Ponkan tangerines were imported into the United States from China in the late 1800s. The small, puffy orange citrus fruit has a thin skin. The fruit, also known as a Chinese honey tangerine, is well known for its sweetness. Ponkan tangerine trees also possess shiny green leaves and fragrant white flowers. While some types of citrus will not grow true from seed, the Ponkan tangerine will. The seeds can easily be germinated at home to raise your own tangerine tree.
Growing Your Tangerine Seeds
Prepare a soil mixture by combining equal amounts of sand and potting soil. Cut the drinking cups to about 3 inches tall and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill the cups with the soil.
Cut open a Ponkan tangerine fruit and remove the seeds.
Plant the seeds, while still fresh and moist, by placing one seed approximately ½-inch deep in each cup. Cover the seed with the soil mixture and water lightly. Repeat this for as many seeds as you want.
Put each cup in a medium-sized, zip-top plastic bag and place it in warm place to encourage them to germinate. Keep the soil damp but not wet.
Check the seeds for signs of growth after about two or three weeks. After the seedlings have three to four leaves on them, transplant each seedling to a larger pot.
Ensure that the juvenile trees receive about four hours of direct sunlight each day and temperatures remain between 60 and 70 degrees F.
Replant each tangerine tree in a larger pot each spring to help promote fruiting.
Check your hardiness zone to see if a Ponkan tangerine tree will grow outdoors in your area. Plant your tree outdoors by digging a hole twice as deep and wide as the root ball of the tree. Place the tree in the hole and back fill the hole, being careful not to cover the trunk with soil.
Prune your trees as they mature, in early spring to encourage new growth. Water regularly, keeping the soil damp, but not wet. Feed twice a year with a good citrus fertilizer.
- If you live in Florida or the southwestern United States, you may be able to grow a tangerine tree outdoors. Otherwise, grow your tangerine tree in a larger pot that you can move indoors during colder seasons.
- Tangerines, like other citrus trees, are usually grafted onto hardy, disease-resistant root stock. This may make trees grown from seed more susceptible to disease.