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ali_mercer

13 year old orange trees growing from seed

ali_mercer
7 years ago

I have two 13 year old orange trees grown from seed. I grew them from a grocery store Orange. I have been waiting patiently for 13 years for them to fruit. I see from prior discussion that this is considered a faulty way to approach a fruit tree. But I do enjoy them immensely. 1 is 8 feet tall and one is 9 feet tall. , I live in Western Pennsylvania which has very cold Winters so they enjoy the summer months in which they flush out nicely on my patio. In winter they are near a bay window in a room with 12 foot ceilings. I have use citrus fertilizer in the past which makes them very nice and green but no fruit. I would like to try the fish emulsion course and would like some advice. Thanks very much, Ali

Comments (102)

  • Laura LaRosa (7b)
    6 years ago

    That is wonderful news!!! You did it!!! I am very happy for you!

  • Allan Stoudemire(Zone 7a)
    6 years ago

    Mind if I ask you what potting mix did you use for this wonderful tree?

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  • Vladimir (Zone 5b Massachusetts)
    6 years ago

    Ali, congratulations! You have done a great job all of these year and I am sure you will continue doing so. No need to worry.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    6 years ago

    congratulations. Thats great. How tall is it.

    6b Steve

  • sunshine (zone 6a, Ontario,Canada)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! Keep us updated, when you harvest your first fruit :))

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    This tree is 10ft tall. It's sister is 9ft. No blooms yet for her. But one never knows. Lol I honestly can't believe it. I use a,standard potting mix plus add some mulch and a teeeeeny bit of sand. I always think the trees yearn to be in the south. Lol i give it miracle grow bloom boost in summer, then haul the poor thing back inside in winter, Pittsburgh pa doesn't host much citrus. Other than that I water once a week outside, once every two inside in winter. I will say the only thing different this year is that I placed them outside my bedroom window where the ac unit is blasting heat. Who knows..i just pray alot. Lol

  • calamondindave
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Congratulations for your tree. Admiration for your patience. It must hard moving that inside during winter!

    Nice looking tree. Was curious if you have ever pruned it?

    i have some calamondins grown from seed, hasn't bloomed yet. Thought about giving them up sometimes. Stories like your keep me going!

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Hi calamondindave, yes I used to prune these trees every fall because as you corre ctly guessed, it's a bear getting them inside for winter. However, they would have probaby bloomed sooner had I not pruned them. Last September I found this site and I was in the ready to give up mentality. Thankfully lots of nice, knowledgeable people in the forum helped me thru. In particular, one person named, Silica. Told me not to prune the trees as citrus must reach a predetermined node count before it will flower. That was so helpful. And so was the encouragement from everyone on this forum. good luck with your trees. Don't give up!!

  • Silica
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ali, I don't think you need any assistance. You have done a great job for years growing your tree. Just keep doing what you have been doing in the past. Nice seeing you again.

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Thank you silica. You really did help alot. Now my concern is that after the bloom, I read that they need to be kept at about 50 degrees for the winter so the fruit will mature. I don't have a garage to winter them and my house is kept at about 68 degrees. Thinking of blocking off the diningroom that has a 12 ft ceiling with plastic and not heating it. Hmmmm

  • bklyn citrus (zone 7B)
    6 years ago

    It's hard to tell from the picture but it looks like your getting blooms well below the top canopy of the tree. You might be able to cut it down a bit (fruiting branch cuttings?) and make it more manageable and still get fruit. Is that a possibility any node count experts?

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Hi bklyn citrus, the pic is not that great. The blooms are actually only in the top 1/4 of the tree. There is another sister tree sitting right behind the blooming one on my patio. So I can see where the pic would be hard to tell. Thanks!

  • bklyn citrus (zone 7B)
    6 years ago

    Too bad, might give you a break on that beast. You can still make mature fruiting wood cuttings

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    6 years ago

    Try bud grafting a foot above the roots. Do lots of grafts. You can keep all that grow and you could have a heavy producer in 2 years.

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Thank you for the advice. I'll read up about how to do grafting. Have never done one. Sounds tricky! Lol Am hesitant because I'm scared I'll harm the tree. She's been with me a very long time. I may try the grafting on the sister tree that has not bloomed yet. They were planted at the same time from the same grocery store orange.

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Is it true that the tree will self pollinate? I have a small, clean paint brush ready to do it manually just in case. I have a plumeria that's blooming now right beside it and plenty of bees here. Obviously in Pennsylvania there are no citrus trees so I'm assuming no chance of cross pollination with any other plants.????

  • sunshine (zone 6a, Ontario,Canada)
    6 years ago

    You can do hand pollination, why not? The bees or the wind can do it as well.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Citrus for the most part need no pollination to bear fruit, they have no need for bees. Pollinated blooms, especially cross pollinated ones, and thus bees, are the bane of citrus producers since the fruit tends to be seedy, even in most 'seedless' varieties. Mature fruit bearing branches will arise horizontally also, not only verticaly, if one lets the seedling tree grow in width. Be aware that the fruit the seedling will produce may differ slightly or significantly from the fruit the original seed was taken from. More often than not it will be of lower quality. Orange trees do not tend to come true from seed. Also, do not get dissapointed if you don't get any fruit from this year's blooms. It often happens with seedlings that they will need a couple of blooming seasons before they are able to hold on their fruit.

    You can try budding on a branch rather than grafting on the trunk. It is tricky to graft on a larger trunk. Timing is critical for either operation.

  • Parker Turtle
    6 years ago

    An orange tree grown from seed will eventually produce fruit, but it may be a very long time. Especially if you have it in a pot indoors and continually are pruning it back, that could take an extremely long time. Because trees grown from seed generally are not grafted, they have to reach a certain stage of maturity before they will begin producing fruit. Growing out in the wild an orange tree would not produce fruit until it became quite big, maybe 8 feet. Grafting onto different rootstock stunts the tree's growth and diverts energy towards fruit production earlier in the tree's life.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    We have established already in this thread that it is the nodal age that primarily matters for fruit bearing maturity not any effects of stunting due to grafting. If the bud or graft selected for grafting is immature then grafting will not significantly expedite fruit bearing. Otherwise we would be able to take a bud from a young seedling, graft it on a rootstock and get fruit quickly... Which we can't do... Hence, creating and selecting new citrus varieties from seed is a very long process mosty undertaken by state sponsored institutions.

  • Silica
    6 years ago

    nikthe greek wrote in an above thread " Orange trees do not tend to come true from seed." This statement is not true. Almost all citrus, except for a few varieties, DO come true from seed, and will eventually produce fruit the same as the mother tree.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yes, I should had phrased it differently. 'There is a good chance that an orange seedling raised from a seed from fruit bought from a store will not come true to type although it will most probably be an orange tree rather than some hybrid'.

    I have to make clear that by true to type I mean exactly as the parent DNA wise and I do not mean loosely that an orange seed will produce an orange rather than a new hybrid.

    Only citrus which produce nucellar embryos in their seeds can come true from seed (and then only from the nucellar embryos, not the zygotic ones). With regards to edible citrus, pomelos, some pomelo hybrids and some mandarine varieties (clementines for one) do not for most part produce nucellar embryos.

    While it is true that sweet oranges will produce mostly polyembryonic seeds in which most embryos are nucellar, and in that respect sweet orange seeds produce sweet oranges and that is ,I guess, what Silica is referring to, that by no means guarrantees that a tree will come true from seed

    In addition and more importantly, most orange varieties, and surely Navel oranges, the most common ones together with Valencias, at least where I live, are certainly not guarranteed to come true to type since navel varieties are sports which, I believe unless new science has shown otherwise, may not come true from seed since there's no guarrantee the exact genetic mutation is propagated through the nucellar embryo. It might or it may not or another mutation may be introduced. It depends on the kind of mutation. Navels have always been propagated by grafts, and newer navel varieties are sports of the original Washington navel which itself was a sport. So the chance for a seed from a store bought orange to come true to type in the strict definition is not great, in my view, although chances are it will produce an edible sweet orange fruit and not some bitter or sour hybrid.

  • sunshine (zone 6a, Ontario,Canada)
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I have a question, my Meiwa kumquat is grafted on Volkamer and someone had told me that Volkamer will affect the taste of the kumquat. Is it true? If it is true, I am planning to graft a Meiwa twig on sweet orange, so it will taste sweet with no other type affecting it. It will be a container tree.

  • Silica
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Here is a list of citrus varieties that DO come true from seed. Almost ALL Sweet Oranges, Mexican lime, Rusk and Troyer Citrange,, Rough Lemon, Rangpur Lime, Otaheite Lime, Palestine lime, Calamondin, Most Grapefruits, Nasnaran Mandarin, Shekwasha mandarin,Karna, Kishu mandarin, Kokni (Monkey mandarin), Alemow, Cleopatra mandarin, Sunki, Sour mandarin, Trifoliate, Dancy, Emperor, Empress, Fairchild, Kara, Freeman, Kino, Murcott, Naartje, Nova, Ortanique, Ponkan, Sampson, Satsumas, Willowleaf, Fino (Primofiori), Verna, Eureka Lisbon, Marrakech limetta, Fukushu kumquat, Nanshodaidai,, most Tangelos, Hybrid Tangerines, Tangors (except Temple), Kumquats (Except Nagami).

    Citrus varieties that DO NOT come true from seed: Ichang Papeda, Australian Desert lime, Citrus Indica, Nagami kumquat,, Pummelos, Citron, Bergamot, New Zealand Grapefruit, Wheeny Clementine, Ellendale Mandarin, Encoe, Fortune, Temple Vgli, Umatilla.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago

    The above is a naive oversimplification of the fact that the first list produces mostly polyembryonic seeds (to more or less extent) while the latter doesn't.

    No clementine I know of exhibits strong polyembryony btw, not only Wheeny..

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    6 years ago

    You all in Europe are so lucky. Here I am suffering cold winters at the 39th parallel so many of you are as far north as 51st with beautiful citrus God definitely favored Europe over the United States. You are 3.5 zones warmer and only 1 degree farther south.

    6b Steve

  • Silica
    6 years ago

    While most grapefruit come true from seed, those types with pigmented flesh but with white albedos, (eg. Thompson seedless, Burgundy) don't come true from seed; they produce seedlings which are Marsh seedless (white). Those pinks and reds which have at least some blush of pink in the albedo will come true to type.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago

    That is because the particular mutation does not carry through nucellar seedlings. Thinking of apomixis as being exactly equivalent to vegetative propagation is an oversimplification.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    poncirusguy, it is the Med effect. Statistically, a freezing event occurs in my garden every 10 years or so which sets my citrus well back.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    6 years ago

    A freeze induced setback every 10 years or so is normal in zone 9b/10a. The reason my area is so cold is the golf stream heads off to Europe and in doing so it draws water down our east coast. from the green land Ice sheet. Every 10 years I'll drop to -5F with our records at -24.5F and -25F. Europe isn't luck, That is just the way it is on earth.

    6b Steve

  • Silica
    6 years ago

    Nikthegreek, Why are you saying "vegetative" ? I did not write about vegetative propagation in either post. My post were about citrus varieties that come true or not true by seed.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago

    People tend to think that propagation my nucellar seedlings is exactly equivalent to propagation by cuttings, meristem culture or grafts. It is not. Furhermore, a seedling from a plant which tends to produce many nucellar embryos is not guarranteed to be a nucellar seedling.

  • Silica
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Nik, your correct saying "plants that tend to produce many nucellar embryos is not guaranteed to be a nucellar seedling". That is because normally the nucellar embryos having a head start, tend to crowd out the zygote seedlings, but sometime a zygote embryo survives. . However, after a time it is normally not all that difficult to pick out the zygote, if indeed a zygote was produced. You seem to put a lot of emphasis on the word "exactly", what people want from a true seed reproduction is a fruit that is the same and the mother tree, and that is what occurs to a great extent with the genus citrus. Nice conversation with you.

  • Jason (Zone 10b, San Diego)
    6 years ago

    Silica, reading through your list, I was very interested in noting that most kumquats do grow true from seed with the exception of the Nagami kumquat. That of course is the variety that I have and I've sprouted a few seedlings, mostly just because. If I can get them to survive long enough, it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

    I've wanted to get a Meiwa kumquat, they are just harder to find.

  • Dave in NoVA • N. Virginia • zone 7A
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    'Navels have always been propagated by grafts, and newer navel varieties are sports of the original Washington navel which itself was a sport. '

    I suspect the reason Navels are always propagated by grafts is pretty much the same reason nearly all citrus are propagated by grafts. First of all, you have the mature scion wood which can bear relatively soon, versus growing from seed and having to wait 10 to 15 years! Then you have the benefits of a rootstock which is resistant to any soil-borne diseases and may also contribute to dwarfing, making the tree canopy lower and easier to pick from. You also are using only one bud of scion wood to produce a plant, versus taking a cutting and using 6 to 8 inches of a branch (and wasting 4 to 6 buds). Navel oranges are also mostly seedless.

    As I understand it, the sports are unusual growths on a tree. Maybe one branch might mutate and grow something unique. Would not the fruit borne on that branch then carry the genes to continue that sport's characteristics?

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Hi to all you experts! In this pic you can see the orange blossoms and the little green fruit. My investigative reading says that the fruit will ripen over the winter, a period of 5-6 months. Is this correct? Thanks in advance!

  • hibiscus909
    6 years ago

    Fantastic photo. Also so glad to hear how much you've enjoyed these plants as they have grown over the years.

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Thank you very much!

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Quite alot of the little fruit is dropping and looks yellowish in color. it looks as though one or two viable very dark green healthy looking fruits remain on each branch. Disapponting because I was thinking I'd get an orange for each blossom. Hope this girl can hang into at least some of them. Going to fertilize and hope for the best.

  • Kelley_GA8a
    6 years ago

    Nik, do you keep your trees in containers or in the ground? I never noticed any citrus in Naxos, but plenty in Italy. Just curious :)

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    In the ground, apart from a few on roostocks not suitable for my soil from which I hope to get buds to graft on roostock. Best rootstock for common citrus in the average greek conditions but being commercially abandoned due to tristezza virus is sour orange. Lots of citrus in Greece Citrus in Greece Since you mentioned Naxos island, you have to look behind the high reeds... Naxos Citrons.

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ali Mercer, you never ever get a fruit for each blossom even on mature trees in the best of commercial cultivation conditions.

  • Kelley_GA8a
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Nik, thanks for the info! We spent time in Apollonas (one of my fav places) and some in Halki - will be going back next year, I'll have to pay better attention. Raki was a bit tough to swallow :)

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Kelley, I hope you had a nice time. Next time in Chalki, try to get yourself some local 'arseniko' cheese.. The small producer made, not the supermarket version..

    Main citrus producing areas in Greece are southwestern mainland Greece, the Peloponese and Crete, but there's no place in southern Greece close to the sea and in lower altitudes that you won't find some garden grown citrus. On the Aegean islands wind is the biggest hazzard for citrus so you'll find them in protected areas or behind high walls.

  • Kelley_GA8a
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks, Nik! I realized after leaving that we should have spent more time in Apiranthos and Chalki (will definitely look for the cheese). It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and the people are absolutely amazing!

    Ali, sorry to stray from your topic!

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    No worries! Hope to get to Greece someday. My fiancee's family is from Crete. Love the Greek culture! I'm an artist and am fascinated by Greek culture. I'm Irish. Lol thanks Nik for the words of encouragement. Perhaps my sour orange is more worthy in Greece than in US. I've had comments saying my trees are considered weeds here. I'm not paying any attention, though, I'm on a mission.

  • Ali Mercer 6b W. Pennsylvania
    6 years ago

    Also, since I've cultivated my sour oranges in an environment outside the norm perhaps the virus of which you speak will never harm mine...????

  • nikthegreek
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I don't think tristezza (CTV) is in your state (and it probably will never be due to the vectors probably not surviving your winters and the non existence of commercial citrus production). I believe it exists in the SE US States. It is a huge problem in Latin America, transferred from there to Spain and we got it from them (thanks to no border intra-EU plant transfer policy..)

  • poncirus50
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Several decades ago, I hybridized Poncirus trifoliata and Clementine mandarin using Poncirus as the pollen parent as Clementine is 100 % monoembryonic when used as the seed parent. The only difficulty was the timing of flowering of the 2 parents. Some of the flowers on the progeny were misshapen and not capable of setting fruit. A few of the hybrids were vigorous and fruited in a solar greenhouse without supplemental heat in southeastern Pennsylvania. These trees were planted directly in the soil with the perimeter of the greenhouse base insulated 4' deep using panels of Styrofoam insulation. One of the trees fruited with Clementine-like fruit, deep orange, seedless, not bitter, but tart, about 2 inches in diameter. Regrettably, I discontinued covering the greenhouse and lost the trees to winter cold. I had previously sent 2 scions to an amateur citrus breeder in Tifton, GA. He was an elderly gentleman at that time and they may not have been further propagated.

    These trees began flowering and fruiting at 5-6 years of age. I did not fertilize these plants and did no pruning as flowering began on the most distal branches, especially on the longer upper branches beginning to bend downwards.

  • poncirus50
    6 years ago

    The soil these trees were planted into was deep, fertile topsoil, no supplemental fertilizers were added. I've enclosed a photo of the fruit referred to.