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your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

10 years ago

Citrus tree grow well once you learn how, otherwise they are very temperamental, slow growing plagued with light & pest problems, and are expensive as you replace dead tree after dead tree. The goal here is to learn how to grow them from seed.

You will want to get an orange, lemon or grapefruit at your grocery store and collect the seeds. Stay away from limes and kumquats. Limes have problems with light for foliage and kumquat have weak slow growing roots Plant many of them as most will die over the first year as you go through the learning curve. Once you learn how you can get a grafted tree and it will grow faster than the tree would have if you had grown it through your learning curve. Chances are good it would have died anyway resulting in your loss of interest in citrus. Your chances of long term success and your purchase of more trees is much better.

Getting your material together.
Most serious potted citrus grower use a mix called Al's gritty mix. I did not know about this when I started. I lost 99.7% of my seed grown trees to root rot and damp off (learning curve). I then developed the following mix and It is working well.

1 part crushed brick (not pavers as they're concrete )

3 parts sand of varied particle size and angular shape.

1 part pine bark fines

1 part totally rotted, leaves, wood, food scrapes from compost maker.

Mix together thoroughly. and you have your mix ready to go as your trees grow and need repotting.

This is what my potting soil looks like. This is for a cincinnati climate. In dryer areas you can use more soil and potting soil in the mix. It is important that the root mix drain well and dries up in a week or so between waterings or the roots might get a rot.pathogen.


I am using Vigoro acid fertilizer mixed in the soil and a solution of miracid of 30-10-10 with micro nutrients for foliar and additional root feeding.

-------------------------------------TOTAL----------- SOLUBLE
BORON-------------L------------- 0.02%----------- 0.02
COPPER-----------O------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01%
IRON ---------------W -------------1.60%-----------0.90%
MAGNESIUM----------------------1.50%----------- 1.50%
MANGANESE------P------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01
MOLYBDENUM----H -------------0.00%-----------0.0
ZINC-----------------F------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01%
P---------------------O------------- 8%
K---------------------D------------- 8%

-------------------------------------- TOTAL---------SOLUBLE

IRON----------------D ------------ 0.10%----------- 0.10%
MANGANESE------P------------- 0.05%----- ----- 0.05%
MOLYBDENUM----H------------- 0.05%----------- 0.05%
N---------------------O 18%
P---------------------O 24%
K---------------------D 16%

I have 33-0-0, and 0-0-60 that I can add to either of these to get my 6-1-2 ,equivalency.


I have 2 pairs of 3X reader that together I can see the foliage at 9X magnification to look over once a day. If problems arise
my main defence is dawn dishwashing soap used at 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water. I spay this on the leaves at least once a day untill the problem is over then I'll fall back to 1 time a week. I do flush fresh water to prevent a soap build up and I flush the root 4 times a year to clean out excess salts, soap, and unused fertilizers.

DO NOT USE WATER FROM A WATER SOFTENER. These have chemical harmful to citrus trees.

All the above knowledge I gained on growing citrus came from reading what others said on this forum. I strongly suggest reading regularly from the citrus forum. Any problems you read ,about here you will have in the future. I pays to be ready so you can act at one. This may be the difference in healthy trees and trees getting set back a year or 2.


Most citrus seed will produce more than 1 plant. The strongest of these plant is a clone of the mother tree that produced that fruit. I will produce fruit equal to the fruit of the fruit you just consumed. It will take many years for your tree to reach an age to fruit, however now that you know how to grow citrus you can top graft twigs from a purchased tree to the root base and start getting fruit quick. If you want to grow your seed tree to fruiting maturity, I have a few experiments of my own to share.


Citrus tree like warm humid air an a lot of light. The bucket lights use a low power CFL in man aluminum foil lined bucket that reflects the light back and forth until every ray of light hits ma leaf. This also holds in the heat and humidity necessary for good health citrus growth. This will also hold down spider mite infestation since mites like dry air warm indoor and greenhouse air. Pictures will describe these much better so you can make your own to your specs.

fig tree sharing with citrus an sweet potato plants

Seed grown meiwa kumquat tree out side of it's bucket light
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree & nagami from seed bush in bucket lights

$ FT by 4 FT by 4 FT box with 12-- seed grown 5 gallon pepper plants.

Inside the grow box. these pepper plants could just as weel be citrus trees.

Citrus trees love good drainage

Aeration holes for my seed grown meiwa tree (large bucket) and nagami bush in small.

Click on the link below. My meiwa kumquat tree grown and the mistake explained

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Fri, May 2, 14 at 17:13

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