How to Grow Clementines & Mandarin Oranges From Seeds
Remove the seeds from the fruit. Rinse the seeds under lukewarm tap water. Rinse off any juice and remove all fruit flesh from around the seeds. Any fruit left around the seeds will rot when planted in the soil and could result in mold or fungus that might destroy the seeds.
Remove the plastic bag after the seedling emerges and outgrows the space provided within the bag. Water the seedling whenever the surface of the soil appears dry.
Place the pot near a bright window or outside on a bright balcony where it will receive a few hours of direct sunlight each day. Remove the bag to water whenever the surface of the soil appears dry.
Plant each seed into a 3-inch pot. Plant the seed 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep into a rich but well-drained potting soil with a neutral or slightly acidic pH balance. Water the soil of the pot until it is soaked and let it drain.
Place the seeds in a cup of lukewarm tap water and let them sit for 24 hours. Although soaking the seeds in water before planting is not necessary for germination, it does increase the chance of the seeds germinating successfully. Note: If you do not intend to plant the seeds right away, dry them completely and then put them in an airtight container. This prevents the growth of microorganisms. Storing them in cool or even cold location until you’re ready to plant is also essential to prevent seed destruction.
A variety of Mandarin orange widely grown in the Mediterranean region and the United States, Clementine oranges (Citrus Reticulata ‘Clementine’) can be grown from seed in the same way as any other variety of Mandarin orange. Best suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11, Clementines cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Clementine and other Mandarin orange trees can be easily grown from seed.
Cut one or two small holes into a small transparent bag. Place the bag over the top of the pot so that it acts as a barrier, keeping heat and moisture in over the surface of the pot. Secure the bag in place, if necessary, with an elastic band around the base of the bag and top rim of the pot.
Transplant the small tree after roots appear around the drainage holes of the pot. The Mandarin seedling can be planted in a larger pot for patio or even indoor growing, or outside in an area of the yard where it will not be crowded or shaded from direct sunlight.
Steps to grow Clementine oranges include cleaning seeds to prevent mold or fungus after they are put in soil, soaking seeds for 24 hours to increase chance of germination, keeping seeds warm after planting, exposing to sunlight and watering as needed.
For more predictable mandarin fruit, bud scions — young cuttings — from a favorite mandarin tree onto disease-resistant citrus rootstock that does well in your area.
For a showy and fruitful patio display, Dr. Steve George of Texas Cooperative Extension suggests growing a mandarin tree in the center of a 20-gallon container, then growing petunias or pansies around the rim.
Place the pots in a warm, sunny window and keep the soil evenly moist until seeds germinate, usually in about two weeks.
Fill the planting pots with sterile potting mix. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep, then water thoroughly so soil is fully saturated; make sure any excess water drains easily, so soil is not soggy.
Extract mandarin seeds from mature fruit tree harvested directly from the tree of your choice. Do not remove seeds from fruit you find on the ground, even if fully mature, to avoid picking up soil-borne fungi that may kill seeds and seedlings.
Don’t over-water mandarins, which causes their demise much more often than under-watering.
Many of the numerous Satsuma, Clementine and common mandarin varieties are the result of chance mutations.
Cold-hardy citrus known for their red-orange fruits, mandarins originated in China. They were once thought to be hybrids derived from oranges, but DNA evidence has established that the common orange is actually a hybrid between the mandarin and the pummelo. Prized because their fruits are very sweet, easy to peel and nearly seedless, many mandarin varieties will produce fruit with seeds when they are grown near other mandarin cultivars. Most citrus cultivars will produce seed, fruit and cloned trees that are genetically identical to the parent tree. But this is not true of mandarins. Trees grown from a mandarin seed may not resemble either parent.
Rinse seeds thoroughly. If you can’t plant them immediately, spread them out on paper towels to dry (out of direct sunlight). When seeds are fully dry, store them in polyethylene storage bags in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator until you can plant them.
Cold-hardy citrus known for their red-orange fruits, mandarins originated in China. They were once thought to be hybrids derived from oranges, but DNA evidence has established that the common orange is actually a hybrid between the mandarin and the pummelo.