How to Grow Oranges from Seeds
To grow an orange tree from seeds, one can extract the seeds of an orange fruit. Seeds shouldn’t be dry or withered, or they shouldn’t have any dents or discolorations.
Dried seeds are in their dormant state and can take months to germinate or even may not germinate at all. Once taken out from the fruit, they should not be left out for too long, otherwise, they might become less likely to grow.
Published: July 26, 2022.
Wash and Soak in Water: Once one takes out the seeds, they should wash them to remove any pulp and then soak them in water for at least 24 hours. One should discard the seeds that float to the top.
Let Them Sprout before Planting: The grower can plant the seeds directly into the soil. However, they can even let the seeds sprout before that. For this, the damp seeds should be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 30 days.
Preparing Soil: One can use the traditional potting mix to germinate seeds. The only requirement is that it should be well-draining. Or they can even add citrus potting compost to the potting mix.
It increases the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and to form an acidic (pH below 7) environment that citrus trees love. If the planting medium is not well-draining, one can add hardwood bark chips which will make the soil less compact and will let the water drain through faster.
They should take the potting mix in trays, make holes around an inch deep, and plant the seeds in the holes. They should then cover them with soil and add mulch or compost to the trays to prevent moisture loss.
Placing in a Warm Location: The grower should place the trays in a warm, moist location with indirect sunlight.
The soil in the trays should be moist. For this, the grower can place wet paper towels or plastic bags over the trays. These covers can be removed once the seeds start germinating. (One can skip this step if they are planting seeds that are already sprouted, as described above).
Now the trays should be placed in a warm spot with plenty of sunlight. If the natural light is not enough, the grower should apply grow light. Those who live in a cold or low-sun region may need to place their orange trees in a heated greenhouse or conservatory, even before they’re sprouted.
Fertilize, but Not Necessarily: If the gardener wants to speed up the growth of their trees, they can add a small amount of fertilizer to the soil once every two weeks. They can even skip this step. But if they use it, they can get the best results if they customize the fertilizer according to the nutrients in the soil, which they can read on the label of the potting mix. Otherwise, they can choose a balanced fertilizer that has relatively even quantities of nutrients.
One should stop adding fertilizer after the plant fully grows into a tree. A young orange tree doesn’t need additional fertilizer till its second year.
Transfer to Separate Containers: The grower should let the seeds sprout and grow by keeping them moist and warm till they become ready to be transplanted into separate pots or on a permanent location in the garden.
They should take care not to disturb the root ball while transplanting. The container should have drainage holes and should be big enough to accommodate the deep roots of the tree. The containers should be placed in a warm location indoors, with direct sunlight and good airflow.
Transplanting The Tree
The grower can continue keeping dwarf orange variety trees indoors in smaller planters. But they can start growing the taller varieties indoors in pots and then move them outdoors. They should remember the following points while transplanting:
They should uproot the young trees carefully from their pots without disturbing their root ball.
In an outdoor location with well-drained soil, they should dig a hole that should be a bit larger than the root ball’s size.
They should now place the seedling in the hole and backfill the soil.
Now they should water the plant every week.
Problems of Growing Oranges from Seeds
If a gardener wants to grow oranges from seeds to experience the full growth process, they should also take the risks into consideration.
Plants grown from orange seeds are more susceptible to diseases.
Also, their fruits may not taste like the ones from which the seeds were taken. Such a tree grown from seed may take anywhere between 4 and 15 years to produce fruit.
On the other hand, when the gardener buys a tree from a nursery, they actually get a combination of two plants, one tree bred for healthy roots and other qualities, and another tree with its branches grafted onto the first one.
These branches are taken from a tree that produces high-quality fruits. Since these trees are already mature, they may produce fruit just within a year or two after one buys it.