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We planted some apple seeds this Spring and they did very well. We just moved them inside for the winter and now the leaves are turning colors? Are they dying or just going dormant? If dying, what did we do wrong and is there anyway we can help keep them alive? Apple sapling 1Apple sapling 2

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They look as if they were going dormant outside before you brought them in. If they are now in a warm room, quite likely they will start to grow again too early and end up etiolated because of the low light level inside the house over winter.

Keeping them in normal "living room" temperatures is not a good idea. They really need several weeks below 50F (10C) over the winter period to grow naturally with a dormant period over winter. Keeping them somewhere unheated (e.g. a garage) would be better.

If it doesn't get a proper dormant period, it just will keep growing one long stem. A dormant period will make some of the buds along the stem "break" and grow into branches next year, so you will get something that starts to look like a tree.

Unless your climate is too cold for apples trees to survive the winter anyway, I think they would have been perfectly OK left outside.

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  • Good answer. One side note, though: Be careful with containerized plants outside. Plants that would survive in the ground may not in a pot, unless you dig a hole and put them pot and all in the ground. The ground buffers the cold and prevents freeze-thaw cycles that may damage or kill a potted plant. I have a whiskey barrel that I put mint in every year, and it rarely survives the subzero winters we get in Idaho.
    – DCookie
    Nov 23 '19 at 1:48

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