How to Grow Satsumas from Seed? Satsumas (Citrus reticulata) play a dual purpose in landscaping as both an edible crop and a decorative shrub or tree, thanks to their leathery leaves and sweet fruit. They are vulnerable to harsh frost and will only thrive outside in USDA plant hardiness zones 8B to 12, where they can be grown in pots or in the garden. Satsumas grow well from seed and germinate quickly in warm conditions. The seeds do not require stratification or other pretreatments to sprout, but they must be sown while still extremely fresh because they lose viability quickly after they dry out.
How to Grow Satsumas from Seed?
- Remove the peel and split the fruit in half to collect the seed from a ripe, undamaged satsuma. Remove the pointy, pale brown seeds from the fruit’s pithy white center. Seeds with black discolorations or other evidence of damage should be avoided.
- While preparing the containers, wrap the satsuma seeds in a moist paper towel. Fill 6-inch plastic pots halfway with a commercial citrus potting mix or a homemade mixture of milled peat, sterilized loam, and medium-grit sand.
- Before planting the satsuma seeds, add water to the developing mixture. Water to a depth of 3 inches. In the center of the potting mix, make a 1/4-inch-deep hole. Insert the seed and cover it with soil. Firm the dirt gently.
- Indoors, place the pots near a south-facing window with bright, indirect light. Position the pots on a germination mat. Set the thermostat to 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap the pots in plastic wrap or use a propagation dome to protect them.
- Every day, check the moisture level in the potting mix. If the soil seems just moist beneath the surface, water to a depth of 2 inches. Slowly pour in the water to avoid dislodging or disturbing the satsuma seed.
- In 30 to 60 days, look for germination. Once the seeds sprout, remove the germination mat. When the seedlings are nearly tall enough to touch the plastic wrap or propagation dome, remove it.
- Place the satsuma seedlings in a cold frame that is enclosed and lightly shaded. Each day, open the cold frame for a longer period of time to acclimatize the seedlings to normal outside temperatures and humidity.
- Move the satsumas to a shaded outside spot where they will get morning and late afternoon sun, as well as daytime shade. Provide an inch of water every five to seven days, or whenever the top inch of the potting mix dries out.
- As the satsumas enter dormancy in October, transplant them into a permanent pot or bed. Plant them in full sun on acidic, quick-draining soil. If you live in a region where spring frosts are common, plant them in a sheltered location.
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