How to Grow Citrus Trees From Seed


Although many citrus trees grown from seed will not be true to the fruit from which they were taken, they will produce edible fruit. In some cases, the fruit produced by trees grown from seed may have more seeds than grafted varieties. However, seed-grown trees are a little more cold hardy, according to Texas A&M University. Some seedlings grown from seed may be thornier than grafted trees.

Step 1

Spread potting soil at a depth less than 4 inches in glass or metal baking pans. You need to sterilize the soil. Sterilize enough to fill the pot in which you will start your citrus seeds.

Step 2

Cover the pans with aluminum foil.

Step 3

Place a meat thermometer in the soil and put the soil in a 180- to 200-degree oven. When the soil reaches 180 degrees, allow it to remain at that temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the soil from the oven and let it cool before filling your pot.

Step 5

Fill the pot where you will start your seeds.

Step 6

Take a seed directly from a fruit. Citrus seeds do not germinate as well if you allow them to dry out.

Step 7

Wash the seeds thoroughly to remove any sugars that may be sticking to them.

Step 8

Plant the seeds 1/2-inch deep in the potting soil.

Step 9

Moisten the soil. The soil needs to be moist for the seeds to germinate, but should not be wet.

Step 10

Cover the pot with plastic wrap to reduce water evaporation from the soil.

Step 11

Remove the plastic wrap and add water if the soil starts to look dry.

Step 12

Keep the seeds in a warm location until they germinate.

Step 13

Once you see two leaves, remove the plastic wrap and begin exposing the seedling to sunlight by placing it in sun one hour per day. Increase the time by an hour per day until your seedling can survive in full sun.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Baking pans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Meat thermometer
  • Oven
  • Citrus fruit
  • Plastic wrap


  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production - Citrus
  • New Mexico State University: Lemon Tree From Seed
  • Colorado State University: Start Seed and Transplants in Sterlized Soil
  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide
Keywords: citrus cultivation, citrus care, citrus seedlings

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.