How to Plant Orange Seeds the Easy Way

Love the idea of planting orange seeds to supply you with fresh fruit, juice, marmalade and sangria? The good news is that most sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) come true from seed, meaning the fruit from the trees they grow into will be the same as the fruit they came from. The downside is the seven-or-more year wait to enjoy it. To get started, read on!


How Do I Prepare Orange Seeds for Planting?

To collect and prepare your orange seeds, you’ll need:

  • Two or more ripe, firm juicy oranges from the kind of tree you want to grow.
  • Sharp paring knife.
  • Bowl of clean water.
  • Mesh strainer.
  • Two clean, heavy-duty paper towels.
  • Two plastic foldover sandwich bags.
  1. Slice the oranges in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut each half into four segments.
  3. Pop the seeds from the segments with the knife tip
  4. Swish the seeds in the water to remove the pulp.
  5. Rinse them in the mesh strainer.
  6. Refill the bowl with clean water and soak the seeds overnight.
  7. Fold the two paper towels in half three times.
  8. Lift the top folds and spray the towels lightly with water.
  9. Spread half the seeds beneath the top fold of each towel.
  10. Replace the folds, slide the towels into the sandwich bags and close the bags.

Expert gardener’s tip: Subtropical orange trees only grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. They’ll indoors elsewhere, but don’t count on them fruiting.

How Do I Germinate the Orange Seeds?

Keep the plastic bags between 70°F and 75°F (21.1°C to 23.9°C). Check daily and spray to keep the towels damp. When white radicles emerge, it’s potting time.

How Do I Pot the Sprouted Seeds?

Fill 4-inch pots with sterilized seedling mix and add water until it runs out the drainage holes. Poke a ½-inch deep hole in the center of each pot, place a seed in radicles down and cover with mix.

What Next?

Move the pots to a warm spot in filtered sun. Mist daily to keep the mix damp. When a seedling gets three sets of true leaves, move it to a 10-inch pot of citrus potting soil.

Water to keep the soil damp but never saturated. Fertilize every other month with organic, slow-release 5-2-6 fertilizer applied at the label’s recommended rate.

When the nights are consistently above 60°F (15.5°C), put the seedlings outdoors with morning sun. Bring them inside before the nights drop below 50°F (10°C).

When they’re big enough, transplant them to their permanent location in early fall.