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How to Grow a Citrus Tree from a Seed
Dec 09, 2015
Ever run out of limes? Awful, right? You can never seem to buy the right number of limes. You either run out early, or you don't get to them before they brown.
But what if you had your own lime tree? It would solve that problem, wouldn't it?
So plant one!
Here's how to grow a citrus tree from a seed.
Extract the Seed
Open up your fruit and pull out the seed. It has a gnarly shape to it, doesn't it? It doesn't quite look like a seed. That's because what you're seeing is the protective shield around the very seed-shaped seed inside. Technically, you can grow a tree by planting this, but the germination won't begin until that protective coating has rotted away. This could take months. Accelerate the process by removing it yourself.
To do this, slice into the rib-like portion of the shield with your fingernail, and pull the fleshy shield away, revealing the seed inside.
Germinate the Seed
Put that seed (or seeds) folded into a damp paper towel, and fold it over once or twice. Place this into a plastic sandwich bag, and leave it in a warm place -- next to your water hearter is a good spot -- for a week or two. After seven or eight days, you should see some signs of growth in there, specifically a tiny root grabbing onto the paper towel. This is good news. You're ready to plant.
Plant the Seed
Gently remove the seed from the paper towel, and bury it an inch into some good potting soil, like the soil you made from your compost pile. Give it some water and wait. In a few days, the first green leaf will hatch, and you'll be on your way.
Grow the Plant
If you planted your tree directly into the ground, it will need water once a week, either from rain or from the hose. If it's in a container, water it whenever the soil becomes dry. In both cases, make sure the soil gets a good penetrating soak across an area at least as wide as its leaves.
Never allow the soil around your tree to completely dry out for more than three days. There's a funny thing about citrus trees: While most trees drop their leaves when they dry out, citrus trees don't drop their leaves until they are watered again after having dried out. If this happens, don't worry. Just resume a proper watering schedule, and your tree should rebound.
Trees that get too much water will have their leaves turn yellow and drop off. Again, cut back on the watering, and you should see them perk back up again.
And there you have it. Growing citrus trees is easier than you think. It's a great way to introduce kids to gardening, and the best part is, it eventually bears fruit.
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