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Growing kumquat trees from seed is an easy and fun family project. Kumquat trees are normally grown through grafting, though seed germination is possible. Kumquat trees are best grown in zones 8 or higher, but they do make excellent indoor container plants. Expect a kumquat tree about five feet tall. It is possible to get fruit within 5 to 7 years! Read on for the easy steps to grow a kumquat tree from kumquat seeds.
Eat a kumquat. Kumquats are normally eaten whole so take care to leave the seeds in good shape. You may wish to cut the fruit in half to get to the seeds.
Clean the seeds. Simple water and hand rubbing is all you will need. Kumquat seeds are polyembryonic, which means they have more than one embryo inside the seed. At least one of these will be identical to the mother tree!
Do not dry the seeds. Many trees propagated by seed in this manner require drying. Kumquat trees are far less tolerant of this method. Drying out the seed can kill the seed embryo.
Plant the kumquat seeds. Use moist potting soil in a small planting pot about the size of a yogurt cup. You may also use a mixture of sand, peat moss and potting soil. Using a finger, create a small hole for the kumquat seed about an inch deep. Place one seed in the hole and cover with soil. Lightly press on the soil to ensure the seed is surrounded by dirt.
Cover the planter pot with plastic wrap. Keep the soil moist, but not drenched. The plastic wrap helps keep moisture within the planter. Ensure proper drainage in your planter by poking holes in the bottom of the cups. Once the kumquat tree sprouts, you will need to remove the wrap. This should occur within 2-4 weeks.
Place the planters in a warm and sunny location. Remember, kumquat trees are citrus trees. They grow best in warmer climates near the equator. Your goal is replicate that as best you can.
Move the seedlings to larger pots. Container kumquat trees will reach about five feet tall and will require about a 15 gallon planter.
Care for your kumquat tree. Kumquat trees require a regular fertilizing program. Be sure to buy quality fertilizer meant for citrus plants. Water thoroughly at least once a week. Keep the trees in a sunny and warm location. Don't expect fruit for as long as 5-7 years! Pruning can be done as needed but is not required.
- Your planters should allow water to drain out of the pot and not sit in the pot.
- You can move the container tree outdoors in the summer once the danger of frost has passed.
- If you are doing this for indoor fruit, you may wish to purchase a grafted container kumquat tree from a nursery instead. These will be better suited for fruit production.
- Kumquat trees need humidity and heat to product fruit. If not supplied, your tree may flower but not produce fruit. If no flowers, the tree needs more sun.
- Water-logged soil will slowly kill the kumquat tree! Keep well drained.
- Dry soil will kill the kumquat tree. Keep well watered.