What is the importance of orange seeds

Planting oranges - this is how you can harvest your own oranges

Planting oranges - what sounds like a crazy idea for the regions north of the Alps, you can definitely succeed if you consider some background and planting and care tips. I want to explain this to you in this post. It's all about a suitable location, the selection of plants and a suitable planting method. I also want to explain the question of whether you can grow oranges from seeds.

Planting oranges - you should know that about the orange tree

Oranges are among the most important types of fruit and fruit plants in the world. However, relatively little is known about the orange plants. We get our juicy oranges from plants of the species Citrus sinensis, which can be translated as 'Chinese Citrus'. This designation of origin was also the inspiration for another common name for the orange: orange. Here the 'Chinese apple' was the inspiration for Dutch sea merchants who brought this valuable fruit from their colonies to Northern Europe. The term 'orange' or its forerunners such as 'Narango', on the other hand, migrated with the spread of the plant from Southeast Asia and India via Persia, Arabia, North Africa to Spain, Portugal and Italy to southern Europe.

In the Mediterranean area - like here on Ibiza - orange plants grow in many gardens.

Real and fake oranges

If you want to plant oranges that you can also eat, you should make sure that you use 'real' oranges. In fact, there is some confusion with citrus plants, which while referred to as orange, are not. The most popular are certainly the calamondins, often referred to as orange trees. These bear tangerine-sized, rather sour fruits and are a cross between tangerine and kumquat - so definitely not oranges.

Very nice, but no oranges - calamondin

Nor are bitter oranges, also known as Seville oranges in England, not orange plants of the Citrus sinensis species. As the German name suggests, the fruits are bitter. The botanical species is the Citrus aurantium, the 'golden citrus plant'. Finally, the three-leaved orange Poncirus trifoliata is known and is becoming increasingly popular. This orange-like plant is related to citrus and is largely hardy. However, the Poncirus trifoliata does not provide juicy, sweet and edible fruits either. This is only supplied by Citrus sinensis.

Planting oranges - planting and care tips

On the way to your own oranges, the first question that arises is which orange plants you should use. There are two simple ways to do this: pulling an orange tree out of a core or buying a 'finished' orange tree. A third, somewhat cumbersome way is to refine a plant.

Growing oranges plants from seeds

As with lemon plants, you can also grow a plant from an orange seed or core in an orange tree. A core is first soaked in a glass of water for a few days and then placed in moist soil. After about three weeks, in which the pot should be in a bright, warm place, you can count on a seedling. However, it takes about eight years for it to become a blooming orange plant and for it to bear fruit after flowering.

In the case of self-grown plants, the wonderful orange blossoms only appear after a few years. With grafted plants, the flowers and oranges come earlier.

As easy as it is to grow orange trees yourself, there is a relevant risk. If you get a core where the mother plant is an infertile hybrid, the self-grown tree may not flower. Unfortunately, you only find out after a long time, which leads to major disappointments after a long period of care.

In the orange sky

Buy grafted orange plants

You play it safe when you buy a grafted orange plant from a specialist store or from a tree nursery. The refinement of the plants has the great advantage that you can also buy a smaller, inexpensive orange plant that already bears flowers and produces fruit. But how is that possible?

A grafted orange tree often has several generations of fruits on one plant.

When refining, a robust citrus variety such as the bitter orange or the three-leaved lemon described above is used as a base or rootstock. The crown of the base is then first removed in order to then place or 'graft' a so-called noble rice onto the rootstock. The noble rice is a flower-bearing branch of an older and fertile orange plant. Through a firm connection between the rhizome and the noble rice, these grow together and the properties of both plants combine. Even a citrus plant that is actually too small and too young can produce flowers and fruits.

Orange blossoms are among the most beautiful and noble citrus blossoms.

So you should make sure that you buy a grafted plant. It's not difficult, because most of the orange trees on offer are grafted. However, the quality of the plant also depends on the quality of the grafting. The best thing to do is to buy an orange plant from specialist retailers or experienced tree nurseries. So you can be sure that both the selection of the base and noble rice and the refinement as such were carried out according to the rules of the art.

Refine orange plants yourself

The third and most ambitious way to get orange plants is to do the refinement yourself. For this you need a plant for the base and a noble rice. While you can safely buy the underlay in stores, obtaining the noble rice is a little more difficult. Since noble rice is not offered, you are dependent on the friendly support of an owner of a larger orange tree who will give you a noble rice. But maybe you have a larger tree yourself and want to increase it by grafting it.

The most important thing about orange plant care:

An orange tree, like other citrus plants, is easy to care for if you understand the specifics of this subtropical plant. Three aspects are important here:

  • The orange tree does not tolerate frost
  • The orange tree needs a lot of light
  • The orange tree needs little water.

The wintering

The lack of frost tolerance makes it necessary that the orange tree is in a protected winter quarters in winter. The orange plants cannot be planted out, but have to stay in the bucket or pot. However, the orange tree is not a houseplant. To do this, he needs too much light, which he only gets when he is outside in the open air. For the winter time, the solution for wintering oranges is in a cool but bright winter quarters on a human scale. You don't need your own orangery to overwinter the orange tree. Unheated winter quarters with a light source are sufficient. This can be a staircase or garden shed, a greenhouse or a cold winter garden. A garage in which a frost guard * and an energy plant lamp * or LED plant lamp * are installed is also suitable as an 'orangery'.

The location in summer

So that the orange tree grows well, wintering should be ended as early as possible after the end of the frost period. In spring, the orange tree is placed in a warm, sunny spot on the terrace or balcony. Make sure that the orange tree gets as much direct sun as possible, it is about every single ray of sunshine that should shine directly on the leaves. The site should also be protected so that the tree is not too exposed to the wind.

Water and fertilize the orange tree

If the orange tree has a sunny location, it is generally frugal. It needs little water and should only be watered when the soil is half dry. You can find out with your finger or with a moisture meter *.

During the growing season from May to August, the orange tree should always be fertilized when watering. A citrus fertilizer is recommended as a fertilizer, which, in addition to nitrogen, phosphate and potassium compounds, also contains trace elements such as iron, zinc, magnesium and molybdenum.

Repot the orange tree

If the orange tree grows properly, it needs new soil and a larger pot about every two to three years. The larger pot should be around 4cm in diameter larger than its predecessor. The earth should be permeable and yet structurally stable. The drainage system is also important. The pot absolutely needs a drainage hole, and a drainage material such as crushed stone, gravel or poroton should be mixed into the soil, which gives both structure and drainage.

Cut the orange tree

An orange tree that grows rather slowly in this country should only be pruned moderately. With the so-called maintenance pruning, dead branches, twigs and leaves are removed. These cutting measures can be carried out continuously. If the orange tree crown is to be shaped, a very careful upbringing can be done in February. Here, a few shoot tips are removed if they are too long compared to the rest of the crown. Since the orange tree grows round and compact overall, the upbringing is only necessary in exceptional cases. In no case should a healthy orange tree be cut back drastically.

Harvest your own oranges

The aim of planting and caring for oranges is to harvest your own oranges. This becomes possible when the orange tree blossoms and produces fruit. The orange tree blooms once or twice a year. A first bloom occurs in mid-spring, and if the summer is good, a second bloom occurs later in summer. Since the oranges, like many other citrus plants, are self-fertilizers, a fruit is formed from each flower. This stays green and grows during the summer. When it has reached full size and it gets cooler at night in autumn, the oranges will then turn to a bright orange.

Photos and text: Dr. Dominik Große Holtforth

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Dr. Dominik Große Holtforth
Dr. Dominik Große Holtforth was a garden blogger and citrus expert. The "citrus virus" caught him when he put his first lemon tree on the terrace. This resulted in a great passion and many experiences with citrus plants, but also olive trees, fig trees and other Mediterranean plants. Dominik originally published his articles on his blog 'My Mediterranean Garden' - Dominik died unexpectedly in October 2018. After he had advised us intensively on Mediterranean topics and online marketing in recent years, we are now proud that we can make his valuable articles accessible in the Lubera garden book. We hope you enjoy reading it - Dominik would certainly be happy too.

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Guest - March 15, 2018

What can I do with the fruits of my orange tree. Can I make jam out of it. You are very pissed off.
With best regards

Dominik Große Holtforth- March 16, 2018

You must have a calamondin tree (Citrus mitis), which is a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat. You can actually make mamelade from the fruits.
Best wishes
Dominik Große Holtforth

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