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How to Germinate Tangerine Seeds

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Tangerines (Citrus reticulata) are citrus fruit similar to small, sweet, loose-skinned oranges. Originally from Southeast Asia and southern China, a tangerine tree can be grown in California and other areas of the United States, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11, notes Floridata.

By growing tangerines, you can save money, add ornamental value to your home or garden, and stop worrying about chemicals used on the fruit you eat. While tangerine trees are usually started by grafting, growing a tangerine tree from seed is a satisfying long-term project.

Disinfect Tangerine Seeds

Fill the sink with water and add 1 teaspoon of bleach. Wash the tangerine seeds in the liquid to disinfect them. Rinse them off with water. Skip this step if you purchased your seeds and didn’t extract them directly from the fruit.

Begin Seed Germination

Soak the seeds in water for eight hours to help promote the germination process.

Prepare Seed Pots

Sanitize the pot or flats you will be using by soaking them in diluted bleach for 15 minutes, advises Fine Gardening. Once dry, fill a 3-inch diameter pot with moist potting mix up to approximately 1 inch from the top. Tamp the soil with your fingers so it’s firm in the container. As an alternative, use a seed-raising flat or peat pellets.

Growing Tangerines in Pots

Place up to three seeds on the soil surface, spaced an equal distance apart. Cover them with a 1/2-inch layer of soil. Lightly press down on the soil to firm it over the seeds.

Moisten Tangerine Seeds

Fill a spray bottle with water and use it to moisten the top layer of soil. Pouring water onto the soil may work as well, but be careful not to wash away the seeds or get the soil too wet which may cause a fungal infection, notes Fine Gardening.

Cover Seed Pots

Stretch a piece of clear plastic wrap over the pot to insulate the seeds. Secure the plastic with an elastic band. This helps to keep the soil moist.

Maintain Warm Temperatures

Place the pot in a warm room so the seeds can germinate. Check the soil regularly and spray with water as needed to keep it moist at all times. Aim for a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid drafty windows and place a heating pad under the pot or position it near a heater, if needed.

Expose Seedlings to the Sun

Relocate the pot once the seeds germinate. Expect the seeds to germinate over a period of two weeks. Remove the plastic wrap and place the pot in a location where it’s exposed to sunlight.

Transplant Tangerine Seedlings

When they are 4 inches tall, transplant the tangerine seedlings to larger pots. If you live in a warmer climate, you can also transplant directly into the garden, after the last frost in your area. Tangerine trees grown from seed may not bear fruit for 10 years. Fruit on seed-grown trees may not be the same as the fruit from which the seed was taken.

How to Germinate Tangerine Seeds. Tangerines (Citrus reticulata) are citrus fruit similar to small, sweet, loose-skinned oranges. Originally from Southeast Asia and southern China, tangerines can be grown in California and other areas of the United States, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b …

How to Start a Tangerine Tree From a Seed

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With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially for kids as the seeds germinate easily and develop into attractive trees. However, most tangerine trees grown from seed never grow large enough to blossom and develop fruit.

Purchase tangerine seeds from a garden center or nursery. Alternatively, save the seeds from a fresh tangerine. Wash fresh seeds thoroughly as the sweet juices may cause the seed to mold.

Fill a small pot with commercial potting mixture. Use a fresh mixture that contains materials such as compost, peat moss and perlite. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, as poorly drained soil will rot the young seedlings.

Water the potting mixture and then set the pot aside to drain until the mixture is lightly moist but not soggy.

Plant two or three seeds in the pot. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of potting mixture.

Cover the pot with clear plastic, or slide the pot into a plastic bag. The plastic promotes germination by keeping the potting mixture warm and moist.

Place the pot in a warm location such as the top of a refrigerator or other appliance. Light is not important at this stage.

Water as needed to keep the potting mixture moist, but not soggy. Never allow the mixture to become dry. Watch for seedlings to develop in about three weeks.

Remove the plastic covering as soon as the seedlings emerge. Move the pot into a location with bright, indirect sunlight and room temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid direct sunlight, which may scorch the tangerine seedlings.

Repot the seedlings into individual, 4- to 6-inch pots when the seedlings have a pair of true leaves, which are the leaves that appear after the initial seedling leaves. Continue to keep the potting soil lightly moist.

Feed the tangerine tree monthly throughout spring and summer, using a liquid, acid-based fertilizer for rhododendrons or azaleas. Mix the fertilizer at half the strength suggested on the container.

Repot the tangerine tree into larger containers as it grows, using a pot only slightly larger each time. The moisture in a too-large pot may cause the plant to rot. Alternatively, plant the tree outdoors in spring if you live in a warm climate.

How to Start a Tangerine Tree From a Seed. With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially … ]]>