Starting Orange Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Malta, NY
Question by TMULL77827
December 14, 1997
During our long winter months, I like to experiment with seeds from fresh fruit. This year I'm having problems with germinating orange seeds--Clementine to be exact. Should I soak them first? let them dry? My next try will be Grapefruit. I need to keep busy until my new Burpee book comes!


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Answer from NGA
December 14, 1997

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Most citrus varieties can be grown from seed, but the resulting plant may not produce fruit "true to type"--that is, you'll get an orange tree from an orange seed, but the fruit might be of poor quality. Most fruit trees are propagated by "budding".

Most tropical and subtropical fruits germinate best if the soil temperature is maintained at a temperature of 70 to 80F. You might need to supply bottom heat (commercial seed starting mats are available).

To raise by seed, sow in pots of seed-starting mix at a depth of about 1 inch. Water them as necessary to keep the soil moist, and keep them in a warm spot. Use fresh seed; citrus seed is quite perishable. You shouldn't need to soak them or give them any special pre-treatment. It's best to use seed from fruit that has not been refrigerated. Also, don't make the mistake of buying seedless grapefruit!

When the seedlings are large enough to handle (8-12 inches), transplant them into their own pots.

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