Here’s How to Get Infinite Tangerines from Just One Fruit

Growing your own tangerine tree from a single fruit is not only rewarding but also surprisingly simple. Tangerines, with their sweet and tangy flavor, are a favorite citrus fruit for many, and having a source of fresh tangerines at home can be both economical and enjoyable. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the step-by-step process of propagating tangerines from seeds, allowing you to cultivate your own tangerine tree and enjoy an endless supply of these delightful fruits right from your garden or patio.

Understanding Tangerines

Tangerines belong to the citrus genus and are closely related to oranges, mandarins, and other citrus fruits. They are prized for their vibrant color, juicy flesh, and sweet-tart flavor, making them a popular choice for fresh consumption, juicing, and culinary uses. Tangerine trees are relatively small compared to other citrus trees, making them suitable for container gardening and smaller outdoor spaces.

Benefits of Growing Tangerines from Seeds:

  • Cost-effective: Saves money compared to purchasing nursery-grown trees.
  • Freshness: Harvest tangerines at peak ripeness for the best flavor and nutritional value.
  • Educational: Learn about citrus cultivation and enjoy the process of growing your own fruit tree.

1. Selecting a Ripe Tangerine

To begin the process of growing tangerines from seeds, you’ll need to start with a ripe and healthy tangerine fruit. Choose a tangerine that is fully ripe, preferably organic and free from any signs of mold, damage, or disease.

Choosing the Right Tangerine:

  • Look for tangerines that feel heavy for their size, indicating juiciness.
  • Avoid fruits with soft spots, bruises, or wrinkled skin.
  • Organic tangerines are preferred to minimize exposure to chemicals.

2. Extracting the Seeds

Once you have selected a ripe tangerine, the next step is to carefully extract the seeds. Tangerine seeds are found within the juicy segments of the fruit, surrounded by pulp.

Steps for Extracting Tangerine Seeds:

  • Cut open the tangerine and remove several seeds from the flesh.
  • Gently wash the seeds to remove any pulp or residue.
  • Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

3. Preparation for Planting

Preparing the tangerine seeds before planting is essential to increase their chances of germination and successful growth into seedlings.

Preparation Steps:

  • Drying: Allow the seeds to air dry for 1-2 days on a paper towel or dry cloth. This helps reduce moisture content and prevents mold during germination.
  • Stratification (Optional): Some gardeners recommend stratifying citrus seeds by placing them in a moistened paper towel inside a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. This mimics natural winter conditions and can improve germination rates.

4. Planting the Tangerine Seeds

Once the tangerine seeds are prepared, it’s time to plant them in a suitable growing medium. Whether you choose to plant them in pots or directly in the ground, proper planting technique is crucial for seedling development.

Planting Guidelines:

  • Choosing Containers: Use small pots or seedling trays filled with well-draining potting mix. Ensure containers have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
  • Planting Depth: Plant tangerine seeds 1/2 inch deep in the soil or potting mix.
  • Spacing: Plant multiple seeds per container to increase the chances of germination. Thin out weaker seedlings once they have grown to a few inches tall.

5. Caring for Tangerine Seedlings

Successfully growing tangerine seedlings requires attentive care during their early stages of growth. From providing adequate light to maintaining proper watering and temperature conditions, nurturing seedlings is essential for healthy development.

Care Tips for Tangerine Seedlings:

  • Light Requirements: Place seedlings in a location that receives full sunlight or bright, indirect light for at least 6-8 hours per day.
  • Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water seedlings when the top inch of soil feels dry.
  • Temperature: Maintain a warm environment for seedling growth, ideally between 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  • Fertilization: Feed seedlings with a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength once every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

6. Transplanting Tangerine Seedlings

As tangerine seedlings grow and develop, they will eventually outgrow their initial containers and require transplanting into larger pots or outdoor locations.

Transplanting Steps:

  • Wait until seedlings have developed several sets of true leaves and sturdy root systems before transplanting.
  • Choose larger containers or prepare planting sites in well-draining soil enriched with organic matter.
  • Carefully remove seedlings from their containers, avoiding damage to roots, and plant them at the same depth as they were in their original containers.

7. Providing Ongoing Care

Once transplanted, continue to provide ongoing care to ensure the healthy growth and development of your tangerine tree.

Maintenance Tips:

  • Watering Schedule: Water young tangerine trees deeply and regularly, especially during dry periods. Avoid water stress, which can affect fruit production.
  • Pruning: Prune tangerine trees as needed to maintain shape, remove dead or diseased branches, and promote air circulation.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Monitor for pests such as aphids, scale insects, and citrus leaf miners. Treat infestations promptly with organic insecticidal soap or neem oil.

8. Encouraging Fruit Production

It typically takes several years for tangerine trees grown from seeds to mature and produce fruit. However, with proper care and favorable growing conditions, you can encourage fruit production and enjoy the rewards of your gardening efforts.

Fruit Production Tips:

  • Pollination: Tangerine trees are typically self-pollinating, but attracting pollinators such as bees can enhance fruit set.
  • Thinning Fruit: Thin out excess fruit to allow remaining fruits to develop fully and reduce strain on the tree.
  • Harvesting: Harvest ripe tangerines by gently twisting or cutting them from the tree when they are fully colored and easy to separate from the branch.

9. Overwintering and Protection

In colder climates, protect young tangerine trees from frost and freezing temperatures to prevent damage to tender growth and fruit.

Winter Care Tips:

  • Covering: Cover young trees with frost blankets or burlap during cold snaps to retain warmth.
  • Mulching: Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree to insulate roots and conserve soil moisture.
  • Indoor Protection: Consider bringing potted tangerine trees indoors during winter or placing them in a protected area.

10. Enjoying Home-Grown Tangerines

Once your tangerine tree matures and begins to bear fruit, savor the satisfaction of enjoying fresh, home-grown tangerines straight from your garden or patio.

Health Benefits: Tangerines are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, making them a nutritious addition to your diet.


Growing tangerines from seeds is a fulfilling journey that allows you to experience the lifecycle of citrus plants firsthand. By following these detailed steps—from selecting a ripe tangerine and extracting seeds to planting, caring for seedlings, and encouraging fruit production—you can successfully grow your own tangerine tree and enjoy an endless supply of delicious fruits. Embrace the process of gardening and share your experiences with others who are eager to cultivate their own citrus oasis at home.

Have you tried growing tangerines from seeds before? Share your tips, challenges, and success stories in the comments below. Let’s continue to explore the joys of home gardening together!

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