The trees can grow outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Seed-grown orange trees mature slowly, and most take seven to eight years to bear fruit. Tree grown from seed can take up to 15 years. If you have had a particularly cool winter with night time temperatures dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, portions of the tree may be damaged and can possibly die back. If the tree is potted and lightweight, move the orange plant into the home to keep it warm. After the tree grows into maturity, it will have more resilience during temporary freezing temperatures.
These are the basic materials you will need to begin:
- Fresh oranges
- A glass bottle with a cork or piece of wood for a seal
- Paper towels
- Small container
- Soil (soil mixed with compost is best)
Oranges need adequate moisture movement across the topsoil, as well as within the soil’s underground structure. Any water that can become trapped above or below the ground can cause disease within the orange tree. Sand and compost are perfect companions to the soil for good drainage, but these trees do not tolerate manure. The orange tree prefers full bright sun. In the spring when the temperature rises from 26 degrees Fahrenheit is appropriate for it. During the growing season requires regular watering and fertilizer.
Preparing the Seeds
Save your orange seeds. Immediately wash them in tepid water and begin the planting process. You can use the paper towel method for germination, but the soil method, is more effective. Orange seeds begin losing viability as soon as you remove them from the fruit, so make sure you’re prepared before you cut open the orange. Take seeds from a fully ripe fruit with a solid orange color and no hint of green. Use at least four orange seeds to increase the odds of successful germination.
Next, you will need to peel the seeds. This takes a little practice. Use a sharp blade to gently peel the seeds, placing them on a paper towel. When all the seeds are on the towel, gently mist them with water from a spray bottle. Fold the paper towel (gently roll) and mist the paper towel again. Do not overdo it. You want it to be moist but not dripping wet. Place the paper towel in the bottle and seal the bottle and let it process for seven days. Orange seeds need temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to successfully germinate.
Transplant and Aftercare
Prepare a container with sterile potting soil. Before filling it with soil, create drainage holes. Paper cups tend to dry out sooner, so if you are punching holes in the bottom of the container for drainage, do about four for plastic and two for paper. These are tropical citrus plants. So keep these plants in the sun. Fungus can destroy your young plants, so make certain that you eliminate as many possibilities of mold as you can, including using only sterile soil. Transplant to a more permanent container when the seedling is large enough. Orange trees can be sensitive to transplants. It is imperative that you do not disturb the root system while moving the tree to a permanent planting position. If you use a slow and careful digging action around the roots in the pot, you should be able to move the orange tree to a better position for optimum growth.
Orange trees produce two different types of seedling sprouts: genetic sprouts and vegetative sprouts. The vegetative sprouts share the same traits as the mother tree, so they will eventually produce quality fruit. Genetic sprouts possess genetic variations due to cross-pollination, so they may not produce the same quality of fruit and should be removed. Snip off the genetic sprout at the base using small scissors and discard it so the vegetative sprouts can grow without competition for nutrients. Small containers, large containers help maintain moisture is expected. For new planting orange trees, 8-inches diameter container is enough, but the plant is 2 -3 years old, and his roots are spread out, then 10 to 12 inches diameter larger containers should be transplanted.
The citrus plant required double nitrogen than the potassium and phosphorous. Slow release fertilizer longer needs to. From time to time on the micro nutrients, such as organic manure are good choices. Fertilize the orange seedlings every two weeks with 1/2 teaspoon of 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted in 1 gallon of water. Stop fertilizing in autumn and winter.
Citrus plants prefer deep water, deep water encourages deep roots. Instant water when the soil dries out 1 to 2 inches deep. The frequency of watering depends on the atmosphere and soil porosity.
Fruit production demands full sunlight for peak photosynthesis action. A south facing area of the home’s property is perfect for an orange tree to flourish. Orange trees respond well to being grown in containers, but they will perform best if planted outdoors within their preferred climate range.