Can You Plant a Seed From an Orange?
The joy of planting a seed from a piece of fruit you’ve just eaten and watching it sprout is an exciting adventure, especially when you do it with a child. But if you’re looking to grow an orange (Citrus) tree that bears fruit, your child may be in his teens before you can enjoy fresh oranges from your tree. Planting orange seeds is how farmers create rootstock, but the consumer attempting to grow an orange tree in his yard or a container must wait up to seven years before he can pick the fruits of his labor. In addition, the orange may not even taste good.
Types of Orange Seeds
All citrus fruit produces seeds, and they grow best in temperatures that vacillate between 55 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8–11. California, Florida, Texas and Arizona are the country’s largest producer of oranges. Citrus sinensis defines the four classes of oranges that are sold commercially: common oranges, blood or pigmented oranges, navel oranges and acidless oranges. Before you harvest seeds from an orange, know the type of orange it is.
Preparing the Seeds
Once you’ve plucked the orange seeds from the orange, soak and clean them of any membranes that may be attached. Never plant a dry seed, as soaking leaches out any growth inhibitors that may be lurking beneath the seed’s surface. An orange seed planted in the yard needs loose soil. The restricted soil of a pot inhibits root growth, which can lead to root rot, so plant your seeds in a large pot.
Germinating Citrus Seeds
Citrus isn’t a fussy seed. Turn the soil if you’re planting outdoors, and be sure the soil is well drained and doesn’t pool. Plant the orange seeds about ¾-inch deep and cover with soil. Space outdoor orange seeds that produce large trees 12 to 25 feet apart. Smaller or dwarf orange trees need to be at least 6 to 10 feet apart.
You can use regular potting soil when planting indoor or container orange seeds. Once the orange seed is planted, cover its container with a plastic bag until it sprouts. Then move the container to a sunny spot until it’s ready for transplanting.
Once transplanted, water twice a day, but don’t soak the soil. After several weeks, and for the citrus tree’s first few years, fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer.
Planting Orange Seeds
Orange seeds can be planted at any time of year if you’re growing a tree, but springtime is the best season for planting container oranges. Temperatures are ideal at 80F, but seeds sown in 60F will survive. Germination takes place in three to five weeks, and once the seed has sprouted, move the container to a sunny location. If you’re planting outdoors, be sure the location gets good sun and that the temperatures don’t dip below 60F.
The Waiting Begins
Maintain your orange tree’s health with sun, food and water and watch for insects. The tree will grow spikes when it’s a teenager, but they’ll disappear before actual blossoms appear. After a few years, a small orb appears and grows into an orange. It may not be the same flavor as the orange that produced the seed, but that’s just one of the vagaries of growing oranges from seeds, unless you graft.
Grafting Oranges for Consistency
Grafting is a surgical process in which the grower takes part a stem from a young citrus tree, cuts it away and attaches it to a healthy rootstock plant known as the host. This ensures the type and flavor of the orange as it duplicates the oranges from the rootstock tree. Growers depend on grafting to produce a consistent crop.
Can You Plant a Seed From an Orange?. An orange tree (Citrus sinensis) makes a sweet addition to a yard. The fastest and most reliable way to add an orange tree to the garden is by buying a young tree, but that little seed in your fruit will work, too. You can plant a seed from an orange and it will grow into an …