The orange is the most popular of the citrus fruits and its tree is very attractive, with shiny green leaves, fragrant white flowers and, of course, oranges. Grown outdoors, orange trees prefer warmer, more humid climates, growing best in subtropical conditions, usually in zones 9 or 10. However, oranges can be grown indoors as ornamentals and can even flower and bear fruit, given the right amount of light and moisture. Other than seedless varieties, such as the naval orange, most oranges have several seeds which you can germinate at home to raise your own orange tree.
Sprouting Your Orange Seeds
Prepare a planting medium by mixing equal amounts of potting soil and sand. Cut the drinking cups down to about 3 inches tall and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the cups with the planting medium.
Cut open an orange and remove the seeds. Make sure the seeds are fresh and undamaged.
Plant the seeds, while still fresh and moist. Insert 1 seed approximately ½-inch deep in each cup. Cover the seeds with potting medium and water lightly.
Place the each cup in a zip-top plastic bag and seal the bag. Put the cups in a warm place to encourage them to germinate. Keep the soil damp but not wet.
Check the seeds after about a week or two for signs of growth. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the plastic bag. Continue to water regularly.
After the seedlings have three to four leaves on them, transplant each one into a larger pot. Continue to water regularly and feed the orange tree with a good citrus fertilizer twice a year.
Plant mature orange tree outdoors, if your area permits, in fertile soil with good drainage. Locate the tree where it will get full sun, if possible. For indoor planting, re-pot the orange tree to a larger pot to encourage fruiting.