Meyer Lemon Update

Dad has been plantsitting most of the houseplants I had in my Seattle apartment. When I visited him, I was able to check on them. They’re doing well for the most part. Because I know that you are all dying to know what happened to the Meyer lemons that I grew from seed last spring….

Here they are!

They are all growing really well, and have put on one or two new leaves each. They could probably be bumped up in pot size, but I’m going to wait until spring to do that because I don’t imagine they’ll put in much growth over fall and winter.

For comparison, here is what the plants looked like when I moved out of my Seattle apartment:

The photos aren’t great, but I can definitely tell that they’ve grown. Just you wait until the Spring 2021 Meyer Lemon Update…

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.

Starting Citrus from Seed

Remember my dead kumquats?

Yes, it is finally time to put them to rest.

RIP Kumqats

And plant some more citrus!

Mama Meyer

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve saved some Meyer lemon seeds and blood orange seeds.

I’m doing a test to see if pre-germinating them with the paper towel method is any better than planting directly into soil.

In Plants from Pits, Holly Farrell says to plant citrus seeds directly into soil, but Leslie Halleck, in Plant Parenting says, “Seeds of stone fruits, such as peaches and apricots, nut trees, or citrus seeds, will root more successfully if you pre-sprout them” (emphasis mine). She suggests chitting seeds. I didn’t know what chitting was before reading her book, but I was familiar with “the paper towel method,” which, as it turns out, is the exact same thing. Another term that means the same thing is “greensprouting.”

The paper towel method, for those of you who are not familiar, goes like this:

  1. Wet a paper towel
  2. Fold the seeds up in the wet paper towel
  3. Place the wet paper towel into a plastic bag
  4. Place plastic bag with seeds in paper towel in a warm place
  5. Wait until you see a sprout
  6. Plant the sprouted seeds

People claim this makes for more efficient germination. We shall see…

For my experiment, I planted half of my seeds directly into potting soil, and did the paper towel method with the other half.

Here are the potted seeds — blood orange seeds in the left pot and lemons in the right:

Blood orange seeds in the pot on the left, and meyer lemons on the right

I planted the seeds on one half of the pot, and I’ll put the pre-sprouted “chitted” seeds on the other half, so I can see their side-by-side growth.

Dots illustrate where I direct-planted seeds

I also added a plastic bags over the pots as Plants from Pits recommends.


And now, here’s the chitted version.

I placed the seeds on damp paper towels…

…folded them up and stored them inside of plastic bags.

I started the seeds on March 17th, and have been checking on them every couple of days. No growth to date on either front.

I suspect the chitted seeds will do better, but it’s a little more work to chit seeds, so I’m hoping this experiment will prove me wrong.