citrus true from seed

JAGreen(Z6 MI)December 13, 2005

Hi all, can anyone tell me what citrus come true from seed. I was planning to get the seed(s) from a grocery store fruit. Yes I know it will take longer before the tree produces any fruit. I was thinking of a grapefruit and/or a lime. In addition, any help with growing from seed would be helpful. Thanks for all the help.


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Lots of citrus come "true to seed" esp lime. You will also get 2 seedlings from almost every seed from limes (from my experience with key limes).

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 2:02AM
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Key (a.k.a Indian, West Indian) limes come true from seed. But the bigger, lemon-shaped "Persian" (more correctly 'Tahiti', 'Bearss') limes don't, but that's hard to test since they average fewer than one seed per 1000 fruit. Grapefruit all come true-to-type except for the pink/red fleshed types which have no red blush on the peel (Thompson, Burgundy) -- they will make white-fleshed seedlings. But you seldom see those two in the grocery store anyway. All the other reds/pinks, which make at least a bit of color in the peel, are true-to-type.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 8:19AM
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oceanmdx(Los Cabos, Mex.)

JA - the only way to go is with the Key (or Mexican) lime seeds. These come true-to-type nearly 100% of the time. Under ideal conditions, a key lime seed can grow into a blooming tree in about 2 1/2 years, although 4 years is more likely. I have grow many key lime trees from seed. One is four years old now and about 10 feet tall. This year it produced thousands upon thousands of limes! Only grow the "thornless" variety if you have the option.

I have also grown grapefruit from seed - bad idea. They are extremely thorny and will not flower until they are 15-20 feet tall. I ended up grafting all of mine, and the results are extremely impressive.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 10:14AM
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oceanmdx(Los Cabos, Mex.)

Here's a photo of one of my key lime trees (thornless and grown from seed):

I used a key lime - that I grew from seed - as the rootstock for this Bearss lime:

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 12:50PM
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Ocean, your citrus are beautiful. I like the bottom one shaped like a standard, but both are gorgeous. I envy ppl able to grow citrus outdoors..Toni

    Bookmark   December 14, 2005 at 2:36PM
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I remember your pics of your lime tree from almost 3 yrs. ago.
MY, IT GREW big!! Is that the same Blue Agave plant in forground? Nice to see you here again after all this time!
Email me please. I was near you in Mx this year... have some good info for you.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 4:44AM
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oceanmdx(Los Cabos, Mex.)

Yes, it's the same blue agave and thanks for the welcome back.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 6:54PM
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chopstocky(z6 NY Sunset 37)

those certainly are BEAUTIFUL trees! Did I read that right? That lime tree grew to that size from seed in just 4 years?!

wow i guess the advantages to inground growing, far exceed the container types.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 7:04PM
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oceanmdx(Los Cabos, Mex.)

It could be 4 1/2 years old - I don't remember the exact date that I planted it. However, I have found that planting in the ground greatly increased the rate of growth. Where I am there is no risk of frost either.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 7:50PM
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How about pomelos ? what is the largest stain ?and what have they been hybridized with ?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 11:45AM
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mrbrownthumb(z5 Chicago)


I'm bumping this thread up instead of making a new one. I've been trying to germinate keylimes (the kind you buy in the little sac) and I am having zero luck.

I used to do this as a kid and they always germinated. I've given them warmth and mositure...but it seems something is missing.

Also, is there a way to guess or know whether your KL will be thornless before they sow? TIA for any help.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 10:37PM
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I germinated seeds easy this summer, but harder this winter, Ive had a few dry-outs, and some damping off.

if you can get a waterproof buffet warmer thing, or the top of a fridge, or a heating pad that has been covered with a plastic bag or something (and water away from the electricity!) it should help. Ive got one healthy Yuzu up right now, and a few others are trying.

Since Key limes are available all year, you might just wait till its warmer and more humid outside.

many citrus from seed are thorny, just something youll have to live with :-) good luck!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 8:36AM
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Dear citrus growers,
Can somebody help me with my little misunderstanding of polyembrionic seedlings? OK, i have planted 6 meiwa kumquat seeds and got nice 5 sprouts after 3 weeks. Of all seedlings 3 of them have double stem plants coming out of one seed, while remaining 2 sprouts have a single stem.
My question is: Is it true that only double stem seedlings will actually develop into fruiting trees and are true to type, while single stem trees won't bear any fruits?

In addition, do i have to grow both stems together or should i separate them in future in order to achive nicer single stem tree instead of growing them together which doesn't look so appealing.
I hope to hear back from many people. Tony and Millet, can you give me some good advice please?
Truckloads of thanks,

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 7:13AM
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Hello All,

I am a new gardner, and I am having a hard time finding citrus trees for sale in my area. I decided to try to sprout the seeds from store bought lemons. I am just wanting to get any advice or help that I can.

How long after potting the seed should I expect sprouts?

How long after that sould I expect fruit?

I just want to make sure I am doing everything possible to achieve success.

Thank you,
Christi Albright

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 1:31PM
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rickjames(9 Cali)

Hi Christi--

Can take many weeks to sprout from seed, and I find that it varies depending on what you're growing. What seems to really help is heat--you can use a seedling mat or whatnot; I plant into peat and use a desklamp with a 40 watt bulb over it as a heat source. Works fine. I had planted some and left them in a windowsill in the fall, and I would say it took a good 60-90 days to sprout.

I don't have any experience with fruit grown from seed, apparently many citrus *can* take many years to flower and fruit--there is info on this forum for that--though Key limes and calamondins can be more rapid, flowering in a couple of years. So you may want to try either of those.

If you want a plant that can fruit quickly and don't want to mail-order, you can see if you can get hold of a cutting from a mature tree in a trade or something--then root it and it should be able to flower relatively quickly.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 2:20PM
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bencelest(z9 CA)

I look at your webpage but you have no email listed so I can send you an email.
If you can , please send me an email regarding your querry.
I have some good news for you to answer your question.
Millet does not log in here anymore.

My email is bencelest@sbc(minus the dots)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 10:43AM
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About ten years ago I planted 20 Dancy tangerines from seed. Today the trees are 12 to 15 feet tall and have the tastiest fruit and I have been harvesting fruit for about five years. One way to tell if you can get citrus to come true from seed it take off the seed coat and look to see if there are several little seed parts making up the total, if so you can get several trees from one seed. The large main part of the seed is a product of pollination and may not come true from seed.
Plant the seed from the fruit you want to grow. Select the ones from the smaller seed parts to transplant.
Or, plant your seeds and then transplant only the seeds that had several sprouting trees. For example say one seed has four sprouting trees. Plant all four, you will get three identical trees that have come true from seed and one that may not.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:07PM
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Greetings All,

A new member of forum. Happy-New Year to all. I had a follow-up question to this topic of true-from-seed citrus.
I have two-year old citruses -- all store-bought fruit. Which ones are true-from-seed. I'd really appreciate your inputs.

Honey/Murcott (sp)


Sweet Orange


"Large" common lemon (perhaps Eureka) - looks like a citron.

Palestianian Sweet Lime
Meiwa Kumquat
Jamaican Ugli
Mini Honey Mandarin

if I can get a Ponderosa, I'd end it at there haha

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 10:48PM
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