In this article, we’ll show you how you can grow an orange tree from a seed.
These instructions also work for other citrus varieties such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, kumquat, etc.
Step 1: Find Oranges with Seeds
The first step is to find the right kind of oranges at your local grocery store, farmers market or anywhere else that sells oranges.
It’s important to note that some oranges are seedless, so you need to look for the right variety to find orange seeds.
What type of oranges have seeds? The answer is Valencia Oranges.
Make sure the label says “Valencia” on it. Navel oranges are usually seedless, so avoid those. If you are having a hard time finding Valencia oranges, try going to an organic grocery store such as Whole Foods. If you don’t have luck there, see if you have an Asian, Mexican or international grocery store near you by searching on Google Maps.
Step 2: Remove Seeds from Valencia Oranges
Now that you have an orange, it’s time to remove the seeds. You can either cut the orange in half or peel the orange to avoid damaging the seeds.
If you cut it in half, there’s a good chance you may damage the seeds (like I did) as the seeds seem to be in the center of the fruit most of the time.
You can slice the orange vertically (from the stem to the bottom of fruit) to reduce damage to seeds.
Here’s a freshly cut Valencia orange with seeds showing (this one only had a few):
Step 3: Rinse and Dry the Orange Seeds
Rinse the seeds in lukewarm water and place on a plate with a paper towel and allow the seeds to dry thoroughly before you plant them.
It usually takes about 1 day for the seeds to dry.
Photo of orange seeds drying on a plate:
Once your seeds have dried, you are now ready to move to the step 4 – planting!
Step 4: Plant the Seeds
Oranges grow well in many different soil types, but you may want to use a fast draining blend with about 10% sand mixed in. You can get a potting mix specifically designed for catctus, palm & citrus at retailers such as Wal-Mart, Lowes or your local nursery.
Plant the orange seeds beneath the surface and thoroughly water the soil. Let the soil dry completely before the next watering.
Next, water the soil again, and place plastic bags over each container. Poke a few small holes in each bag to provide ventilation. You can also use a seedling greenhouse to make this step even easier.
Spray the top of the soil as needed to keep the humidity level high.
Keep the containers in a warm location, but not too hot. If you are planting during the fall or winter, make sure the soil doesn’t get cold or else the seeds may not germinate.
If you have extra seeds, you can also experiment and try growing them by placing them on a wet paper towel. Then place this towel on a plate covered in plastic, a zip lock bag or small food storage tub like so…
Step 5: Wait for Seedlings to Grow
After about two weeks since I originally began writing this article, the orange and lemon seeds mentioned earlier have finally germinated and are officially in the seedling phase.
I didn’t have any luck using the wet paper towel technique. Noting sprouted that way and it seemed to attract mold.
I had the best luck germinating in biodegradable Jiffy Pots containers. They help drain the soil drain/evaporate so your orange seedling won’t get waterlogged.
Here are a couple new photos:
One is a close up of what an orange tree seeding looks like by itself:
And here is another seedling chilling out in its own private Jiffy Pot:
One tip that may help speed up the germination process is to gently open the seed’s shell before it germinates to help give it a little nudge. Doing so could make the first leaves come out earlier. No guarantees though.
That’s about all for now – we’ll be updating this post again soon with additional tips on caring for your brand new orange tree. 🍊
So, please keep this site, bookmarked as we’l have new tip coming soon!
Here’s the latest photo of my two orange tree plants as of December 2, 2022 – about 2 and a half months after I originally planted them. They are looking nice and healthy!
A fun little thing you can do with these plants when they get older is tear one of the leaves and smell it… with lemon trees they will smell just like lemons… very refreshing. Orange tree leaves have a similar smell but not as distinct.
Caring for Orange Tree Seedlings/Saplings in the Winter
If you live in a climate where your house gets dry in the winter, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your orange tree seedlings so they don’t dry out.
You’ll want to water your plants more frequently, even daily if possible.
If you are going out of town or will be in a situation where you can’t monitor them daily, consider putting a small plastic bag over each plant to raise the humidity. Make sure to cut a few holes in the bag so there is adequate ventilation.
Here’s a photo of a simple setup to keep the humidity up for your orange tree seedlings:
If the temperature outside gets really cold, you may want to move your plants away from the window sill so the roots don’t freeze as it may destroy the plants.