Relocate the pot once the seeds germinate. Expect the seeds to germinate over a period of two weeks. Remove the plastic wrap and place the pot in a location where it’s exposed to sunlight.
Fill the sink with water and add 1 teaspoon of bleach. Wash the tangerine seeds in the liquid to disinfect them. Rinse them off with water. Skip this step if you purchased your seeds and didn’t extract them directly from the fruit.
Sanitize the pot or flats you will be using by soaking them in diluted bleach for 15 minutes, advises Fine Gardening. Once dry, fill a 3-inch diameter pot with moist potting mix up to approximately 1 inch from the top. Tamp the soil with your fingers so it’s firm in the container. As an alternative, use a seed-raising flat or peat pellets.
Soak the seeds in water for eight hours to help promote the germination process.
Expose Seedlings to the Sun
Fill a spray bottle with water and use it to moisten the top layer of soil. Pouring water onto the soil may work as well, but be careful not to wash away the seeds or get the soil too wet which may cause a fungal infection, notes Fine Gardening.
Place the pot in a warm room so the seeds can germinate. Check the soil regularly and spray with water as needed to keep it moist at all times. Aim for a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid drafty windows and place a heating pad under the pot or position it near a heater, if needed.
Place up to three seeds on the soil surface, spaced an equal distance apart. Cover them with a 1/2-inch layer of soil. Lightly press down on the soil to firm it over the seeds.
Begin Seed Germination
By growing tangerines, you can save money, add ornamental value to your home or garden, and stop worrying about chemicals used on the fruit you eat. While tangerine trees are usually started by grafting, growing a tangerine tree from seed is a satisfying long-term project.
Tangerines (Citrus reticulata) are citrus fruit similar to small, sweet, loose-skinned oranges. Originally from Southeast Asia and southern China, a tangerine tree can be grown in California and other areas of the United States, in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11, notes Floridata.
These trees make attractive pot plants in colder climates and will actually set fruit if kept warm. In hotter countries they can be planted outside where they will grow to normal maximum size. Mandarin is the blanket term for this group of fruiting trees, but is mainly used outside the USA and the name Tangerine is the English word for the Mandarin. There are several groups of mandarins, and the most desirable one is the satsuma which is also the easiest to peel due to its loose leathery skin. In addition, they are also the most tender and most prone to shipping damage, and are similar in taste to Clementines but sweeter. They are generally seedless, hence the high price for scarce viable seeds.
These seeds have already been thoroughly cleaned and should be sown into a well-drained, sandy compost at any time of the year, and covered thinly with sand or grit and kept moist. Keep at between 20-25 degrees C. Seeds sometimes germinate within 4 to 6 weeks although some may take very much longer so please be patient. Plant out in the open ground in warmer countries or in a large container elsewhere.
Feed the tangerine tree monthly throughout spring and summer, using a liquid, acid-based fertilizer for rhododendrons or azaleas. Mix the fertilizer at half the strength suggested on the container.
Fill a small pot with commercial potting mixture. Use a fresh mixture that contains materials such as compost, peat moss and perlite. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom, as poorly drained soil will rot the young seedlings.
Plant two or three seeds in the pot. Cover the seeds with 1/2 inch of potting mixture.
Cover the pot with clear plastic, or slide the pot into a plastic bag. The plastic promotes germination by keeping the potting mixture warm and moist.
Water as needed to keep the potting mixture moist, but not soggy. Never allow the mixture to become dry. Watch for seedlings to develop in about three weeks.
Repot the seedlings into individual, 4- to 6-inch pots when the seedlings have a pair of true leaves, which are the leaves that appear after the initial seedling leaves. Continue to keep the potting soil lightly moist.
Water the potting mixture and then set the pot aside to drain until the mixture is lightly moist but not soggy.
Place the pot in a warm location such as the top of a refrigerator or other appliance. Light is not important at this stage.
With its deep green foliage, tangerine (Citrus reticulata) is an attractive tree that grows well indoors in cool climates, outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is an interesting project, especially for kids as the seeds germinate easily and develop into attractive trees. However, most tangerine trees grown from seed never grow large enough to blossom and develop fruit.