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How to Grow a Grapefruit Tree From Seed

Grapefruit trees (Citrus paradisi) are the end result of the possibly unintentional crossing of the sweet orange with the pummelo. They grow tall, with several varieties reaching 50 feet in height. Grapefruit trees produce semi-sour fleshy fruit that is high in both Vitamin C and fiber. Although believed to have originated in the West Indies, they are grown extensively throughout Florida and California. Grapefruit seeds can be planted and unlike many other citrus, they will grow true from seed.

Planting Grapefruit Seeds

Place the grapefruit seeds in a single layer into a bowl that contains about 1 inch of water. Soak the seeds for 24 hours.

Mix together equal proportions of sand, peat moss and compost to make your own seed compost. Place the mixture into an ovenproof tray. Heat an oven to 300 degrees F. Bake the compost for 30 minutes to sterilize it before using.

Scoop the seed compost mixture into individual 1-gallon planting pots. Pack the compost down firmly in the pot. Spritz the compost thoroughly with water until it is drenched.

Poke two 1-inch deep holes in the middle of the planting pot. Holes should be about 1 inch apart. Drop in two grapefruit seeds per hole and cover with about 1 inch of compost.

Place the pot into a warm location where the temperature will stay between 75 and 80 degrees F. Mist the compost with water as needed to keep it moistened. Germination of grapefruit seeds can begin in as little as 1 to 2 weeks but can require as long as 30 days.

Transfer the pot to where there is a strong light source for 10 to 12 hours a day once the seeds sprout. Allow the compost to dry out some before watering.

Transplant the grapefruit tree when it is well established and about 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall.

Growing Grapefruit

Choose the sunniest warmest place in your garden for planting your grapefruit tree.

Dig a planting hole for the grapefruit tree that is three times the diameter of a 1-gallon pot and at least as deep.

Remove the grapefruit tree from its container. Tip the pot upside down and gently shake the container until you can slide it off the tree's root system.

Set the grapefruit tree into a planting hole. The top of its root system needs to be sitting about 1 inch above the surrounding soil.

Pour water into the hole until it is approximately 1/2 full. Finish filling the hole with soil after the water has dissipated.

Transfer soil from another area in your garden to create a 3- to 4-inch high ring of soil that is about 24, inches in diameter as suggested by Julian W. Sauls, professor and extension horticulturist at Texas A&M.

Water the grapefruit tree thoroughly. Water the grapefruit tree every two or three days for the first three weeks after planting. Then water every two weeks for the next two or three months.


Fertilize the grapefruit tree the second year using 1/3 cup of 21-0-0 fertilizer three times during the year.

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