Seed magic!

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A little tree grows up and one day it starts flowering. Along come the bees to pollinate the beautiful scented flowers and then those flowers grow into fruit. Inside the fruit are seeds which, if they get lucky, get to grow into trees.

Start with a little lemon seed and watch the circle of life before your very eyes!

The pips inside the fruit from a home garden tree are the very best seeds for sprouting. You won t find lemon seeds in a packet at the garden centre because they won’t grow if they dry out. They must be fresh from a ripe fruit.

Many other citrus trees will also grow from seeds in this way, including oranges, limes, grapefruit and mandarins.  Some varieties work better than others. Collect some seed and have a go!

Growing a lemon tree from seed

  1. Pick a ripe fruit from the tree.
  2. Cut it carefully (trying not to cut through the seeds) and find your seeds. The biggest fattest seeds are best. Rinse the seeds under running water to wash off a juice.
  3. Half fill a small clean container with seed raising mix then water it and let it drain (your container must have drainage holes). Place your seeds on top then cover them with about 1cm of raising mix.
  4. Place them in a warm place (ideally 20℃ or warmer, so indoors is best in winter) and water each day to keep the mix evenly moist, but not soaking wet. You should see the first green shoots pop up in week or two. If nothing happens after three weeks, try again when the weather warms up.
  5. Once the seeds germinate place them where they are in bright light and watch them grow. The first ‘leaves’ you will see are parts of the seed called the cotyledons. The next set of leaves are the first true leaves, and at this stage your little seedlings are ready for a bigger pot. Carefully seperate them, taking special care not to damage the roots, and replant them straight away into fresh potting mix.

Caring for your baby lemon tree

Water regularly, but let the top 2cm of potting mix dry out between each watering. Feed your tree with a fertiliser made for citrus trees, such as Yates Thrive. When your tree outgrows its pot, move it to a bigger pot or plant it in a sunny spot in the garden with well-drained soil.

When a tree is grown from a seed, it takes many years to flower and bear fruit, so if you are impatient to have fruit in your garden get a grafted tree from the garden centre while you wait! In the meantime enjoy seedling tree as a pot plant outside in a sunny place indoors.

Interesting…

Lemons (and other citrus) can do a rare and special thing called polyembryony - they can sprout more than one seedling from just one seed! So it’s possible to get twins or triplets from a single seed. If this happens, all except one of the seedlings from that seed will be clones - identical the tree you took your seed from. The clone trees are usually the strongest and outgrow their one ‘non-clone’ sibling.

Did you know? Lemon trees love the sun and they hate frost. In cold climates gardeners grow citrus trees in pots so they can move them to a warm place for winter.

Look for these products, tips and advice at an Go Gardening garden centre near you.



9-Sep-2021

 

lemon seed
Sowing seeds of lemon in a recycled supermarket tray

lemon seedling
Lemon tree seedling grown from seed