to six or seven years to yield fruits. You can still try to grow apple trees from seeds; or else, entrust your kids with the task. They will be more than happy to undertake this work, and grow up with the apple trees.
How to Grow an Apple Tree From a Seed
Growing apples from seeds is not a difficult task, if you know the proper methods of germinating. These seeds never germinate, if you fail to stratify them. This could be the reason for the common belief that apple seeds are sterile. Treating the seeds to simulate winter conditions, in order to promote germination, is called stratification. Given below are some tips for growing apple trees from seeds.
- First of all, save the seeds of an apple, and let them dry for a month. Keep the seeds on a wax paper, and roll them over, at least once in every two days. The dark-colored shiny seeds will become dry, lose the waxy sheen, and become lighter in color.
- Once the seeds dry, put them in a container or zip lock bag, and place it in the refrigerator. It will take around two months for the seeds to germinate. Make sure that you keep enough seeds, because only 20 to 30% of the seeds will germinate.
- You may also bury the dry seeds in a well-drained potting mix spread on a seedling tray. The seeds should be buried at least half an inch deep into the soil. Place the tray on a cold frame, and wait till the seeds sprout.
- In either cases (seeds kept in the refrigerator or the seedling tray), the sprouted seeds can be potted in bigger containers as soon as they develop more than three leaves.
- Place the containers with apple seedlings on a sunny windowsill, and keep the soil of the container moist.
- Let the plants grow there itself until they grow large enough to be planted on the ground. The location should get about 12 hours of full sunshine, and should be well ventilated.
- Young trees must be fertilized and pruned properly, at regular intervals. Your apple trees will produce fruits within a few years. If you find them delicious, well and good. If not, use them for making apple cider vinegar, or try some other recipes with apples.