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How to Plant Tangerine Seeds

Tangerines (Citrus reticulata) are sometimes also called satsumas and mandarins. They can grow to between 15 and 20 feet tall and are hardy in the USDA Zones 8B to 11. Tangerine trees produce 2- to 4-inch-wide, juicy, sweet fruit that are similar to oranges but thinner skinned and easier to peel. Growing a tangerine tree from seed is both easy and fun just make sure you plant fresh tangerine seeds right away because germination rates will drop if the seeds dry out.

Remove the tangerine seeds from the pulp of the tangerine and place them into a strainer, or wire basket. Fill up a sink in your kitchen with water. Then, drop in 1 teaspoon of bleach into the water. Immerse the strainer of tangerine seeds into the bleach and water solution for a quick rinse. Don't let the tangerine seeds soak in the bleach and water solution. A quick dunking is all that is necessary

Rinse the strainer containing the tangerine seeds with tepid water for about 30 seconds. Then spread the tangerine seeds onto paper towels and let them air dry.

Place sterilized seed starting potting mix into 3- or 4-inch wide plastic pots. Or you can mix together your own by mixing together equal portions of sterilized potting mix, aged compost, fine sand, vermiculite or perlite and peat moss. Pack the soil down firmly in each of the plastic pots. Then transfer the pots into a shallow tray-like container.

Pour water into the tray to let the soil in the plastic pots absorb enough moisture until the soil is just damp to the touch. Poke two to three 1/2 inch deep holes in each plastic pot. Drop in one tangerine seed into each hole. Then, cover up each of the tangerine seeds with approximately 1/2 inch of the growing media.

Transfer the tray of pots into a location in your home that will remain right around 65 to 70 degrees F. Spread a layer of polythene film over each of the plastic pots. Check the pots daily to make sure the growing media remains moistened. Germination of tangerine seeds typically will being in 2 to 3 weeks, depending on growing conditions.

Remove the sheet of polythene film from the tray as soon as you start to seed the tangerine seedlings emerging from the soil. Then place the tray where it can receive a lot of bright light, approximately 8 to 10 hours of light daily. Keep the tangerine seedlings moist, add a little water to the tray when needed.

Transplant the tangerine seedlings when they are about 2 to 3 inches tall. You can plant them into 1-gallon pots, or into larger containers until they are big enough to be planted into their permanent location.


If reusing plastic pots, sterilize them before use. Place them in a 1 part bleach and 10 parts water solution for 1 to 2 minutes. Rinse them with tepid water and air dry before using.

According to Texas A&M University, most citrus trees will grow well when there is a soil pH range of 6 to 8.

Plant tangerine trees in full sun and make sure they will be provided shelter in the winter if temperatures drop below freezing.

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