Cuttings from citrus

dlingySeptember 12, 2009

I would like to start propagating citrus plants from cuttings and have a few questions. I know that citrus are commonly propagated through grafting, but why not cuttings? Will citrus cuttings always produce the same fruit as their parent plant? Also what varieties are easiest, and how long does it take them to root? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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You can propagate citrus from cuttings. Some cultivars do better than others on their own roots (meyer lemon for example) and some root quickly while others take quite some time. The main reason you see citrus trees being grafted is to gain some type of advantage from the rootstock that the scion lacks (disease resistance, growth height, ect.). For example many people use Flying Dragon as a rootstock because it produces a dwarfed tree that is easier to manage in a container or easier to harvest on a farm. I know that the mailorder company 'Logees' sells most of their citrus as small rooted cuttings (although some varieties they sell are indeed grafted). Read through some of the old threads on this site, there is a ton of great information there about citrus propagation.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:49AM
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fofoca(9b NorCal)

dlingy, I just started trying to root citrus cuttings in June. I am using bottom heat (a regular home heating pad under a pyrex tray holding the pots) and zip-lock baggies over the pots to keep in humidity. I've had at least 2 take but I haven't looked recently. I'm trying Meyer lemon and yuzu.

Meyer lemon is supposed to be easy to root, and out of 3 cuttings two are still alive (no roots last time I looked though). Two out of four yuzu cuttings were rooted last I looked, which was probably a month ago.

I'm using Turface as a rooting medium and I'm pretty pleased so far (not much rot).

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 2:26PM
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David, I've only rooted 3 citrus cuttings from Ponderosa lemons. Most of these have taken 6-12 months to root. I have three potted up now which have been potted 10 months but without growth. Yes, rooted plants will be exactly like the parent because they are genetic clones of the parent. A rooted cutting of citrus will carry a genetic 'age" code and will bloom and bear fruit within a year or so after rooting. A seedling may be cross pollinated so it will so it may be dramatically different from the parents. The seedling may have to reach an age of 5 to 10 years before it will bear fruit. How is it going at Penn St.? Still making the Dean's list, I hope. - Terry

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:49PM
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botanicalbill(9b SWFlorida)

I have done a few air layers of citrus trees and have had 100% success. So if you have trouble on the cuttings you may want to try a layer. I did mine in the spring when new growth was coming on.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 10:16PM
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What is 'air layers'? Is that better/faster than cuttings?


    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 11:13PM
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fofoca(9b NorCal)

Air layers are where you partially cut (or remove some bark from) a branch while it is still attached to the tree. Then apply rooting hormone and wrap with a ball of moist sphagnum moss, and cover with plastic wrap. You have to keep the thing moist until you see lots of roots. Then you can remove it and plant.

FYI, regular layering is done by bending a branch down into the soil and partially cutting or wounding it, then hopefully it roots into the soil while still attached to the mother plant.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Oh, I see. I was kind of familiar with regular layering but didn't think of the possibility of doing it up in the tree. :)

Thanks for the clarification.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 1:31PM
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fofoca(9b NorCal)

Glad to be of service, Sandra. By the way, all four of my yuzu cuttings have roots now. I'll pot them up whenever these *! heat waves go away. :-(

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 7:29PM
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Want to try this but I have no stems long or strong enough yet to bend down into soil. Any advice on trying this method and when is best time to do it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:17AM
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You might try putting a bucket of potting mix on blocks to raise it close to the stems then layer as normal. Would need to do it in spring so layering is done by first fall freeze.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 9:52PM
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I was cutting some lower branches off my key lime plant and mistakenly cut one that still had some developing fruit on it. Thinking I had nothing to lose, I cut the end to a spear-like shape, dipped in rooting hormone, and stuck it in a moist pot. It's been a week - the fruit shriveled, the leafs dried up, but the dang thing is rooting! Any notion of whether or not it'll actually grow into a proper tree, or really just a rooty twig?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 5:40PM
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I purchased a 5 yr old nagami Kumquat and it was really overgrown I plucked all the Uneccessary leaves off and then started to remove the branches I didnot want. not wanting to waste the cuttings I made a 50/50 sand soil mix and did the rootone dip. 14 nice cuttings I removed all but the tiny baby leaves that were starting. I will check back in and let everyone know if it works!! if it does I will be very happy as I collect and train Bonsai.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:41PM
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