How to germinate apple seeds

The apple tree or apple tree is a very popular plant in orchards: it does not require much maintenance and, furthermore, it is very productive , to the point that a single specimen can produce the amount of fruit necessary for the whole family to grow. you can enjoy its delicious taste. And speaking of enjoying it, surely when you finish eating the apple you throw it in the garbage container or throw it in the compost heap, right?

Well, I’m going to propose something better: what do you think of the idea of ​​having your own apple tree? Thus, as soon as it begins to bear fruit, you will no longer need to go to the supermarket to buy. After reading this article, you will know how to germinate apple seeds . Cheer up. It will surely be an enriching experience for everyone.

Index

  • 1 Apple planting time
  • 2 How to extract apple tree seeds?
  • 3 Planting apple seeds
    • 3.1 Seed stratification
    • 3.2 Sowing seeds
      • 3.2.1 Sowing – Step by step
  • 4 Seedling care
    • 4.1 How to repeat them?
    • 4.2 How to maintain them?

Apple planting time

apple blossoms

The apple tree is a tree that blooms in spring, and whose fruits finish ripening in summer/autumn. Therefore, the planting time, let’s say, natural, is in autumn , since the seeds would germinate throughout the following spring. But of course, today what most people do is, precisely, buy apples in a shopping center, in a supermarket or, if they can, in the town market, and that can be during any day of the year.

What happen? They can start to be sown in summer, and they would germinate in autumn, which if it is soft, nothing happens, but if there starts to be frost in our area, we will have to protect the seedlings in a greenhouse that we can make with four sticks and with plastic transparent.

Thus, taking into account that they usually germinate after about 3-4 months, there are two times during which it can be sown:

  • Ideal time: autumn.
  • Acceptable time: spring/early summer.

How to extract apple tree seeds?

apple tree seeds

Once we have decided the time in which we are going to plant our future fruit tree, it is time to cut the apple to extract the seeds. But be careful, you don’t have to cut it right in half as you could damage the seeds (as has happened to some of the apples seen in the image above). Then, with a coffee spoon or a knife -carefully- you can easily remove them. Then, if you want, you can eat the apple.

Here you can see the seeds in more detail:

apple tree seeds

Although they look good, healthy and fresh, it is important that as soon as you extract them you clean them well with water to remove any organic residue they may have; otherwise, the fungi could seriously damage them, making them unviable.

As a recommendation, put them in a glass of water for 24 hours so that the embryo inside them does not dehydrate.

planting apple seeds

Apple planting has two parts: stratification and planting itself in a pot. Let’s see how to proceed:

seed stratification

vermiculite

Vermiculite, the ideal substrate to stratify seeds.

When the 24 hours have passed, we will fill a tupperware (better if it is made of transparent plastic) halfway with a substrate called vermiculite . Vermiculite is a mineral made up of iron or magnesium silicates that retains a lot of moisture, even more than perlite, making it ideal for seedbeds or, as in this case, for tupperware .

Then, the seeds will be placed, a little apart from each other in case they germinate before time, and the tupperware is filled with more vermiculite. Once done, it will only be necessary to water a little with the help of a vaporizer, preventing the water from reaching the top; Let me explain: the substrate must be moist, but not soaked. If you see that there is excess water, remove it because otherwise the seeds would end up literally drowning, since they will be in the tupperware for many days.

Now, and for prevention, it is highly advisable to apply a pinch of ecological fungicide, such as copper or sulfur. Water a little again so that it comes into good contact with the vermiculite. Then, we close the tupperware, and put it in the fridge at a temperature of 6ºC.

This first part is not over yet, but once a week we have to open the tupperware to renew the air and check how the seeds are doing . So, for 3 months.

sowing seeds

Substratum

Black peat, the most used substrate for seedbeds.

After 3 months, we can proceed to sow the seeds in seedbeds. As such you can use traditional pots, forest seed trays, milk containers, yogurt cups… Whatever you choose, you must make sure that it has holes for water drainage.

Ok, we already have the seedbed, but what substrate do we use? One that has good drainage but that can also be kept moist enough, and above all, that does not compact. In nurseries you will find many prepared substrates; For the case at hand, you can use both the preparation for the Seedbeds and the organic Urban Garden. 

Another option is to make the mixture ourselves. For this, we will need 60% black peat + 30% perlite (or similar) + 10% earthworm humus (or other organic powdered fertilizer).

Sowing – Step by step

Having the substrate ready, proceed to do the following:

  1. We fill the seedbed almost completely.
  2. We put one or two seeds in each, separated from each other.
  3. We cover them with substrate.
  4. We add a pinch of ecological fungicide (copper or sulfur).
  5. We give them a generous watering , soaking the substrate well.
  6. And finally, we place the seedbed in a place where it gets direct sunlight .

Seedling care

Ill tame young

After about a month, maximum two, the seeds will begin to germinate. At this early age they are very fragile, so they must be well controlled and cared for to avoid losing them. So, the first thing we have to do, if two have germinated in a seedbed, is to chop them up , that is, separate them and plant them in individual pots.

How to replicate them?

The easiest way to do this is, when they are 5cm high, remove the root ball from the pot, and carefully remove the substrate adhered to the roots. Then, when we get a good look at their root systems, we simply have to untangle them, avoiding breaking the rootlets.

When we already have them separated, they are planted in pots of about 20cm in diameter with substrate (it can be the same type that we use for seedbeds), they are watered and placed in a semi-shaded area until we see growth, which will then be the time to gradually accustom them to direct sunlight.

How to keep them?

During the first year we have to be very aware of them. These are the care they need:

  • Irrigation: about 3 times a week in summer, and every 5-6 days the rest of the year.
  • Fertilizer: during the spring and summer it is advisable to fertilize with liquid organic fertilizers, such as guano, which, in addition to making them grow a little faster, strengthens them.
  • Preventive treatments: once a month in hot weather it is advisable to treat with a fungicide.

From the second year, we can move them to larger pots, or to the garden.

apple tree in bloom

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