growing grapefruit from seeds

How to Grow Ruby Red Grapefruit Trees From Seed

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Pink and slightly reddish mutants of white grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) have appeared in the United States since the early 20th century. Modern citrus breeders have produced a few strains with lovely sweet, red flesh that are marketed commercially as Ruby Reds. True sun worshipers, Ruby Red grapefruit trees are winter hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 through 11 and won’t tolerate sustained temperatures below 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you start your own Ruby Red grapefruit tree from seed, it should begin producing fruit in six to 15 years.

Pick a fresh Ruby Red grapefruit to extract seeds from as early in the ripening season as possible. While most California Ruby Reds ripen from February to June, coastal fruits may mature a month earlier. Choose locally grown fruit if at all possible since the parent tree is well adapted to growing in your region. Don’t use fruit that has fallen from the tree to the ground. Look for an unblemished grapefruit with bright, vibrant, uniform color. Depending upon variety, skin color may range from deep yellow, pink to orange-pink to nearly red. It should feel firm but not hard and should bounce back into shape when you squeeze it. The fruit should be slightly ovate with a flat bottom.

Peel the Ruby Red grapefruit, and pull the sections apart. Don’t cut the fruit with a knife to avoid damaging the few seeds that it may contain. Snack on the flesh and reserve the seeds. SRinse the seeds under cold running water until they don’t feel slippery anymore. Plant them as soon as possible.

Fill the cells of a seed-starting six pack with equal parts Perlite or sand and peat moss, or use a good commercial potting mix. Set the flat in a shallow pan of warm water until the surface soil feels evenly moist. Take the flat out of the water and allow it to drain freely for about 30 minutes.

Plant a Ruby Red grapefruit seed about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in each cell. Cover the flat loosely with a clear plastic bag. Poke a few holes in the bag with a toothpick to provide good air circulation. Place the flat out of direct sunlight in a room that is about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The top of your refrigerator or above a hot water heater are good locations. Keep the surface soil evenly moist during germination. Your seeds should sprout in about two to six weeks.

Remove the plastic when the Ruby Reds sprout. Move the seedlings to a warm, brightly lit room near a bright window, but out of direct sun. Keep the surface soil evenly moist, but never wet or soggy. These plants hate wet feet.

Repot the seedlings into 6-inch pots when they have several sets of leaves. Use a good commercial sterile potting soil. Keep the soil evenly moist. Feed them a citrus fertilizer diluted to a quarter strength per the labeling instructions. Fertilize the seedlings every two to four weeks thereafter throughout the growing season. Move them to a bright window with western or southern exposure. Provide the Ruby Reds with four to six hours of direct sun each day. Keep them at about 60 to 70 degrees F.

Plant the grapefruit seedling in a fertile, well-draining location in full sun when it’s about 4 or 5 inches tall. Choose a spot on the southern or southeastern side of a building to protect it from cool weather. Locate the plant at least 12 feet away from structures, walkways, driveways and fences. This provides space for the grapefruit tree root system, and gives plenty of room for the tree to reach its mature size.

Keep Ruby Red grapefruit tree’s soil evenly moist throughout the growing season. Don’t allow it to dry out completely during its first year. Keep the planting area free of weeds, but don’t mulch this plant.

How to Grow Ruby Red Grapefruit Trees From Seed. Pink and slightly reddish mutants of white grapefruit, Citrus paradisi, have appeared in the United States since the early 20th century. Modern citrus breeders have produced a few strains with lovely sweet, red flesh that are marketed commercially as Ruby Reds. True sun …

Growing Grapefruit from Seed


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Tip: Plant Grapefruit Seeds As Houseplants

For some cold weather greenery that will brighten the house and last all winter, try filling a flat pan with rich dirt and thickly planting the container in grapefruit seeds buried one half inch deep. Keep the earth well-watered. The seeds will be slow to sprout but will be worth waiting for.

By Ron from Cortez, CO


Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Question: How Do You Start Grapefruit Seeds?



Here is one way to do it:

Wrap seeds in a small amount of moist peat moss or a damp paper towel and tuck them into a sandwich bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks. Then plant the seeds in a small pot. Otherwise, just bypass the fridge idea, plant them directly in the pot, and see what happens. Either way, you are bound to get something to sprout eventually.

Once the seed germinates and the seedling starts to grow, wait until it develops it first true set of leaves (usually the second set of leaves that appear) before transplanting it to a bigger pot. The pot does not need to be too big to start with, just make sure the soil mixture you use provides plenty of drainage.

If you plant a seed from a grapefruit you buy at the supermarket, chances are the seed is from fruit that was produced by hybrid plants. On the one hand, this means that your tree could turn out to be sterile and never produce a single piece of fruit. On the other hand, you may get fruit, but if you do, it is unlikely to exhibit the same size and flavor characteristics as the original fruit you took the seed from. You going to have to be very patient, because it can take anywhere from 7-9 years before a grapefruit tree is mature enough to produce its first fruit. In any event, you will have a lovely tree to show for your efforts.


I found this article after a search. Hope this helps:

It is not that easy to start any Citrus from seed, I have started 1 but it had already sprouted in the grapefruit. The drawback
From starting any fruit from seed is they never come true, that means there never liked the original fruit, sometimes you will get something better, but usually it’s not even worth eating.
If you should happen to get 1 going and find out it has a lousy fruit, you can always graft a good Citrus to it, in fact you could do several different ones on 1 tree.

Question: Growing a Grapefruit from Seed?

I have a grapefruit that was started from seed, I do not know the variety. It is about 18 inches in height now and pretty healthy. The leaves are like a double leaf, in that there is a smaller section near the stem then a larger leaf beyond that. Currently it is in a 4-6 inch pot indoors, but it is exceeding it’s home now. I can’t just let it die so I would like to know how to care for it and help it live.

By Gale Sequeira from San Rafael, CA


I bought a house with a grapefruit tree that had never given fruit in 7 years. We did not get fruit until 3 years later. But now, 7 years after that, I usually fill at least 15 of those 30 gallon tubs each spring. I take the fruit to school to school for my students and parents to have. I play rock ‘n roll all summer long in the back yard while I’m in the pool. I’m sure that’s what makes it produce so much fruit.

Double leaves? That is a key feature of a very particular and exciting citrus tree: a kaffir lime! The leaves, with their distinct doubling feature, makes it identifiable.

Growing Grapefruit from Seed Solutions Share on ThriftyFun This page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution! Tip: Plant Grapefruit Seeds As