How to Make an Orange Seed Sprout
Have you ever finished eating an orange (Citrus × sinensis, USDA hardiness zones 9-11) and realized that you have a small pile of orange seeds? Seeds are seeds, right? So, could you take an orange seed – or lemon seeds, for that matter – and grow an entire fruit tree from them? The answer is yes, but it takes patience.
Gathering Orange Seeds
Any seed contains the genetic information for the plant from which it came and into which it can grow. All a seed needs is the proper temperature and amount of moisture, and most seeds will begin to germinate and grow. Next time you eat an orange, lemon, grapefruit or mandarin, save the seeds. You may not have the patience for it to grow into an actual fruit-producing orange tree, but you can at least achieve an attractive plant.
A seed from citrus, whether it be an orange seed or lemon seed, can grow just as easily as the seed for a tomato plant or any other plant. ABC News reported on how easy it is to grow an orange tree from an orange seed, and the only thing it said is a citrus seed-growing “secret” is not to let the seed dry out. If the seed is kept warm (plants in the genus Citrus are native to subtropical and tropical climates, says Encyclopedia.com), it should sprout in no more than a few weeks.
Growing a Tree From Orange Seed
An orange seed is also sometimes called an orange pip. According to Margam Country Park, wash your orange pip or seeds right after you’re done with your orange. Planting the orange pip right into the soil is more effective than trying to sprout it in a damp paper towel. Plant the washed seeds in potting soil and cover them with soil to a depth of a half inch.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Cover the planting container with either a plastic bag or plastic wrap and place it in a warm place. Keep in mind that the seed does not need direct sunlight at this time. It needs to be warm but not dried out, so the top of a radiator might dry it out too much.
Remove the plastic cover once the seed sprouts. Keep watering it, keep it warm and transplant it to a more permanent container when the seedling is large enough. ABC News says that your orange seed plant will grow best if it is kept at a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, although 80 degrees would be ideal. Place the sprout in a sunny window once it starts to develop leaves.
An Orange Tree Plant
Most fruit is grown from trees produced by cuttings that are grafted onto another tree. Growing an orange tree from an orange seed means that you may not get the same delicious orange that you ate to get the seed in the first place. That’s because plants grown from seeds are not the same genetic material as the parent tree. Citrus, however, often does produce seeds that are genetically identical to the parent tree, but it takes so long to get fruit that you could wait years before you know for sure what you’re going to get.
The phase of a young orange tree before it starts to bear fruit can take years. That said, it can still be rewarding to grow a citrus tree of any type from a seed. Even if your citrus tree never bears fruit, you can still enjoy its glossy green leaves, dramatic appearance and fresh scent.
You may have noticed that most seeds (although not all) do not start to sprout inside the plant. With commercial fruit, there may be a sprouting inhibitor sprayed on the fruit. Soaking the seed for a couple of hours before planting it could help remove any sprouting inhibitors that might be present.
- ABC News: That Orange Seed You Just Spit Out? Grow a Tree
- Encyclopedia.com: Citrus Fruit
- Margam Country Park: Grow an Orange Tree From a Pip!
Vanessa is an avid gardener with experience helping things grow in the three corners of the country where she has lived — Florida, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. She is also a journalist and marketing content creator who enjoys cooking and eating, both helpful hobbies for a gardener.
How to Make an Orange Seed Sprout. You can grow your own orange trees from the seeds in the orange you bought at the store. With a few tricks, getting an orange seed to sprout is usually easily accomplished. However, to have that seed grow into a tree that produces oranges takes several years. Interestingly, the …
Germinating Orange Seeds
Citrus fruit seeds, including oranges, are generally easy to germinate, although seeds usually will not produce a tree like the parent plant if the parent tree was a hybrid. To ensure you are getting the kind of tree you want, purchase seeds from a reputable seed company, advises Virginia Cooperative Extension.
If you are growing oranges from seed for the fun of it and are not particularly interested in the variety, then by all means collect seeds from a neighbor’s tree or even from a store-bought orange and enjoy your resulting orange trees. Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), hardy in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, according to Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, comes true from seed, but ‘Pomelo; and ‘Temple’ oranges do not.
Growing Orange Seeds Information
Collected seeds are washed by placing them in a bowl of water and swishing them around to loosen any attached orange pulp. Seeds that float and seeds that are small in comparison are not good for germinating. Remaining seeds are cleaned, folded into a dry paper towel and placed inside a sealable plastic bag. To break seed dormancy, seeds are refrigerated for three to four weeks; seeds collected from store-bought fruit have already had a refrigeration period, so refrigeration is no longer necessary.
Soil for Germination
Orange trees prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil and the best germination medium is soil-based. Garden soil is sterilized through covering and heating to 180 degrees in a home oven for half an hour.
Commercially bagged topsoil has added amendments to increase moisture retention, friability and drainage. Sphagnum peat moss and vermiculite or sand used in equal parts with soil makes an appropriate germinating blend. When peat moss is used, it is important to place the soil in pots and to water several times to ensure the peat moss is moistened.
Growing Oranges From Seed
Before planting, orange tree seeds are soaked in water for at least two hours, or overnight, to hasten germination, advises the University of Florida. One seed is planted in a 3-inch pot, or several seeds evenly spaced in a large pot, to a depth of 1 inch. The pot is watered and allowed to drain before placing it in a warm, sunny window or on a seed propagation mat with the thermostat turned to 61 degrees Fahrenheit. In the spring time, when outdoor soil temperatures are warm enough, seeds can be sown directly in the ground.
Orange Seed Germination
Germination times can take as long as six to eight weeks or more. Meanwhile, the soil is not allowed to dry out, but not waterlogged either, as too much moisture will cause the seed to rot. After the first true leaves emerge, the seedling orange trees benefit from daily misting with water. Train the new plants to a single stem.
To speed up germination, a gibberellic acid soak is used. A plant hormone, gibberellic acid can be purchased from some garden supply stores or online, notes the University of Florida.
Germinating Orange Seeds. Citrus fruit seeds, including oranges, are generally easy to germinate, although seeds usually will not produce a tree like the parent plant if the parent tree was a hybrid. To ensure you are getting the kind of tree you want, purchase seeds from a reputable seed company. If you just want to …