Citrus seeds are easy to plant. Clean off any fruit residue to avoid fungus or mold growth or attracting fruit flies, and plant them in a 5-inch diameter houseplant pot filled with rich moist potting soil. If you aren’t good at paying attention to the soil moisture of your houseplants, put your newly planted citrus in plastic bags so they don’t dry out. They need consistent moisture to germinate and start growing well, but not waterlogged or soggy soil. If you let the soil dry out too much when the seeds are trying to germinate, they may become stunted or die all together. The seeds need reasonable warmth as well. Room temperature is fine, but soil temperatures lower than 60 degrees will interfere with germination.
Caring for Citrus Seedlings
Once the seeds have sprouted, they need consistent light to grow well. A sunny windowsill or a place under grow lights helps them to grow a strong stem and healthy leaves. Fertilize the newly sprouted seedlings with weak manure or compost tea or houseplant fertilizer once when they first sprout, and then once every couple of weeks. Weekly watering keeps them growing well. If they dry out and the leaves start to curl, they may or may not recover with a good soaking in the sink. Letting them dry out multiple times will weaken and eventually kill the plants.
Caring for Citrus Trees
The first year, citrus seedlings will grow enough to need to be transplanted to a 10- or 12-inch diameter pot. Check the bottom of the pot to see if roots are growing out of drainage holes. If so, it’s time to transplant it to a larger pot. Keep your citrus seedlings healthy and growing strong with consistent water and as much light as you can provide, plus occasional fertilizing. As the seedlings get bigger, they will sprout spiky thorns on their branches, so be careful when watering and transplanting. Occasional pruning of the top central stalks keep the seedlings from growing lanky.
With a little care and attention to their few needs, you can grow citrus trees to grace your home, clean your indoor air, use for culinary and craft purposes and—eventually—provide some homegrown fruit.