Orange trees are great for growing in your home or, if the climate permits, in your backyard. They produce fragrant leaves and delicious fruits. Orange seeds are easy enough to germinate, but the first fruits will have to wait from 7 to 15 years. If you want to harvest earlier, it is best to purchase a grafted tree. However, an orange tree can also be grown from seed, which is fun and easy enough.
Part 1 of 3: Collect and Cleanse the Seeds
Step 1. Extract the seeds from the orange
To do this, cut the orange in half and remove the seeds from it with a spoon or knife. A grown tree will bear similar fruit, so choose the orange variety that suits you.
Some varieties of oranges, such as navel oranges or clementines (a hybrid of orange and tangerine), do not have seeds and cannot be grown this way
Step 2. Select and clean the seeds
Choose large, round, healthy seeds that are free from spots, depressions, wrinkles, irregularities, or other imperfections. Transfer these seeds to a bowl and cover with clean water. Dry them with a clean towel and remove any remaining pulp and juice.
- Cleaning the seeds is also necessary to remove mold and mildew spores from the seeds and to prevent fruit flies.
- All seeds can be cleaned and planted, and then the largest and healthiest shoots can be selected.
Step 3. Soak the seeds
Fill a small bowl with clean room temperature water. Place the seeds in water and wait 24 hours for them to absorb moisture. Doing so will increase the chances of seed germination as the shell will soften.
- After soaking the seeds for 24 hours, drain the water and place the seeds on a clean towel.
- Do not soak the seeds for more than 24 hours, as they may become too soft and not sprout.
Part 2 of 3: Germinate the seeds
Step 1. Plant the seeds in a prepared pot or open ground
Take a 10 cm pot with drainage holes in the bottom, or choose a suitable planting site in your garden. If you are going to sprout an orange outdoors, dig a small hole and place the seeds in it. If you are using a pot, add some pebbles to the bottom to improve drainage and place potting soil on top of it. Use your finger to squeeze a hole about 1.5 centimeters deep in the center of the pot. Place the seeds in the hole and cover them with soil.
After planting seeds in a pot, make sure there is enough direct sunlight on it every day
Step 2. Fertilize and water the seeds as they germinate
Delicate sprouts will need a light fertilizer such as compost tea. Add enough compost tea to moisturize the soil. Fertilize the soil every two weeks and water it once a week, or as soon as it dries.
- If the soil dries out too often, the orange tree will wither away.
- When the sprout begins to grow into a tree, it will become larger and leaves will appear on it.
Part 3 of 3: Transplant the shoots
Step 1. When leaves appear, prepare a larger pot
After a few weeks, when the shoots have grown and leaves appear, they should be transplanted into a larger pot. A pot with a diameter of 20-25 centimeters will do. Make sure there are drainage holes in it, and put a layer of pebbles or small stones on the bottom.
- Fill most of the pot with potting soil. Mix equal proportions of peat moss and sand to create a well-drained, slightly acidic soil. For an orange, a pH level in the range of 6.0-7.0 is suitable.
- You can also purchase citrus soil from your garden supply store.
Step 2. Transplant the sprout into a larger pot
Pour soil into a new pot and make a small hole in the center about 5 centimeters deep and in diameter. Squeeze or pat the sides of the old pot to loosen the soil. Then remove the earthen lump from it along with the roots and transplant the sprout into a new pot, then sprinkle the roots with new soil.
Water the new soil immediately to keep it moist
Step 3. Place the pot in a lighted place
Make sure the plant gets enough direct sunlight. It is best to place the pot on a sunny terrace or greenhouse, although it can also be placed near a south or southeast window.
In warm climates, the pot can be kept outdoors during spring and summer, but keep it protected from strong winds
Step 4. Provide sufficient water
The orange tree needs regular watering. During the warm spring and summer months, water the plant abundantly once a week. If it rains regularly in your area, water the tree as needed and keep the soil moist.
During the winter months, water the plant after the topsoil is dry
Step 5. Fertilize the soil
Orange trees require quite a lot of nutrients. Feed the tree twice a year with a balanced fertilizer (for example, 6: 6: 6). Fertilize the plant in early spring and early fall. This is especially important during the first few years before the tree begins to bear fruit.
You can find fertilizers specifically for citrus trees at your garden store
Step 6. As the tree grows, repot it in larger pots or outdoors
After about a year, transplant the plant into a 25–30 cm pot. Then repot it in larger pots every March. If you live in an area with a warm enough climate throughout the year, you can transplant the tree in an open field (choose a place with sunlight).
- As a rule, orange trees will die if the temperature drops below -4 ° C, so do not transplant the plant outdoors if you live in cooler climates.
- Mature orange trees grow to a significant size, so if you live in a cool climate, try to keep the tree in a lighted veranda or greenhouse.