How to Grow Orange Trees With the Paper Towel Method


Growing orange trees using paper towels is a fairly straightforward process. This method uses moisture and humidity generated with a paper towel and a sandwich bag to help the seeds germinate. Once they sprout, the seeds are transferred to pots, where they eventually develop into tiny orange trees. The small trees can be transferred into the ground if you live in a warm climate or preserved in their pots inside the house.

Step 1

Rinse off two to three orange seeds, making sure to remove any clinging fruit from them. Remaining fruit can cause the seeds to mold or rot while they're germinating.

Step 2

Fold a square of thick paper towel in half, then in half again. Hold the towel under a running faucet to moisten it, then place the seeds in the center and fold it in half one last time. Slide the paper towel into a fold-top plastic sandwich bag and close the bag.

Step 3

Place the germinating orange seeds in a warm spot, such as on top of the refrigerator or in a windowsill. When growing orange seeds in paper towels, they need an environment that's 70 to 75 F.

Step 4

Check the orange seeds daily, moistening the paper towel with a bit of water if it feels dry. Orange seeds take about two weeks to germinate using the paper towel method.

Step 5

Transfer the orange seeds to a four-inch pot when the seed coat breaks and the radicle emerges. Fill the pot about three-quarters of the way with potting soil. Place the seeds on top of the soil with the radicles pointing down, then top off the pot with soil.

Step 6

Place the pot in a warm, sunny spot on top of a clay saucer. Fill the saucer with water daily. When seedlings poke through the dirt, spritz them lightly with water from a spray bottle each morning.

Step 7

Transplant the seedlings to individual quart-sized pots when they reach about six inches tall. Fill each pot with a mixture of a quarter potting soil, a quarter peat moss and half sand, and place each seedling in the center of a pot so the top of the roots is about an inch below the surface of the soil.

Step 8

Water the tiny orange trees weekly, soaking the soil. Treat the plants with a weak high-acid fertilizer solution once a month. Place the pots in a sunny spot and make sure they have drainage saucers beneath them; the sandy soil won't hold onto much moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Two to three orange seeds
  • Thick paper towel
  • Fold-top plastic sandwich bag
  • 4-inch pot
  • Potting soil
  • Saucer
  • Spray bottle
  • Quart-sized pots
  • Peat moss
  • Coarse sand
  • High-acid fertilizer


  • Learn 2 Grow: Orange Seed Germination
  • Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: Home Fruit Production: Citrus
Keywords: growing orange trees, orange seeds, germinating orange seeds, paper towel method

About this Author

Katie Leigh is a freelance writer and editor based in Chicago. A Loyola University New Orleans graduate with a Bachelor's degree in communications, Leigh has worked as a copy editor, page designer and reporter for several daily newspapers and specialty publications since 2005.