I understand that propagation by seed does not produce trees that resemble its parent. However, I am forced to propagate by seed some rare fruit that are prohibitively expensive to ship to my home. How would I increase the likelihood that a seed would produce good fruit?

  1. Do seeds from sweet fruit have a higher chance of also producing sweet fruit? Or is there no correlation?
  2. Are there any visual characteristics of a seed (size, color) that make predict how good the fruit will be?

1 Answer 1

  1. There is no correlation with sweet or sour fruits.

  2. You could try peeling off the outer and inner coats of the seed to see if they're polyembryonic or monoembryonic (you'll see one embryo with a couple of cotyledons, tiny of course) - if the latter, it won't come true, if the former, it MIGHT come true.

There are fruits which more often than not come true, mostly citrus - sweet orange, key lime, grapefruit, tangerine, tangelo.

The trouble is, even if you got whatever fruit it is to come true, that's not the only consideration - most fruit bearing trees are not growing on their own roots, but on a selected rootstock, often for vigour or hardiness, or for reducing the overall size of the tree. You may need to graft anything you get that's suitable onto an appropriate rootstock.

  • How can I tell which plants should be propagated by seed and which should not? A lot of people start vegetables by seed - does that mean they will grow up to be like their parent?
    – JoJo
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 3:35

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