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How to Grow Clementines & Mandarin Oranges From Seeds

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A variety of Mandarin orange widely grown in the Mediterranean region and the United States, Clementine oranges (Citrus Reticulata ‘Clementine’) can be grown from seed in the same way as any other variety of Mandarin orange. Best suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, Clementines cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Clementine and other Mandarin orange trees can be easily grown from seed.

Remove the seeds from the fruit. Rinse the seeds under lukewarm tap water. Rinse off any juice and remove all fruit flesh from around the seeds. Any fruit left around the seeds will rot when planted in the soil and could result in mold or fungus that might destroy the seeds.

Place the seeds in a cup of lukewarm tap water and let them sit for 24 hours. Although soaking the seeds in water before planting is not necessary for germination, it does increase the chance of the seeds germinating successfully. Note: If you do not intend to plant the seeds right away, dry them completely and then put them in an airtight container. This prevents the growth of microorganisms. Storing them in cool or even cold location until you’re ready to plant is also essential to prevent seed destruction.

Plant each seed into a 3-inch pot. Plant the seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep into a rich but well-drained potting soil with a neutral or slightly acidic pH balance. Water the soil of the pot until it is soaked and let it drain.

Cut one or two small holes into a small transparent bag. Place the bag over the top of the pot so that it acts as a barrier, keeping heat and moisture in over the surface of the pot. Secure the bag in place, if necessary, with an elastic band around the base of the bag and top rim of the pot.

Place the pot near a bright window or outside on a bright balcony where it will receive a few hours of direct sunlight each day. Remove the bag to water whenever the surface of the soil appears dry.

Remove the plastic bag after the seedling emerges and outgrows the space provided within the bag. Water the seedling whenever the surface of the soil appears dry.

Transplant the small tree after roots appear around the drainage holes of the pot. The Mandarin seedling can be planted in a larger pot for patio or even indoor growing, or outside in an area of the yard where it will not be crowded or shaded from direct sunlight.

How to Grow Clementines & Mandarin Oranges From Seeds. A variety of Mandarin orange widely grown in the Mediterranean region and the United States, Clementine oranges (Citrus Reticulata ‘Clementine’) can be grown from seed in the same way as any other variety of Mandarin orange. Best suited to U.S. …

Growing mandarin trees ? I did it my way !

Citrus trees are tropical plants. They can be grown in temperate climates as houseplants in containers, kept outdoors in summer, indoors in winter. Most of the citrus fruits are hybrids. Any citrus seed we sow can become a productive hybrid plant, but if it produces fruits, these will be different in appearance and taste from the original.

To get always the same fruits, one has to use grafted trees. Cuttings are taken from the desired plant and attached to a rootstock from another citrus variety. This is called “cloning“.

Satsuma tangerines are one of the few citrus plants that bears fruit similar to the parent when grown from seed.

1. SAVING SEEDS

I collect a number of the biggest seeds I find when eating some large mandarin oranges (the flatter seeds will not germinate). Fresh seeds of all the citrus plants (clementines, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, limes…) are surrounded by 2 distinct layers :

(a) a tiny slippery layer of an acidic gel-like substance (mucilage), providing a protective barrier to prevent that the tender seed is germinating inside the fruit;

(b) the whitish harder seed coat, consisting of 2 half shells sealed together.

To eliminate the mucilage layer I keep the seeds a while in my mouth. My salive is thereby dissolving the gel-like substance.

To eliminate the hard seeds coat and set the tender seed free, I cut off its pointed end with scissors or nail clippers.

Now I can easily separate the 2 halves of the seed coat and set the seed free.

I repeat these actions for a number of seeds.

2. SOWING THE SEEDS

I sow the seeds in a tray filled with a quantity of my homemade, moistened potting mix (local soil mixed with a bit of chicken manure or compost and some sawdust). I gently push the seed about 5 mm deep into the soil and cover it with some mix. Finally, I spray some water over the soil surface and cover it with a sheet of transparant plastic to form a mini-greenhouse.

3. KEEPING THE TRAY WARM

I keep the tray warm by placing it in a warm spot, e.g. on a windowsill.

4. KEEPING THE TRAY MOIST

I keep the potting mix continuously moist, but not soaking wet (better to underwater than to over-water citrus seedlings; they hate to have their roots in water). Germination normally takes around 2 weeks. Some seeds will sprout faster than others.

In this tray I first kept an avocado seed for a longer period. When it started germinating, i also pushed some mandarin seeds in the potting mix. Two weeks later they germinated in turn. Meanwhile, the avocado seedling continued its growth. Photo WVC P1150049.

5. PLANTING THE SEEDLINGS

When seedlings are about 5 cm high, they can be planted separately in a small container (not too large, e.g. 10 cm) or grouped in a bigger container. If the climate allows it, the seedlings can be kept in a sunny spot, but the potting soil has to be kept moistened all the time.

The green seedlings of my mandarins are reaching the right stage for transplantation in a bigger container. Photo WVC P1150053.

As you can see, it is really simple to get a number of mandarin plants from seeds. However, it can take 3-6 years before the self-pollinating mandarin trees are flowering and fruiting.

Citrus trees are tropical plants. They can be grown in temperate climates as houseplants in containers, kept outdoors in summer, indoors in winter. Most of the citrus fruits are hybrids. Any citrus seed we sow can become a productive hybrid plant, but if it produces fruits, these will be different in appearance and taste from the…