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How to Start a Tangerine Tree From a Seed

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With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially for kids as the seeds germinate easily and develop into attractive trees. However, most tangerine trees grown from seed never grow large enough to blossom and develop fruit.

Purchase tangerine seeds from a garden center or nursery. Alternatively, save the seeds from a fresh tangerine. Wash fresh seeds thoroughly as the sweet juices may cause the seed to mold.

Fill a small pot with commercial potting mixture. Use a fresh mixture that contains materials such as compost, peat moss and perlite. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, as poorly drained soil will rot the young seedlings.

Water the potting mixture and then set the pot aside to drain until the mixture is lightly moist but not soggy.

Plant two or three seeds in the pot. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of potting mixture.

Cover the pot with clear plastic, or slide the pot into a plastic bag. The plastic promotes germination by keeping the potting mixture warm and moist.

Place the pot in a warm location such as the top of a refrigerator or other appliance. Light is not important at this stage.

Water as needed to keep the potting mixture moist, but not soggy. Never allow the mixture to become dry. Watch for seedlings to develop in about three weeks.

Remove the plastic covering as soon as the seedlings emerge. Move the pot into a location with bright, indirect sunlight and room temperatures of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid direct sunlight, which may scorch the tangerine seedlings.

Repot the seedlings into individual, 4- to 6-inch pots when the seedlings have a pair of true leaves, which are the leaves that appear after the initial seedling leaves. Continue to keep the potting soil lightly moist.

Feed the tangerine tree monthly throughout spring and summer, using a liquid, acid-based fertilizer for rhododendrons or azaleas. Mix the fertilizer at half the strength suggested on the container.

Repot the tangerine tree into larger containers as it grows, using a pot only slightly larger each time. The moisture in a too-large pot may cause the plant to rot. Alternatively, plant the tree outdoors in spring if you live in a warm climate.

How to Start a Tangerine Tree From a Seed. With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially …

Tangerine Tree Care – How To Grow Tangerines

Tangerine trees (Citrus tangerina) are a type of mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata). Their loose skin, easily pulled away from the fruit, and the sweet segments within make them a delicious treat. In the United States, the ‘Clementine’ is the most familiar of the species and is readily available in grocery stores. This article is for those gardeners with an interest in how to grow tangerines or how to care for a tangerine tree you already have.

Planting Tangerine a Tree

Unless you live in a tropical or sub-tropical region, you’ll be growing tangerines in a pot. While they withstand cold temperatures better than most citrus, they still can’t survive a hard freeze. Even in warmer climates, it’s best to choose a sheltered place for planting. Tangerine tree growth is dependent on lots of sun, so choose a sunny spot as well.

You might be tempted to try growing tangerines from seed, but in all likelihood, the tangerine trees that result from your efforts won’t bear the fruit you’re expecting. It’s much better to purchase your tangerine trees from a reputable nursery. The plant will be grafted onto a rootstock and already have a year or two of growth.

To know how to grow tangerines best, you’ll need to gather a few things before you unwrap your tree. First, you’ll need a container that leaves plenty of room for growth. While potted citrus trees don’t mind being a little pot bound, you want to give your growing tangerine’s roots plenty of room to expand. Don’t go overboard. Just make sure there are a few inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) of free soil around the root ball than there was in the container it came in.

Which brings us to the second item before planting. Tangerine trees like a neutral soil pH, so it’s a good idea to wash off as much of the peat around the root ball as you can. Most good potting soils are already neutral and the addition of peat can drive the pH into the acid range.

Place your tree into the pot and fill the area around the roots with soil. Set the tree at the same level as it came from the nursery and tamp the soil down well. Young tangerine trees need plenty of water until they’re settled in their new home. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, for at least a week or two and the water regularly.

How to Care for a Tangerine Tree

Now that you’re finished potting, it’s time to talk about how to care for a tangerine tree. Tangerine trees grown in a pot need to be fertilized at least twice a year and as soon as you see new growth, it’s time to begin. Set your pot in a sunny place and let nature take its course.

When the weather is consistently above forty F. (4 C.), it’s safe to move your tree outdoors – although, like most houseplants, gradually moving your tangerine to its new microclimate will prevent shock and the loss of leaves. Follow the same process in the fall when temperatures begin to drop.

When your tangerine tree is indoors, it will need to be watered when just the top of the soil is dry to the touch. During the time your potted tangerine tree is outdoors, it will need to be watered daily.

When talking about how to care for a tangerine tree, we would be remiss not to mention the future. Unlike some other fruits, tangerine trees need no pruning.

As it grows, your tree will need to be repotted about every three to four years. Like other houseplants, one size up in pot size should be enough.

It will also take three to four years for your tangerine to bear fruit. So be patient and enjoy its beauty in the meantime. And when you taste the first fruits of your labor, you’ll be glad you learned how to grow tangerines.

Tangerine trees are a type of mandarin orange. This article is for those gardeners with an interest in how to grow tangerines or how to care for a tangerine tree you may already have.