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Several months ago just for fun I planted a seed from a clementine (or maybe it was a mandarin) in a flower pot using some organic potting soil. The pot is 8 inch in diameter and 7 inch tall and has drainage holes. To my surprise, it is doing very well, especially as we have been putting it out during the daytime in this North East U.S summer. It's now about a foot tall with new leaves sprouting all the time. Being a total novice in this area, I'm seeking some guidance about what to expect and what to do. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

o Am I supposed to be feeding the plant? If so, with what and how often?

o How do I know when to replant it in a larger pot?

o I've seen various estimates for how large it might eventually grow. As I can't plant it outdoors, given our cold winters, will it eventually be feasible to keep it inside in a room with a normal ~ 8 ft ceiling height and is there something I can do to restrict its growth without harming it?

o The last sentence in this article (Which came first, the Clementine or the seed?) is confusing and I don't understand what it implies as far as being able to eat any eventual fruit from the plant : Clementine is seedless only if grown in isolation. Don't you be tempted to plant any of these seeds, though, because if the seedlings were to bear fruits, they would not, of course, be Clementines.

  • It's lost and gone forever. – Hot Licks Aug 4 at 3:08
  • Most modern fruits are hybrids, meaning the parents were carefully selected or the plant was generated from a cutting. The seeds won't be the same as the fruit you took them from. – Mark Ransom Aug 4 at 4:23
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The explanation for the sentence you find confusing is, if you plant a seed from a clementine fruit,it won't come true, meaning any fruit you might get is very unlikely to be a clementine - it may turn out to be a sour orange, or a smaller fruit that is bitter, there's no way of knowing. Be warned that some citrus plants grown from seed may want to get huge, maybe 40 feet high, before they will produce any fruit at all.

Growing things from fruit seeds may be an interesting exercise and fun, but don't bank on getting any edible fruit eventually. You will need to keep it indoors over winter, then harden it off in springtime to leave outdoors in summer, before bringing it back inside again (preferably in a cool room with good daylight) as you live somewhere too chilly in winter for it. Do not feed at this time of year - the growing season is coming to a close, now that the days are getting shorter and fall/autumn approaches.

As for when you need to pot up into something bigger, that's hard to say because its been planted from a clementine fruit seed, so its unpredictable - usually it's when the topgrowth looks too big and heavy for the size of pot its sitting in, often with a stunted appearance to new growth. Whether you will be able to keep it in a pot long term also depends on what actually grows - it might be one that just keeps getting bigger because it wants to get 40 feet, or it might not.

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I grew a Clementine from seed and kept it for at least 12 years. It gave me a single flower in all that time, probably because I didn't keep it cold enough in winter (should be kept at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit). As for height, I intentionally dwarfed it by not repotting it too often - I didn't want to try to carry 50+ pounds of tree in and out of my house each year - and it grew no taller than four feet.

My family actually hated the plant. Over time, it became thorny, which made it difficult to carry in and out and to prune - and was an issue if a child got too close. It would drop all of its leaves twice a year - each time I moved it outside and inside (it didn't like the change in light), and it got ugly, as some branches died and others grew in weird positions.

I fed the plant with Osmocote every spring, when I moved it outside, and watered it sparingly in winter (citrus like it dry). Otherwise, I didn't do much to help it. Eventually, I tired of the mess and fuss and let the city cart it to the municipal garden waste dump; an experiment I would not repeat.

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