At the beginning of the pandemic, house bound, I decided I wanted to try germinating apple seeds from fruits I had consumed. After a dormancy, one of the seeds actually sprouted and I was obsessed with caring for it. It got about 6 or 7 inches tall, was transplanted into a bigger pot, and moved outside where it continued to grow. One morning going out to my car, I saw that some creature had chewed through the base of the tree and just discarded it on the ground beside. Panicked, I put my sweet little friend in water, hoping to save it, but it was no use. I was so upset I couldn’t even move or empty the pot it had been in. As a matter of fact, I probably left it for a month. But then, the craziest thing happened: the root must have been very established, and the darn thing re-sprouted!! Not one, but TWO trees from that root. I call it my ‘Lazarus’ tree. But now what? Do I leave the twins conjoined? Should I prune one whole half of this little tree? I have it inside under a grow-light at the moment to protect from outside critters and the impending frost. I live in USDA hardiness zone 6b. Do I leave it under light or put it in my basement for dormancy?

  • It's not really a miracle. In the wild, tiny trees get trodden on and broken, or eaten, all the time. That's why if they are growing in the ground, the roots start growing faster than the top. In a pot there might not be enough room for that. If the top was 6 inches tall it really should have been in a pot with at least 12 inches depth of soil.
    – alephzero
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


Great story! And great name for an apple: Lazarus.

Since you have critters outside, I would leave both sprouts for now. Until it gets big enough to not be eaten by animals anymore (do you know what animal?), you have more chance with 2 spouts instead of just one.

I don't know what kind of apple you had, but most apple trees can survive hardiness zone 6b. So I don't think it needs to be inside for frost. But I understand that you are afraid that it will be damaged again by animals. So if you keep it indoors, you can use grow light until it loses it leaves. Without leaves it doesn't need light anymore of course.

I hope in some years you'll have good tasting "Lazarus" apples!

  • 1
    If you keep it warm indoors, it won't go dormant for the winter, won't lose its leaves, and will probably die before spring. Get it outside in the cold weather where it belongs - preferably planted in the ground so the roots can grow wide and deep, not it a little pot.
    – alephzero
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 21:48
  • When you follow alephzero's advice. protect the little guy with a cylinder of hardware cloth (hardware cloth is actually a steel mesh of quarter-inch squares that nothing can chew through). Buy a three-foot high roll, cut about 18 inches off and roll it into a cylinder, then tie the ends together with twist-ties. Hammer a stake into the ground next to the tree and twist-tie the cylinder to it. If you can, sink the cylinder into the soil by a couple of inches or heap soil around it on the outside so that voles can't get under it. You can leave this on year-round until the tree is bigger.
    – Jurp
    Commented Sep 23, 2020 at 23:14

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