Nope, not California dreamin’… although with the weather we’ve had lately, I’m almost there.
The real story is that I’ve been trying for a number of years to start citrus trees from seed. For some reason I have failed miserably on every attempt. That is, until now!
About two months ago I bit into a tangerine that was so full of seeds that it was pretty much inedible. There were about 25 seeds inside of the little thing! I was so astonished at how many of them were there that I was compelled to keep them and toss them in an old pot of soil to see what they would do.
I saw nothing of them for weeks. I was getting ready to take the pot back outside when I thought to myself: “How many times have I tossed out a pot of dirt and citrus seeds? Could it be I’m just not waiting long enough for them to germinate?”
So I dug down into the soil and saw that the seeds were swelling! Not rotting and molding, but puffing up, as if something exciting was going on inside of them. Sure enough, a few days ago a little green sprout poked its little head out of the dirt. Several more sprouts quickly followed it.
So the secret to starting citrus trees from seeds seems as simple as this: have patience. Give them a couple of months to sprout. They seem to have no real special needs for soil, no fertilizer; just a few drops of water every several days. They seem very happy with an east-facing window where they get indirect sunlight in the mornings. I have this little collection in my bathroom where it gets warm steam at least once per day.
What’s next for the little things? Well, if all of them sprout, I’m going to have to learn how to repot citrus seedlings very soon. After that, they’ll grow for a few more months in that east-facing window. Then come June, I will put some in the greenhouse and see what they do!