The Mystery of the Multiplying Meyer Lemons

I thought I had planted nine Meyer lemon seeds – 3 chitted and 6 direct sown….

…..and yet… I now count….

…THIRTEEN Meyer lemons! (There are four in the gray pot at the top right – two are tiny shoots that are difficult to see in the photo.) How did that happen??

I had to transplant the six plants on the left from the pot on the bottom right this weekend, because they were getting too crowded. At the outset of this experiment, I really didn’t expect many of the seeds to germinate. I thought of the nine I planted, I might get one or two, maybe three actual plants. But to my dismay (or delight) every last one, not only germinated, but formed a small plant with real leaves. Plus, I somehow grew four extra plants! Did I black out when I was planting seeds? Did I sow seeds in my sleep?

It’s a mystery.

Now I have to figure out if I’m going to bring all thirteen with me to California, or just select the best ones. That will be like picking a favorite child.

(See the other parts of the Meyer Lemon sage here, here, here, here, and here.)

We Have A Winner!

Over the past week, not one….not two… but FIVE direct-sown Meyer Lemon seeds have sprouted.

If you missed the first post about the Meyer Lemon seeds, and don’t know what I’m talking about read this first.

I chitted (green-sprouted, paper towel method, whatever you want to call it) three Meyer lemon seeds and direct sowed six seeds to see whether it was really worth the time and fussiness of green-sprouting first before planting. (Note: In my original post, I direct sowed three, but I was super skeptical that they would sprout, so I added three more to the pot a couple days later for good measure.

Well, as you know, two of the chitted Meyer lemon seeds germinated. I planted both chitted seeds in soil (the first on 4/11/20 and the second on 4/24/20). The one planted on 4/11 sprouted out of the dirt on 4/25. The seed planted on 4/24 sprouted out of the dirt on 5/2. In between the first seed sprouting and the second seed sprouting, FIVE of the six direct sown seeds sprouted.

The chitted seed is on the left and the direct sown seeds are on the right

That to me is an obvious vote for direct sowing. Five of six direct sown seeds sprouted in the same time it took 2 of 3 chitted seeds to sprout. Yes, I know it’s an N of 9, but I got better (or at least equal) results with direct sown Meyer lemons, and I didn’t have to bother with scarification or unfolding the paper towel every few days to see if anything had germinated. I just put the seeds in the soil, kept them moist, and waited.

To be fair, though, the chitted seed (in the above photo on the left) is a bit bigger than the other seeds, but I’m sure they’ll catch up quickly.

Another interesting part of this experiment is how long it took to get sprouts. I was almost about to give up. It took almost six weeks to get cotyledons. From what I read online, two weeks is standard. Not sure why my seeds are such slow pokes. My best guess is that they wanted warmer weather. Any other hypotheses?

Let’s just hope I can keep them alive during my upcoming move to California!

An Exciting Update!

Yesterday morning, Saturday, April 25th, I woke up to a lemon sprout poking its head out of the dirt! Success! We have a Meyer Lemon plant!

This is the Meyer Lemon seed that was chitted and scarified, and then planted in a pot once it had sprouted. I planted it two weeks ago, and was about to give up hope that it would ever come up. Altogether, it took 39 days to go from seed to the first cotyledons.

Additionally, last week, a second chitted Meyer Lemon sprouted, so I planted that one as well.

The blood orange seeds, on the other hand, have all rotted. I dug up the seeds that I had direct sown, and they were rotten too. Oh well. You win some you lose some. I’m just so pleased that the Meyer lemon seeds are working.