Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to Grow Grapefruit Trees from Seeds

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I love citrus season. It's a bright spot in the middle of a long winter. Oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, they are all my favorites. My kids, oddly enough, love grapefruit as much as I do. No sugar on top, they eat it up and ask for more. In early March, we were sitting down to a breakfast of grapefruit and cereal and Pumpkin Pie asked me if we could 'plant the seeds.' I should clarify that she is always asking to do this. We've kept apple seeds and pumpkin seeds and all sorts of others. However, we've not actually done much with them. Now that the twins are old enough to really understand the process though, I thought we'd give it a shot. In case you are wondering if this is going to be a complicated and difficult project, I assure you it is super easy. Keeping the trees alive long term is the challenging part.

Grapefruits produce a 'true' seed. This means that the fruit you get from your new plant will most likely be the same as the one you ate. I know, some of you are saying, um.... duh. However, did you know that this is not true of apples and some other citrus fruits? For instance, if you bought a Gala apple and wanted to plant the seeds, your seeds would produce another kind of apple tree ~ there's no predicting what it would be and whether the fruit would be delicious or tart or completely disgusting. That could be a fun experiment all on it's own, though. Mystery apples! In order to grow your own Gala, you'd need to buy a tree that had been grafted from another Gala tree (this falls under advanced gardening in my book). Now that we have that little tidbit, back to the grapefruit instructions: 

Step 1: Eat a grapefruit. 
Step 2: Save the seeds and give them a good rinse. 
Step 3: Wrap them in a moist paper towel and then place in a plastic bag to retain moisture. Keep in the house, not outside in the cold. Grapefruit are tropical plants, they need warmth. 
Step 4: Check every few days to make sure you aren't growing any mold. Change the paper towel out as needed. Be sure to keep it moist. 
Date on the bag is date that we started soaking the seeds



Step 5: Somewhere between 14 - 30 days, germination happens ------->

Can we just stop right here and admire how cool this is? This is life! From seeds that I normally would have tossed in the trash. This is amazing, isn't it? 




Step 6 - Plant in small containers, about 1 inch into the dirt. Place in a sunny spot. I used biodegradable seed starting pots that I found at Target. They are not waterproof, so I wrapped them in plastic bags. We also were having a houseplant gnat problem, that's why I sealed the bags. I was preventing the gnats from finding a new place to lay eggs. Those things are horrible to get rid of. 

1 Month after eating a grapefruit, we have our little plants

When we planted, I didn't expect all of them would take off so well. I expected to have maybe one make it, but so far, all 5 are growing. I didn't realize that grapefruit trees have thorns! So far, they don't have any, but as they grow, we'll have to be careful with them.

Have you planted seeds from fruit you bought at the store? How did it turn out?

P.S. If you are looking for the Real Food for Real People Challenge for this week, it is going to be a bit late, or perhaps postponed until next week. I need to do some grocery store recon pictures because ingredient lists aren't on the websites. Wonder why margarine companies wouldn't want their ingredients posted? Hmmmm.... 

5 comments:

  1. I "composted" roma tomatoes fromthe store. When the tomatoes came up in other things I planted with the composted soil, I planted them in their own pots. Out of 5 bushes I have about 30 tomatoes. Two are about ready to be picked! (all volunteers)

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  2. I LOVE to grow anything we eat that has a seed! My husband thinks I'm nuts lol. I have a 3 yr old lemon tree and just found out it can take 13 - 15 yrs to produce a lemon. At 50 already, perhaps I'll have fresh lemonade when I retire!

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    Replies
    1. LOL! Yes, they are more decoration than productive for a looong time! I hope you enjoy your lemonade in a few years! :)

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    2. I just planted 2 grapefruit seeds myself. Looking forward to see what I get!

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  3. Tess, May 22, 2014
    Thank you for your post. I am so excited to have grapefruit seed sprouting all six that I germinated as you did. I am now planting them in soil and will cover them for protection and continue germination. Any advise on indoor planting of Bonnie Spinach, Red & Green Pepper, Mango, Avocado germination and Raspberry planting indoors as I

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