I am trying to sprout some orange seeds from a little tree I had (& died). How
long should I let the seed sit in the soil before I call it a failure & throw
it out? Two of the seeds have sprouted, but none of the other six have. They
been sitting there for maybe a couple weeks. Have I failed? :-(
Check the seeds and see if they have rotted first.
It took me a solid 6 months to sprout Wisteria beans! I planted 6 of
them and just put the pots in the garden area so they would get water
regularly, and finally after 6 months, 2 of them sprouted. :-) The other
4 just vanished. Probably fungal rot.
Those 2 are still alive now and in my new greenhouse! Yay! They are
about 8 inches tall now and due to be repotted. When I think they are
large enough, they will be transplanted outdoors where they can climb on
I wouldn't bother with growing citrus trees from seed. The tree will take
YEARS to reach producing size. More importantly, citrus trees are usually
grafted onto "Sour Orange" rootstock. Sour Orange is not suseptable to
nematodes and makes for a better and healtier fruit tree.
I would recomend that you seek out a professional nursery and obtain a variety
that you will enjoy. Sometimes you can find "multigrafts" that have more than
one variety of citrus on a single stock.
They don't take very many years. I'm growing some key lime seedlings.
They are attractive little plants about a foot tall, and from what I've
read they bloom in 2 or 3 years from seeds.
There is a satisfaction in growing a tree from a seed that you don't get
with buying a full-grown tree from a nursery. And citrus gives you a
much better chance of rasing a worthwhile fruit tree than, say, apples.
I know, this is probably a dumb thing to do and it would be much less
aggravation to just go buy one. But, and I mention this at risk of revealing
myself to be a total whacko, the tree the seeds came from have sentimental
value. The tree was my mom's for almost 30 years. She even revived it once when
it appeared to be dead because while she was away it wasn't watered. She died a
few years ago and the tree lived on ... until my brother forgot to water it for
several weeks while my dad was out of town. I was heartbroken. The tree still
had plenty of the little oranges on it, and the insides were still juicy, so I
took a bunch of those seeds and tried to germinate them in hopes of "reviving"
(sort of) mom's tree, and hopefully get enough seedlings for the rest of the
I understand completely!! That's much cooler than the philodendron
that's been in my family for 3 generations, by way of of myriad
From what I know and have seen, you are more likely to have good
results from citrus seeds, in terms of getting something like the
parent tree, than with most others (tho I know of successful examples
of every sort of fruit tree growing from seed and producing well). The
fruit may not be exactly the same, but it should be recognisable.
Own-root trees are often stronger than grafted trees, too.
Citrus seeds are subject to mold, so be sure you have good drainage.
I'd recommend trying sterile potting soil, and keep it lightly moist
but not wet. Another method that often works is to keep them between
layers of damp paper towels (we did this a lot when I was a kid, using
grapefruit seeds, tho back then fruit was tree-ripened and the seeds
often sprouted inside the fruit).
Lemon seeds will come up like weeds with scant regard for conditions,
and may grow into big, heavy-producing trees in as few as 6 to 7
years. Other citrus seeds seem a bit pickier.
BTW I just talked to someone who has a whopping big volunteer
nectarine that came from a seed her kid spit into the back yard a
few years ago -- she says it has excellent fruit. When its current
crop is ripe I'm going to get some seeds from her and try 'em out.
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