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.