How to Plant Osage Orange


The Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) is often called the Hedge apple and is not a member of the citrus family. Instead, it belongs to the mulberry plant family. It is native to a relatively small area of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, although trees have been found as far away as Virginia. The wood of the osage orange is often used for archery bows and fence posts, and it also burns hot and bright, giving off sparks similar to fireworks. Research conducted at the Department of Entomology at Iowa State University found that chemicals in this plant repel cockroaches.

Step 1

Retrieve fallen fruits from the ground in the fall after frost has made them mushy. Cut open the fruit and remove the seeds. Soak the seeds in water for one week, keeping the soaking container in a warm spot. Change the water every other day to prevent fermentation.

Step 2

Fill small pots that have a drainage hole with sandy potting soil and water thoroughly. Plant one seed in each pot about ½ inch deep. Alternatively, fill a flat with the same potting soil and plant the seeds about 3 inches apart. Water the pots well and keep them in a sunny location.

Step 3

Plant the seeds directly in the ground if you prefer. Dig one gallon of well-rotted manure, composted leaves and other plant parts or purchased organic compost into a sunny planting area and plant each seed ½ inch deep.

Step 4

Plant the young trees 5 feet apart to create a hedge if you desire. As they grow, you might need to remove some of the trees: they will spread quickly. Within 10 years, the osage orange will grow into a nice shade tree.

Tips and Warnings

  • This plant has nasty thorns that can puncture skin and even tractor tires.

Things You'll Need

  • Osage orange
  • Small nursery pots or flats
  • Sandy potting soil
  • Compost
  • Shovel


  • Iowa State University: Catnip and Osage Orange Components Found to Repel German Cockroaches
  • Osage Oranges: How do You Grow Osage Oranges?

Who Can Help

  • Franklin County, Kansas
Keywords: osage orange, hedge apple, trees Kansas

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hiā€˜iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Barbara wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, and She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.