Sliced apple with pips showing

The Apple tree is one of the easiest trees to grow and as you will know, they produce a lush and juicy fruit. The apple comes in loads of different varieties and some are sweet and tasty to eat straight off the branch and others are a little more bitter and good for cooking or making cider.

Apple trees are grown from cuttings that are grafted onto root balls of other plants to guarantee the type of fruit the tree bears. So, if apple trees are all clones, can you grow apples from pips? Yes, you can grow apples from pips although it is not recommended, and we will tell you why.

What are Apple Pips?

Quite simply, apple pips are seeds of the apple tree and like most fruits, they are grown on the inside of the fruit. I will be surprised if you have never seen an apple pip but if you have not, they are small, brown and teardrop shaped.

Why is Growing Apples from Pips NOT Recommended?

In the horticultural world, growing apples from pips is considered a waste of one’s time and space. Apples do not grow true to type, meaning that they do not grow the same fruit as their parentage. Each tree grown from seed will grow a new and unique variety of apples and they are highly unreliable.

If you plant seeds, it really is potluck with what fruit it will bear, some may be small and yellow with a bitter taste, or you may get lucky and produce a nice and shiny red dessert apple (the chances of that happening are extremely slim).

The reason for growing apple trees is for the fruit and if you are unable to guarantee the type of fruit on any given tree, it is indeed a waste of time. If you do not have the space to grow a unique specimen of tree with no guarantees of which fruit it will provide, you are able to buy trees that guarantee the fruit type at your local garden centre.

Why you Should Grow an Apple Tree from a Pip?

There are a few reasons that you should give it a go if you have the space to do it and are not looking for the next saleable supermarket variety.

Satisfaction & Education

Growing anything from seed can be extremely satisfying when the plant reaches maturity and growing plants from seeds is also great fun and educational for children.


Randomness is great fun, until it first fruits you will not know what type of apple you will get and there is a certain joy in the first year of fruit and finding out.

Your Very Own Variety

If you grow an apple from a pip, you will have your very own unique variety of apples. If you somehow manage to grow something saleable, you could also strike it big!


If you want to grow your own apples, you will need to be careful in which way you choose. Apples can be grown from pips although you cannot guarantee that it will produce a nice and tasty fruit.

If you want to guarantee the fruit type of your tree, you will need to purchase an apple tree that has already been grafted onto the cloned rootstock of another plant.

Although you cannot guarantee what fruit you will get, it is rather enjoyable to grow your own apple tree from a seed and see what you get. If you have space, why not give it a go!

Did you Know?

Garden Doctor Trev

“When chewed, apple seeds release a minute dose of hydrogen cyanide which in large doses is extremely toxic!”

“Every new apple tree grown from seed is unique in its genetic makeup!”

“A naturally grown apple tree can grow up to 30 feet tall!”

“There are apple breeding programs that plant thousands of trees searching for the next commercial hit!”

“You may have seen an apple or two in your life, but did you know that all the apples that you buy in a supermarket are clones? Every Braeburn, Cox & Gala all stemmed from a single parent tree!”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between apple pips and apple seeds?

Nothing, apple pips and apple seeds are the same things. They are the seed of the apple tree and the small brown pips grow inside the apple fruit.

Can you grow apples indoors?

Apple seeds can be started indoors and then planted out in the early spring after the first frost. Apple trees are not grown indoors due to the lack of light and the fact that they can reach 30 feet tall.

Can you eat apple seeds?

Apple seeds can be eaten and swallowed whole with no ill effect. When the seeds are chewed, however, they release hydrogen cyanide in extremely small quantities. 

Do apple seeds contain cyanide?

Yes, when chewed, the amygdalin in the seeds breaks down to release hydrogen cyanide in small quantities.

How many apple seeds does it take to kill someone?

It is said that it would take approximately 150-200 apple seeds to kill a human adult. The amount is not exact as there are other factors such as height, weight, and metabolism. 

How long does it take to grow an apple seed?

When you grow an apple tree from seed, on average, it takes around 10 years before the apple tree will grow and be strong enough to bear fruit.

Why are apple trees cloned?

Apple trees that are grown from seed do not grow true-to-type fruits of their parent tree. The reason for cloning is mainly commercial in order to guarantee what fruit the tree will bear.

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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