Valley Permaculture Alliance

Has anyone successfully started an orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit tree from seeds in the fruit and have the tree produce fruit?  I am doing a search and it sounds like it is possible.

How long did it take the tree to fruit?

Are there any varieties that produces fruit better than others?

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You likely wont be happy with the result. Better off with a grafted tree on rootstock that will do well here. By the time it fruits you would have wasted quite a few years waiting just to find out the fruit is no good.

it is quite possible. And while i agree with Huntszoo re: disappointments, there is also an optimistic chance you could have a desirable hybrid that has never existed before. Cross-pollination creates seeds which would someday bear fruit different from the ovule and pollen source.

near the equator, it could take just six  or even less years(to bear fruit) if growing calamondins from seed. But oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit will take longer to mature.

the huge drawback to growing citrus seedlings anywhere north(or south) of the tropics would be that a severe winter spell could kill the plants/trees before they even reach bearing age if growing on their own roots.

the choice of  rootstock make citrus hardier in temperate climates

Grace on top of what the others have said here are the points I think are important:

The seed may not be 'true' - you can easily have a hybrid (Meyer Lemon is supposed to be one of the few that breeds true from seed)

The root stocks protect against main diseases so you would most likely have to raise the tree in a large container

It can take years as noted to find out you got a hybrid which may or may not be a fun plant to grow.

Having said all that, experiment is fun, but it would be a long term project.

Actually much citrus is "true" from seed.  Some is not however (monoembryonic seeds).  As far as I know all oranges, mandarins and grapefruits ("grapefruits" that are hybrids may not) will come true from seed.  Even monoembryonic citrus while not true from seed can frequently produce (say 1 in 4) a good to superb unique product and I have no idea why.  This makes citrus quite different from many fruit tree families that plain suck from seed.  Some citrus produce both mono and polyembryonic seeds within the same fruit. 

Huntzoo is correct in trying to grow a fruit tree (citrus) in this case adds 4-7 years onto when you finally see fruit compared to a grafted tree (which usually is 3-6 years b/4 fruit).  So if 10 years is not too long go for it.

A graft can be selected to be more ideal for our soil and conditions.  A seedling has the advantage of full size, it proves itself a survivor to our conditions.  Citrus juveniles will be VERY thorny.  They lose this trait over time.

I have half assed grown some Seville Sour Orange seeds which all died off by about 6" tall.  I wanted to start my own root stock.  I should have followed some instructions rather than simply planting them as my germination rates were pathetic.

Good additional info, Powell - thanks for the extra facts I did not have :-)

per Powell, juveniles are characteristically thorny, and this explains why the rootstocks used on most citrus are armed with plenty thorns when allowed to sprout its own  branches. These rootstocks were grown from seed and are thus quite young. The age of the roots strongly influence longevity. This  is why a marcotted orange will have a shorter lifespan than one that has been grafted to a rootstock grown from seed. In effect, grafting must be the  most ancient form of biotechnology. Splicing the desired fruit bearer(that is also mature) into a desirable  and young rootstock, and getting the best of both worlds.

in the tropics, the lifespan and productive life  of, say, a lemon  grown from seed will be much much longer than a mature lemon  grafted onto a  young rootstock of trifoliate citrus, but outside the tropics,  the results would be the other way around  for an unrelated reason: lemons on their own feet get frostbite. You can adorn the lemon tree with xmas lights or maybe even place heat lamps under the canopy, but   can't possibly warm the the roots if the tree is planted directly on the ground. Because heat tends to go up, and cold tends to gravitate, keeping roots warm would be virtually impossible even with heat lamps. 

with trifoliate citrus as the rootstock, one could grow oranges as far north as washington as long as the  trunk  and branches above the graft  are warmed during winter.

Thanks Everyone, I think I will try it.  Has anyone used solar Xmas lights to wrap around their trees?

Grace, I think someone asked this once.  I do not believe they can give off enough heat to protect them from frost if that is what you are thinking.  The LEDs by design do not give off heat.  The old fashioned Christmas tree lights work very well for that with a cover over to keep the heat in.

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