Propagating Lemon Seeds: Can You Grow A Lemon Tree Seed
I would venture to say that we all grasp the concept that seed planting yields produce. Most of us probably buy prepackaged seeds from the local nursery or online, but did you realize that you can harvest your own seeds from fruits and vegetables to propagate? How about citrus fruits? Can you grow a lemon tree from seed, for example?
Can You Grow a Lemon Tree From Seed?
Yes, indeed. Propagating lemon seeds is a relatively easy process, although you may need to pack your patience and realize that you may not get the exact same lemon from your experiment in lemon seed propagation.
Commercially grafted citrus trees are identical to the parent tree and fruit within two to three years. However, trees produced via seed are not carbon copies of the parent and may take five or more years to fruit, with the resulting fruit generally inferior to those of the parent. For that matter, your growing lemon tree seeds may never produce fruit, but it is a fun experiment and the resulting tree will no doubt be a lovely, living citrus specimen.
How to Grow Lemon Trees from Seed
The first step in propagating lemon seeds is to select a good tasting, juicy lemon. Remove the seeds from the pulp and wash them to remove any clinging flesh and sugar that can foster fungal disease, which will kill off your seed, by the way. You want to use only fresh seeds and plant them immediately; letting them dry out will decrease the chance that they will germinate.
Fill a small pot with pasteurized soil mix or a mix of half peat moss and half perlite or sand and pasteurize it yourself. Pasteurization will also aid in removing any harmful pathogens that can kill your seedling. Plant several lemon seeds about ½ inch (1 cm.) deep to increase the chance for lemon seed propagation. Moisten the soil lightly and cover the top of the pot with plastic wrap to aid in water retention. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Keep your growing lemon tree seeds in an area that is around 70 degrees F. (21 C.); the top of the fridge is ideal. Once the seedlings emerge, move the container into brighter light and remove the plastic. When the seedlings have several sets of leaves, transplant them to larger, 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm.) pots filled with sterile potting medium. Fertilize them with a water soluble fertilizer high in potassium every two to four weeks and keep the soil moist.
The propagated lemon seedlings should have at least four hours of direct sun with temps between 60-70 degrees F. (15-21 C.). As the tree gets larger, prune it in the early spring and repot as needed to encourage new growth and fruiting. Cease fertilizing and reduce water in the winter and keep the tree in a draft free area.
There you have it; a lemon tree from seed. Remember though, it may take as long as 15 years before you are squeezing those lemons for lemonade!
Most of us probably buy seeds from the local nursery or online, but you can harvest your own seeds from fruits and vegetables too. How about citrus fruits? Can you grow a lemon tree from seed, for example? Read this article to find out more.
How to Grow a Lemon Tree From Grocery Store Lemons
The lemon tree (Citrus limon) is an evergreen that’s sensitive to extended periods of cold and frost. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 9 through 12, this member of the Rutaceae family can grow anywhere between 4 and 25 feet tall. Lemon trees are commonly grown from grafted rootstock, which produces fruit in about 5 years. Depending on the cultivar, freshness of the seed and growing conditions, fruit production from seed-grown lemon trees can take from five to 15 years. Lemons from the grocery store can inexpensively provide seeds to grow lemon trees.
Fill a seed-raising tray with moist, seed-raising mix up to three-quarter inches from the top. Tamp down the soil so it’s firm in the tray.
Cut a lemon in half with a knife and remove the seeds. Rinse the seeds in a bowl of water to get rid of any pulp and sugar, because sugar left on the seed can trigger fungi, which can kill the seedlings.
Fill a bowl with water and soak the seeds in it for eight hours. Soaking the seeds prior to sowing them may help speed up germination.
Spread the lemon seeds evenly over the soil surface while they’re still moist. Sprinkle a half-inch layer of seed-raising mix over the seeds and lightly tamp the soil. Avoid letting the seeds dry; the longer the seeds dry, the smaller the chance of germination.
Mist the soil surface with water and keep the soil moist throughout the germination period. Stretch plastic wrap over the tray to help promote soil moisture retention.
Place the tray in a warm area, at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect the lemon seeds to germinate in three to six weeks. Remove the plastic wrap after germination and place the tray near a sunny window, in indirect sunlight.
Fill 6-inch pots with moist, well-draining potting soil. Transplant one lemon seedling in the center of each pot at the same depth that it was planted in the seed-raising tray.
Place the pots in an area of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit where they will get at least four hours of direct sunlight daily, such as a sunny windowsill or porch.
Cultivate the soil in a sunny area of the garden. Remove rocks and weeds and pulverize clumps. Transplant the seedlings in the garden when they’re large enough to handle, after the last frost date. Plant them at the same depth that they were planted in the pots.
Trickle water onto the soil around the plants so it’s slowly absorbed. Use a watering can or garden hose to deeply water the lemon plants so the moisture reaches the roots. Keep the soil consistently moist while the plants grow and establish. Water about twice a week and adjust your watering frequency after rainfall.
Fertilize the lemon plants with a citrus plant food or use a fertilizer with a nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium ratio of at least 2-1-1.
How to Grow a Lemon Tree From Grocery Store Lemons. The lemon tree (Citrus limon) is an evergreen that’s sensitive to extended periods of cold and frost. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 9 through 12, this member of the Rutaceae family can grow anywhere between 4 and 25 feet tall. …