Growing an Apple Tree in a Container

by Fern on February 9, 2009

in Fruits & Vegetables,Popular

I recently planted a Fuji apple tree, and in the process, had to research a bunch of things about apples. I came across a lot of information and tips related to growing apples in containers and thought I would pass along what I’ve learned. Not to mention that today is the Jewish holiday of “Tu B’Shevat,” the new year for trees (for the purposes of calculating tithing). So a post about apples trees is highly appropriate! :-)


Photo by pen3ya

This post is quite long, and you may not need all of the info right now, so it might be a good idea to bookmark it and come back to it as needed.

Suitably Small Varieties for Container Gardening

Don’t trust the fact that a label says “dwarf.” There is no standard definition for that term, and it is often given to trees that are not suitable for container growing. The rootstock that the tree is grafted onto determines how tall the tree will be. There is a reliable system in place for rootstock that can be trusted. You want a tree that is grafted onto P-22, M-27, M-9, or M-26 rootstock.The tag on the tree should show this info, or if you’re purchasing the tree online or through a catalog, they should list it.

One Tree or Two?

I first considered growing apples when I came across something that mentioned that some apples are self-fertile, meaning they don’t need a nearby apple to cross-pollinate with. Up until then, I thought all apples needed a buddy. As it turns out, some varieties of apples will produce fruit without another apple nearby. However, it is almost always preferable to have at least two apples as the fruit harvest that they produce will be better. I’m probably going to get another tree for that reason, where I’ll find room is another story.

If you are going to plant two apples, be sure you are planting varieties that will bloom around the same time. Otherwise, the apples will not be able to pollinate one another. The tag will often indicate which other varieties make good cross-pollinators.

Chill Hours

All fruit trees need a certain minimum amount of time where the temperature is under a certain mark. This amount is called “chill hours.” In the case of apples, the magic temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Many apple varieties need as much as 1800 hours a year. That amount is easy to reach if you live in Chicago, but if you live in Southern California or other areas with mild climates, you’ll need to find a variety that can get by with much fewer chill hours. You can check with your extension office to find out how many chill hours your area gets.

Generally, nurseries will only carry the varieties that will do well in the area, but if you are interested in ordering an apple tree from a catalog or online, you’ll need to know the types of apples you can grow. Here are some apple varieties that will produce fruit with only a fraction of the normal amount of chill hours:

  • Fuji (300-600 chill hours)
  • Winter Banana (300-600)
  • Hudson’s Gold Gem (300-600)
  • Yellow Bellflower (400)
  • Pink Lady (400)
  • Anna (150-250)
  • Ein Shemer (150-250)
  • Beverly Hills (150-250)
  • Dorsett Golden (100)
  • Pettingill (100)

NOTE: Most apple trees are hardy to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, so there are very few places with “too many” chill hours. If you do live in one of those areas, move your apple tree to the garage or other cold but not too cold place. Remember that your tree needs below 45 degree temperatures for a certain period of time.

However, the roots need to stay above 15 degrees. This isn’t a problem for in-ground apples as the ground is often much warmer than the air. But the dirt in containers is closer to the temperature of the air, and you’ll need to insulate your pot or move it to a more sheltered location if your area is expecting temperatures below 15.

Getting Your Apple in the Pot

You can plant your apple any time of year that you can find healthy trees to purchase. However, you’ll find the most variety in early spring and fall. Choose a pot that is at least 10-15 gallons in size and while you’re at it, pick up some potting soil that is coarse and fast draining. If you’re going to need to move your apple tree in the winter, you’ll also want to get one of those little wheeled trolleys that you place under the pot. Put the trolley under the pot before you put the dirt in the pot and leave it there.

If you bought a bare root tree, trim the roots so that they will fit in your pot without wrapping around the pot. If you bought a tree that is in a nursery pot, inspect the roots to see if the plant is root bound. It is it, try and loosen up the roots and disentangle them. Then trim them so that they will fit in the new pot.

Fill the bottom of the pot with dirt. Then place the tree in the pot so that the graft union (the bulging point near the bottom of the trunk where the tree was grafted onto its rootstock) is level with the lip of the pot. Continue to fill the pot until the dirt in two inches below the lip of the pot. You will need to stake your tree to help support it and keep it growing upright. Be sure to tie the tree to the stake loosely! You don’t want to cut into the trunk as the tree grows.

After planting the tree, you should prune back the branches by about one third (see below for more advice on this point). Then water the tree thoroughly, until water streams out of the holes in the pot.

Watering Your Apple Tree

Keeping container plants and trees properly watered is trickier than in-ground plants, because containers dry out faster than regular gardens and also can be more water-logged. It’s sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

If you purchased a bare root or dormant potted tree, you will not need to water it for several weeks after the initial watering. The tree is dormant and only needs the soil to be barely moist. If the dirt is too wet, you risk causing the roots to rot. If the tree has leaves on it when you purchased it, follow the instructions below.

After your tree has shown signs of coming out of dormancy, water only when the soil is dry to the touch, every 5 or so days except when the temperatures are really high. When it is hot outside, check your tree daily to see if it needs water.

Starting in September start withholding water. Only give the tree enough water enough to keep the soil very lightly moist. This will help the tree prepare for dormancy in the winter.

Pruning to Improve Fruit Production

I found this graphic from the Clemson Extension website to be very helpful.

Basically, you want a central trunk (called the ‘leader’) and three or four main branches pointing out to the sides from the main trunk. Each side branch should be about six inches up or down the trunk from the other side branches. Any dead or damaged branches should be removed, as should any branches that are pointing inwards or that crosses (or will eventually) another branch.

The goal is to give each branch the most light possible, because lots of sunshine is needed to produce flowers and fruit. When the tree doesn’t have any leaves on it, it seems as if every branch will get enough light, but remember that in a few months, your tree will be covered in leaves (hopefully!). If you need a more detailed explanation, the Clemson Extension has very detailed instructions.

The What and When of Fertilizing

Purchase a fertilizer meant for fruit trees. Whether you purchase a chemical fertilizer like Miracle Grow, a time-release fertilizer like Osmocote, or an organic fertilizer is up to you. People who use Miracle Grow often dilute it to half strength and water their trees once a week during the growing season. If you’re using an organic fertilizer, follow the package instructions.

Start slowly reducing the fertilizer when you start reducing the amount of water in September. This will also help the tree prepare for winter. Do not fertilize your tree in winter. At best, it’s useless. At worst, you might stimulate your tree to start growing during a time when such growth could hurt the tree.

Insects That Are Problems for Container Grown Apples

Unless you plan a whole orchard of container grown apples, many of the diseases that commonly plague apple orchards are not a problem for container gardeners. Just to be safe, plant chives with your apple tree, as they help prevent apple scab, the most common disease that plagues apples.

While diseases are pretty uncommon, there are some pests that you may come across. The Coddling Moth is the most common pest. It’s caterpillars worm their way into the apple and eat the core. The best way to deal with them is to buy a pheromone trap at the garden center. It will attract the moth before it can lay more eggs, thus preventing the moth from creating more caterpillars.

Two other problem bugs are mites and aphids. They won’t eat the fruit, but they will reduce the health of the tree and if left untreated, reduce the amount and quality of the fruit your tree produces. Your best bet is to spray an insecticidal soap on your tree at the first sign of either pest. Or you try purchasing a beneficial insect that eats aphids (ladybugs) and mites (predatory mites).

Was this post helpful to you? If you learned a thing or two, subscribing to my blog is a surefire way to further increase your container gardening IQ!

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy February 9, 2009 at 6:20 am

wow, this is great! i have been slowing adding perennials to my containers, some success’ and some failures. The next was trees of some sort, and i had not even considered and apple tree.


Jen February 9, 2009 at 7:40 am

We used to sell the collinade apple trees, they were amazing. Grown in a 2 foot square container they could produce buckets of apples. Now the orchards in the Okanagan are using them to produce more crop in smaller spaces.

Great post, very informative.



Nancy Bond February 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

It would be wonderful to have an apple tree on the balcony, especially as there is already an apple tree planted on the property, just a few feet away. However, my space is *so* small that it wouldn’t support even the smallest tree, I don’t think. Unless, of course, we removed Charlie’s BBQ! Hee!


Fern February 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Cindy — I suggest starting off with a columnar apple, if you do try growing an apple tree. They are easier to grow because there isn’t really much to the pruning.

Jen — I’ve seen those at Territorial Seed, they sound like a really awesome option for container gardeners.

Nancy — There’s a theme to my responses this morning…consider columnar apples! I created a container idea for them in this post. As their name suggests, they grow in a very compacted column with very short (think 6 inches) side branches.


prue February 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Hi Fern

Very cool. I once saw what was labelled a ‘patio apple’ in the nursery and was so tempted, purely by the thought of it, then realised it had no place in our climate, and certainly not enough room on the balcony. Would you consider other fruit trees?


Fern February 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Prue–I would definitely consider other fruit trees if apples won’t work in your situation. I have a peach tree as well, and I’ve had citrus trees before too. In the past I’ve posted about blueberries and pomegranates that are good for balcony gardeners that are worth checking out.


TC February 9, 2009 at 6:09 pm

I wonder what they’ll containerize next?


Genevieve February 9, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Awesome, awesome post, Fern. I love all the detail you went into about exactly how to do it. I’ve faved this on my delicious account!


Fern February 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm

TC — Hopefully everything! :-D

Gen — Thanks for bookmarking my post in del.icio.us!


Linz February 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I just ordered 8 dwarf apple trees for the back yard, so I totally understand about crash learning apple growing, heh heh. I’m a home brewer and I’m determined to stop relying on the grocery store for my goods… time to grow my own. ;)

So far I’ve only seen the columnar apples grown in pots. You’ll have to post pictures when you get yours going!


Fern February 10, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Linz — 8?! You will have your own orchard! Are you planning on making apple cider? I will definitely update the blog when the tree gets more established.


Tonya April 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for the tips! I just purchased a dwarf yellow delicious apple tree. I live in a town house with a small yard (11′ x 15′). I’ve had a garden for two years and am branching out into fruits and vegetables this year. I’m very excited about my new tree but had no idea how to care for it until reading your blog. Looks like I might be investing in a second apple tree. Thanks again!


Fern April 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Tonya–Yellow Delicious apples are self-fruitful, meaning that you don’t have to have two trees, but you will get better results if you have two. If you do pickup a second tree, it doesn’t have to be another yellow delicious, but make sure it will bloom at the same time as your tree. Usually the tag will list what other apples bloom at the same time.

Good luck!


dave crawford September 8, 2009 at 10:39 am

subject: Pinata Apple grown from one seed
My apple is growing well in a one gallon container in Roseville, CA (hot weather climate; morning sun). I’m wondering when it needs to be re-potted to a bigger container, and if I can do no pruning. it was born 3/09… from a sprouting seed I saw when the apple was cut open.


Fern September 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm

A couple of things Dave:
1–Almost all (all?) apples grown in the U.S. are grown on a different type of apple’s rootstock. This is because the part of the tree that grows great tasting apples is often not a very sturdy/tough tree. So plants grown from the seed of a fruit you purchased will not produce the same kind of fruit because they don’t have the benefit of their parent tree’s grafted rootstock.
2–While I’m not familiar with the Pinata apple–as it’s a pretty new variety, and information about growing them isn’t available–most apples need over 1000 chill hours to produce fruit. Check with your local extension office about how many chill hours Roseville gets.
3–All apples need pruning to create a shape that allows light into the center of the tree and thus produce more fruit. Consult the graphic included in this post on the best shape to prune your tree.
4–You should repot the tree when you can see roots through the bottom of the drainage holes, or when you (gently) pull the tree out of the pot and see that the roots are starting to get crowded (root bound) in the pot. You shouldn’t need to do this more than once a year.

Jonathan September 27, 2009 at 3:05 am

A quick point regarding seed…

With a self polinating tree there is a good chance that the seed of the fruit will produce the same variety of fruit, however (as noted above) the tree that grows from the seed may not have the same growth characteristics due to the grafting to a more vigourous/sturdy rootstock. The seed may also be infertile!

With cross polinated trees, unless crossed with the same variety the seed of the fruit will be a hybrid of the two varieties, but see point already made about rootstocks.


Chives I didn’t know about… but here are some more.

Garlic — Aphids, Apple Scab, Borers, Japanese Beetles, Peach Leaf Curl Disease, Spider Mites

Nasturnium — White Flies, Squash Bugs, Striped Pumpkin Beetle, Wooly Aphid (apple) (One of the best plants for attracting predatory insects). The climbing variety grown up apple trees will repel codling moth.

Clover — Attracts predators of the Wooly Aphid

Lavender — Helps deter Codling Moth

Garlic and Chives are members of the Allium family (about 1250 species) which also includes Leeks, Onions and Shallotts. So all of these may have beneficial effects (although some, Onions/Leeks/etc… may be too big for containers). There are also ornamental alliums sold as spring flowers along with narcisus/tulips etc…


Fern September 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for sharing all that great info Jonathan!

leta May 13, 2012 at 5:02 am

Can all these other plants be started from seed and still be as effective? And do you just plant them around all your garden plants? I want to try these plants for my garden for preventing pests and insects naturally without toxins or chemicals and I’d like to know more about how the pest control works when one uses plants to control them. Thanks!

Sheri Wilde October 13, 2009 at 6:11 pm

How can you get the seeds to start growning so I can put it out side nexted spring so I can have an apple tree again. Can any one help me please help me so I can get one going in the house till spring is here again.


Fern October 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm

Sheri–Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not advisable to grow apples from seed. You would be hardpressed to find any apple seed packets for sale anywhere, and if you were to save the seeds from an apple you purchased at the supermarket, the resulting tree would most likely not be very strong and would not produce apples like the one you purchased. This is because apple trees are bred for one of two purposes: to be the roots or to be the trunk/branches/fruit-producing part. If you look closely at any apple trees in your area, you will almost certainly see a “graft union” a a few inches above the soil line. That is, a spot where you can see where the trunk of one tree has been grafted onto the roots of another tree. Trees bred to be the fruit producing portion (i.e. the parent of the apple you bought) often don’t have strong roots, and if they were allowed to grow on their own roots, would not produce an apple similar to the one they would produce if matched up with the right set of roots from a different type of apple.

narinder dogra December 24, 2009 at 10:38 am

I planted a couple of apple trees in 1984 in back yard in California. Plenty of fruit over the years.
Now I see the bark is splitting up on both trees and the fruit is not that plenty full.

What di I need to do?
Is the life of the trees over?



Fallon March 28, 2011 at 9:47 am


I planted an apple tree from seed recently and i’ve been dieing to ask somebody this….. Were the apples edible and if so what did the apples taste like.

P.S. Sorry to hear the tree started to split, wish I could offer some useful advice.

Yours sincerely,


Mel February 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

You might like to consider grafting a pollination partner onto the tree if you only have space for one tree, not only will they pollinate each other but you’ll get two types of apple

My friend has an amazing tree with many culivars see http://web.ukonline.co.uk/suttonelms/multicoloured-tree.jpg


Fern February 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Mel–That’s an interesting idea, though I’m not sure most gardeners know how to graft or have access to budwood/scionwood for grafting. Sometimes I see trees at a nursery that have two different cultivars grafted on, so that might be one way for people to get such a tree.

Heather March 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Me and my mom and family have a peach tree thats about 3 years old it does so well in the back yard produces so many peaches we dont know what to do with them we try to give them to neighbors, but anyways i was wondering if i plant an apple tree to close to it will they cross pollinate? our backyard isnt too big at all… also we live in southern CA and i bought a granny smith apple tree do u think it will do okay in our climate?


Fern March 19, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Heather–Unfortunately, apples and peaches will not cross pollinate. A Granny Smith needs 600 chill hours, that might be a close call in many parts of Southern California. If you have a full sun spot that tends to be a cold pocket during the winter, that would be the best spot for your Granny Smith.


Mel March 20, 2010 at 2:36 am

Ferm- whilst I agree most people don’t know how to graft, it does not mean they can’t graft. Grafting apples is acually very simple and easy to do and most people can achieve results. Don’t be put off by thinking it is some great art. The worst that can happen is the graft union fails & you have to retry next year. My kids have been able to graft since they were 10. As for access to scion. In the US there are lots of scion exchanges (lucky lot) in the UK there is one a year but there is also a scion exchange yahoo group. Scion can also be obtained for any apple tree , amnd sourcing it this way locally gives you a chance to see what thrieves will in your location.

On apple seeds & pollination. Most apple trees are self sterile they need another partner to produce fruit. Again don’t buy into the myth that trees that grow from seed are weak. Generally they are not because they need to be strong to survive at all. But they might be huge or have horrible fruit. People tend to forget every single (bar sports) apple cultivar we have grew for a seed on its own roots. It was cloned because it taste good ! I know of several trees from the 19th C in the UK that are now famous cultivars, the original tree is still standing & fruiting that is not a weak tree.

Many new cultivars were grown by chance planting by ordinary people so if you want to wait 6-10 years for fruit and you don’t mind the risk it might not be a tasty apple I say give it a go. But if you want a specific apple pips from that apple are not the way to go.


Fern March 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Mel–People can learn how to do anything, that doesn’t mean that most people want to go through the trouble. I thunk you’re underestimating the difficulty of successful grafting for the average gardener. Moreover, while some trees grow from seed are great, many of them aren’t. Most people don’t want to tend to an apple tree for ten years only to find out the seed they planted had crab apple for a pollen parent and tastes awful.

Mel March 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I’m not underestimating the difficulty of sucessful grafting at all. Because it is no more difficult than tasks people do regularly, cutting vegetables, sewing, driving if you can do any of these you can graft apple, they are very aminable. If you don’t want the trouble that is fine, but it is an achievable choice should one want to try.

I did say if one does not mind the risk of growing from seeds, I did not say your were guarenteed a tasty apple. The reason we have to many cultivars is because people did try. Not ideal, perhaps, if you are limited on space , but again of you wanted to you could and you could reduce the fruiting time by grafting some scion from the pip onto a very dwarfing rootstock and once established drop the branches down to encourage fruiting growth , you would get fruit far sooner than ten years. I know of experts who have trees fruiting from pips in 2-3 years, by bending the lead shoot towards the ground & tying down once the shoot is about 1.5m high.


Bo March 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Thanks for creating this site! I have an apple tree grown from seed in a 16″ diameter pot that is approx. 10 months old and 30 inches high. It’s been a rocky road trying to guess about watering, fertilizing etc. As a result, because of my experimentation, the tree is not doing very well at the moment.

I was keeping it as dry as possible without going too far but we had a very hot spell a couple of weeks ago (So. Calif.) and some of the new small leaves close to the stem started to yellow. I (foolishly) watered with Miracle Grow added and that seemed to make things worse.

Then, I got ‘help’ from a gardening forum and it was suggested that I might have burned the roots so I was advised to ‘flush’ the soil with large quantities of water. Which I did.

That was about 10 days ago. Now, all the small new leaves are dying off and some of the large ones too. I have not watered for 10 days as the soil seems moist enough.

Recently, I decided to move the tree into a more shady area with morning sun only.

Have I killed the tree and is there any way I can bring it back?


Fern March 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Bo–I don’t recommend growing an Apple from seed. For more info on why, check out this post: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/save-yourself-the-heartache-dont-grow-fruit-trees-from-seed/. As to what is going on with your particular plant, it’s really too hard to diagnose without at least seeing a closeup of the leaves that are dying and the plant in general. Can you upload one or two pics somewhere on the internet, and post the link?

Debbie Thompson September 6, 2010 at 6:42 am

My husband planted several apple trees this summer and we potted some volunteer trees that are 10″ to 2′ tall, now what do we do with them. We would like to bring them in off the deck but we are not sure of over winter care. Thanks, Debbie


Fern September 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Debbie–Assuming you bought an apple that is well-suited to your climate, I’d move your tree near a wall to protect it from strong winds. If you live in a severe climate, you can wrap the pot to protect it from extreme temps. More details on that here: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-protect-your-container-garden-from-frost/


Donnelle September 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm

My son, who is 8, planted an apple seed about 7 months ago in a pot just to see if he could get a tree to grow. My parents own greenhouses and put the pot in a greenhouse to keep it warm when it was first planted. And wouldn’t you know, it sprouted and is about 9 inches tall now. We brought it home about a month ago and have left it outside, it was still quite warm here in Michigan. Now it’s September and the leaves on the tree are turning brown. We never transplanted it into the ground. Is it too late to transplant it into the ground? If so, should we leave it in the pot outside or bring it back in for the winter? Like I said, we live in Michigan, so we really get winters here. We aren’t looking to bear fruit, but would like to try to save the little tree since it was my 8 year old’s experiment. Thanks for any suggestions anyone can provide.


Mel April 20, 2011 at 3:10 am

Donnelle I wonder how your tree did ? It is ok to plant out at any time of the year for pot grow apples, for trees in the ground winter when they are dormant is fine. No idea how cold you winter gets but I hope the tree did ok ?

Fern September 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Donnelle–Apple trees will lose all their leaves in the fall/winter. It’s a normal part of their yearly cycle. That being said, I wouldn’t leave such a young tree outdoors during a michigan winter. If it was my tree, I’d see if there was still room for it in a cool part of the greenhouse.


Stefanie March 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Can you give us an update on how your apple tree is doing? I recently found your website and am very intrigued by this. So much so that I’ve ordered a couple of trees and am waiting for them to arrive. Is there anything you’ve found (tips/tricks/etc.) that are slightly different from when you wrote this article? Have you gotten fruit from your tree yet? Above you suggest a size for the pot, but do you also suggest a material (plastic, wood, clay, etc.)? Thanks so much!!


Fern March 16, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Stefanie–I gave the apple tree away earlier this year. I followed my own advice in this article and had half a dozen apples the second season after I planted it (last fall). I wouldn’t use terra cotta because it dries out too quickly. But I had my tree in a metal pot and it did just fine (while a citrus tree I had growing in an identical pot clearly did not like its roots getting so hot thanks to the metal). Plastic, glazed ceramic, wood, etc should all be fine.

Barbara April 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Hi! I just ran across your article while looking for advice on a unique situation and I wonder if you might have any suggestions for me — I have an apple tree that I grew from seed a few years ago. It’s been indoors its whole life. I was thinking of transferring him outdoors this summer so he can be a “real” tree but the problem is this past winter he did not go dormant (I did not have a sufficiently cold place for him– I’m in MN so it was either indoors or frozen solid outdoors). What do you think? Will he make it if I plant him outside or should I keep him indoors until he is able to be dormant a while? (and find a way to keep him cool but not too frozen next winter)? I know you’re not a botanist but I’d love an opinion! thanks! :)


Mel April 20, 2011 at 3:07 am

How cold does it get where you are ? I have 200 plus apple trees (very few repeat cultivars) in pots outside & we were down to -12 C last winter, to my surprise they are all taking off fine this spring. Some apples are more cold hardy than others, being a seedling it is impossible to guess. so first question is how cols does it get where you are ?


Barbara April 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

Hi Mel, thanks so much for your reply!
I’m in minneapolis so it gets very cold in the winter, not all that unusual to get to -20F (-28C) in january. I know that other apples do okay as long as they are planted deep and not exposed to too much wind, but the main concern is just that he did not go to “sleep” last year. So I worry that his resistance to cold and pests will be weakened. Do you think that is a legitimate concern?


Elizabeth August 22, 2011 at 5:06 am

Hello Everyone, I am new to the apple growing family. My 8 year old grandson loves apples and is constantly trying to grow a tree. This past summer we both planted seeds from the same apple (store bought, kind unknown) in containers. While his died with the first transplanting mine is about 12 inches tall. Leaves from top to bottom except for a few lost to rust. Now what do I do? Its in a 4 inch clay pot and I live on Cape Cod. I tried putting it outside this summer but we have juniper trees and the apple tree began to get rust spots on it so its been an indoors tree eversince. Should I transplant it before it goes dormant? Will my uninsulated attic be cold enough for the dormant hours? I have found this sight very helpful and have enjoyed reading and following the stories. Thanks for the help :) ))


Marcus October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

My partner bought a Granny Smith Apple at the grocery store, and I happily ate it. Just for fun, I planted about 8 seeds from the apple in a tiny pot. I watered the soil and gave it lots of direct sunlight for about 4 weeks…but nothing happened, so I lost interest and stopped paying attention to it. A couple of weeks later I noticed a tiny little green sprig popping out of the soil, so I again started watering it. Long story short, I now have a healthy apple baby apple tree that’s approx. 2 ft high. I have no idea what kind of apple tree it will be, but it’s alot of fun and love growing an apple tree from a seed from an apple you ate….I hope it lives long and prospers…wish it luck!


Calleigh November 5, 2011 at 8:56 am

Thanks ,this was a big help with my science project


Gary Asp December 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I’m growing a Honey Crisp apple tree from seed. It is winter in Colorado and the tree is about 6 to 8 inches tall. When is it OK to place it outside? Right now it is in a fairly big pot – 12inch diameter(just re-potted it from a smaller pot).


Fern December 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Gary–You realize that it’s not possible to grow Honey Crisp apples from seed, right? Here’s more info: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/save-yourself-the-heartache-dont-grow-fruit-trees-from-seed/. I would put it back outside when it will be consistently 30 degrees or above.

maurice morton February 14, 2012 at 1:34 am

Hi.Fern. Thanks for your free info.I planted two apple trees,James Grieve and Elton,in large pots three years ago. The second year I had plenty of apples on both,and this year just one particular branch with no apples on it. I am just about to go out to see if any pruning needs to be done,so your info was a very welcome find.Keep up the good work,Regards.Maurice.


jenn March 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Try a self watering container for trees. It wont dry out and it will produce more fruit.


leta May 13, 2012 at 4:58 am

I would really like to see a picture of a columnar tree with the chives, basil, marigolds around it so I can see what it looks like planted. Also, one with all the other items that prevent pests would be nice, the garlic, etc., can these other plants be started from seed and still prevent the insects?


Elizabeth May 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Hello! I recently found an apple seed germinating in my Pink Lady apple at lunch! Instead of tossing it out I am keeping it and growing it in an open plastic bag with a damp paper towel in indirect sunlight. I think it’s working because it already formed two green leaves and one long root that has turned brown, which I am hoping is normal. My father says I should only plant the seedling when the root looks like a fish bone with three or more roots popping out of it. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on how to keep my baby happy and healthy!
After it has “fish-boned” I am transferring it to a small pot with Moisture Control MiracleGro soil. Any tips would be really appreciated! Thanks! You can see the seedling by looking at the tag “sail’s apples” on my blog so you get an idea.


Seth June 1, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I just planted a golden delicious apple tree in a 20 gallon container, it was bearing about 20 apples. that was last week. Now, some of the leaves are turning yellow with spots. Am I over watering?

The tree is on a 2nd floor deck that gets tons of sun in pittsburgh, pa. the weather has been a bit erratic this year, just starting to get hot.


Katherene July 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Hi, I also planted an apple tree from seeds I saw sprouting in it. My question is I bought this apple from an organic store. If it is not possible to get apples from seed what about grafting on to it. Put a graft on both sides instead of having two trees? Since it’s only an inch tall I have time. Could I get apples that way? It is on a patio, I’m in Sacramento, CA. Also my son bought me a cherry tree that is about four feet tall in a container. How long does it take to get cherries and if I need a pollinator could I graft a plum on it. We had a tree years ago that was half plums and half cherries, awesome. I saw your pruning pic and wanted to know about shaping the branches around the sides of the patio. I saw this on a organic show for people with very little space. It kept the apples low for picking and produced a lot because she didn’t prune the branches. Also, I read that you want to keep the tree low and spread out for easy picking so wouldn’t you prune the leader a little? Major newbie for trees so would appreciate suggestions. Thank you, Kat


Kimberly September 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Hi I planted my apple tree straight from an apple and it started growing properly but now it seems to be dying for some reason. Its leaves are starting to turn brown and I’m worried that it would die. Could you tell me suggestions on how to revive it or if it could be revived. I would appreciate it a lot. Thanks.


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