Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tangerine Dreams

Hooray! I have two tangerine tree seedlings!

In November, tangerines showed up at the grocery store and I began eating two a day. The first crop was very seedy. I would sometimes spit out 10 seeds per fruit. As I sat at work, spitting seeds into a napkin, I wondered if I could grow tangerine plants from those pesky seeds. Some grocery store fruits have sterile seeds, as a result of breeding for other traits. A quick internet search found that store-bought tangerine seeds will germinate. I decided to try it, using a method recommended by a successful tangerine grower in Canada.

I went about it somewhat haphazardly. I saved the seeds in a napkin, shoved the wadded napkin into a pocket, and promptly forgot about it. When I discovered the napkin, a week later, the seeds were well stuck to it. I pulled the dry seeds off and popped them in a glass of water, along with numerous napkin shreds. Joyce from Canada recommends soaking the seeds for a week, changing the water every day. I rarely changed the water and the seeds soaked for two weeks while I tried to remember to buy potting soil and peat moss. When I was finally ready to plant, the seeds were thoroughly wet from the soaking but had not split or begun to sprout, as I had expected them to. I pushed them into moist dirt and hoped for the best.

After three weeks, there were no signs of life. Still, I kept my sad little pot of dirt on the kitchen counter and watered it every so often. After two more weeks, I was sure that nothing would sprout and figured that I should just chuck the whole mess into the basement. Last night, as I was wiping the kitchen counter, I discovered two, brave little green seedlings pushing up from the dirt.

I will let them develop further before transplanting them to separate containers. I plan to nurse them through the winter and then set the pots outside in the spring. They should like our hot, muggy summers. According to HGTV, tangerines are the most cold hardy of the citrus fruits, so I should be able to leave them outside through the fall and then winter them in our sunroom. I don’t expect fruit but I would enjoy blooms.
Lemons and limes are next!

P.S. Allsands has some great tips on growing, maintaining, and dwarfing citrus trees.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, yet another difficult plant you have managed to grow, damnit! Ican't even grow weeds. I have to say I think Mike is on to something with this post more often thing, I'm more apt to change blogs if I know they are constantly evolving.


11:04 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

If it makes you feel any better, I never have got an avocado seed to sprout. However, I read a method at Allsands that I may try. It involves soaking the seed in a mixture of water, instant tea, and epsom salts!

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not super better, no.

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when tangerine trees should be transplanted?
I have one about 2 1/2 feet tall in a planter grown from seeds. Any advice anyone?

8:43 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

My tangerine trees eventually died (when I put them outside too early that spring.)
I do have lemons from seed and I transplant the when I see the roots start to come out the pot's drain hole. For my lemons, that is as often as once a year.
I have a friend who has a grapefruit tree he grew from seed. He replaces the soil once a year. He doesn't put it in a larger pot because he wants to keep it small.

10:09 AM  
Blogger KL Snow said...

I love the internet...this morning I was sitting at my desk, eating a tangerine and spitting out seeds, and I thought, "I wonder if I could grow something from the seeds?" An hour has passed, and now my seeds are soaking in a glass by my sink.

Thanks so much for being a conduit of information!


9:53 AM  
Blogger Adi said...

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8:20 AM  

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