Most of our children, and often we ourselves, adults, began their acquaintance with botany with a mandarin duck. Orange, fragrant, with bright slices and nondescript bones, it brought us to the question: is it possible to grow such a miracle on our own? And if this question overtook us not far from a pot of earth, even if already occupied by some plant, the seeds were immediately sent to the soil. And after a while, the already forgotten experiment turned into a difficult task: how to care for and get the fruits from your own tangerine in home growing conditions? We will talk about this in the article.
Mandarin tree (Citrus reticulata). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Team D
Tangerine from the bone – analyzing the difficulties
Before deciding to grow a tangerine from a seed, you need to think: how much are you willing to work hard to achieve a result, and what exactly do you want from the tree you are growing – just decorative or also fruits? Are you ready to wait? The seed tangerine grows rather slowly. Do you agree to experiments? In order for the plant to bloom, it will take more than one year, and there are often cases that the tangerine, in general, does not bloom, then you will need to help him.
In addition, if a tangerine grown from a stone produces fruits, they do not look like those from which the seed was taken (in order for the variety to repeat, it must be propagated vegetatively – by cuttings, grafts). However, what turns out, in any case, pleasantly surprises!
Planting a mandarin
What seeds to plant?
For planting tangerines, it is best to take seeds from the many hybrids offered for sale today. They sprout faster, bloom earlier, in most cases, produce edible fruits and are easier to graft. It is very simple to distinguish them from real tangerines: the real ones do not have seeds in the fruits, or there are very few of them, and hybrids are always with seeds.
The selected seeds should not be thin, as if dried out, deformed or with a blackened tip. It is good that there are at least five mandarin seeds, since not all will germinate, and if the plants are planned to be grafted, then at least ten, because grafting is not always successful.
Cooking the ground and picking up the pot
The next task is to prepare the substrate. There should be no peat in it, since mandarin does not like acidic soil. Therefore, the substrate is either bought in a store, marked with a pH = 6,5-7 (neutral soil), or they are made on their own by mixing two parts of well-rotted humus, two parts of forest land (from under deciduous trees) and one part of sifted river sand. If there is no humus, you can just take non-acidic soil and sand.
Now you need to pick up a container for planting. The first pots for young tangerines are quite capable of being plastic cups with a volume of 200 ml, bowls with a depth of at least 7-9 cm (always with a drainage hole) or small pots.
We plant mandarin seeds
For all citrus fruits, there is a single rule: the faster the seed from the fruit gets into the soil, the higher its germination. Therefore, having eaten a tangerine, you do not need to dry its bones, you must immediately place them in the ground, digging them to a depth of 4 cm.
If, for some reason, the mandarin seeds could not be planted immediately, then, in order to slightly speed up the germination process, it is recommended to soak them for several days. In this case, the dishes in which they will lie should be flat, the cloth should be damp, but not filled with water, the place should be warm, but not in the sun. So that the cloth in which the tangerine bones are wrapped does not dry out, the saucer can be placed in a plastic bag, slightly covered, but not tied.
From sowing to germination
It is impossible to say in advance how long it will take for the seed to germinate and sprout. In some cases, this is 15 days, but more often – about a month. In any case, before germination, it is important to monitor soil moisture and air temperature, which should not fall below +20 ° C and exceed +25 ° C. At the same time, it is not recommended to place the pots in a mini greenhouse, tangerines sprout so well, and plants grown in greenhouse conditions will then need to be accustomed to the conditions of the room.
Transplanting mandarin seedlings
If the mandarin seeds are not planted in separate pots, but all together in a bowl, when four leaves appear (it is believed that citrus fruits do not have cotyledon leaves), it is time to transplant them into separate cups. From the obtained seedlings, the most powerful are chosen, and the weak and deformed are discarded, getting stronger and more capable of growth and development of plants.
Sometimes it happens that two sprouts grow from one mandarin seed (in citrus fruits, multi-embryonic seeds are observed). In this case, you can do two things: either pin a weaker plant, or plant the shoots in different pots – usually each of them has its own root system.
The next tangerine transplant should be focused on root development: as soon as the roots take up the entire volume of the cup, the plant is transferred into a more spacious pot. But immediately planting a seedling in a large volume of land is highly discouraged, because in this case, waterlogging of the soil often occurs, which significantly inhibits the plant.
Young tangerine trees are transplanted annually. Fruiting – once every 2-3 years, increasing the diameter of the pot not by 1, but by 4-6 cm. When planting, it is important to take care not to deepen the root collar.
Old plants and large specimens of tangerine are not transplanted, but every few years the top layer of soil is carefully removed in a pot, replacing it with a new, fertile one.
Mandarin is one of those plants that often have to be shaped. The first pinching (if he did not start branching himself) is done to him when the seedling reaches a height of 30-40 cm. This technique makes the tree start up side shoots of the first order. But this is not enough for flowering, because tangerine bears fruit only on branches of the 4th-5th order. Therefore, the pinching is continued, removing the tips of all shoots after 4-5 leaves, as well as weak shoots and those that grow inside the crown. In general, it takes 3-4 years to form.
But to force the branching of the first-order branches, you can go the other way – reject the shoots with a commit. This method is more time consuming, but quite interesting. For its implementation, one end of the wire is fixed on a branch, and the other is fixed with a hairpin at the edge of the pot so that the formed mandarin shoot tilts closer to a parallel position with respect to the ground.
Tangerine care at home
Caring for tangerine trees varies somewhat depending on their age and purpose. If the specimen is young (up to 5 years old) or is grown exclusively for the sake of green foliage, it needs regular watering (the soil must be kept moist, but not flooded), spraying (quite frequent) and a lot of light (with shading in the summer from the bright midday sun and backlit on winter days).
In warmer months, the tree can be taken out into the air (gradually accustoming it) to a place protected from the wind. It is good for a tangerine to have a warm shower once a month.
Like other citrus fruits, mandarin tends to turn the leaves towards the main light source. Therefore, for a more uniform formation of the crown, it can be rotated around its axis. But this should be done no more than 10 ° C at a time and no more than once every two weeks, because citrus fruits do not like permutations and can react negatively to them.
If the tangerine began to bloom, then, in addition to the usual care, it needs a period of winter dormancy, at a temperature of + 10 … 12 ° C with more rare watering (it is necessary to allow the earth to dry out a little), a smooth rise in temperatures in the spring and an optimal temperature regime for education buds (within + 16..18 ° C). As well as moderate warmth in summer – no higher than +25 ° C (at a higher temperature, flowers can crumble) and careful spraying (water should not get on the flowers).
Since tangerines ripen for about 6 months, many people have a question: should the tree rest in the winter or light it up with a lamp so that the fruits ripen? Answer: arrange. Even at + 10..12 ° C, tangerines slowly ripen.
Top dressing mandarin
Small tangerines are not fed, they are simply transferred into a larger pot. But older plants need to start fertilizing from the beginning of spring growth until autumn. This must be done with a special fertilizer for citrus fruits or mullein infusion (1:10 with water) every two weeks. Chicken droppings are also suitable for feeding (dilute 1:20 tincture at a rate of 1:20 with water).
If the tree is planned for transplantation, tangerine feeding is stopped at least three days before this event. After transshipment, they return to fertilizers no earlier than 2 weeks later. In winter, tangerines are not fed.
First fruiting of tangerines
Tangerine grown from seed begins to bear fruit in the 5th-6th year. Its fruits do not exactly repeat the taste of the mother variety and may differ from it in size, sweetness, aroma, but not only in the direction of deterioration of these qualities (as is commonly believed), but also in the direction of improvement (here – whoever is lucky).
At the same time, the first fruiting does not yet fully reveal all the characteristics of the plant obtained from the seed. Therefore, if a tangerine has bloomed and set fruits, it must be provided with the most attractive conditions so that the tree can show itself during repeated fruiting.
How to make tangerines bloom?
It’s good if the tangerine blooms on its own. And if not? If so, he can be encouraged to do so. It is necessary to take a copper wire and tightly wrap it around the base of the mandarin trunk so that it is pressed into the bark. This will disrupt the process of sap flow and make the plant “think” about the offspring – to bloom. After six months, the wire must be removed, and the wounded place must be treated with garden varnish – it will recover quickly enough.
However, the method will not work if the mandarin has not formed a crown and has not had a dormant period. Therefore, before starting the experiment, it is necessary to help the tree grow branches of the 4th and 5th order and go through a cold winter.
Another way to get fruit from a mandarin seedling is to plant it. To do this, it is necessary to grow a stock (tangerine from a bone) to the thickness of a trunk with a diameter of a simple pencil (about 6 mm) and find a scion – a small segment of a shoot taken from a varietal mandarin, or rather, a bud (eye) with a leaf petiole.
At a height of 7 cm from the soil on the bark of the stock with a very sharp, preferably a special budding knife, make an incision in the shape of the letter “T” so as not to cut through the wood. The length of the incision should be about 2,5 cm, the upper jumper (cap of the letter “T”) about 1 cm. Insert the cut mandarin bud (with the leaf petiole) into the bent ends of the bark (gently push them aside with a knife) and press the bark back. Treat everything with garden pitch and wrap tightly with blue electrical tape, leaving the petiole outside. Place the grafted plant in the greenhouse from the bag.
If the mandarin vaccination is successful, the kidney will take root within three weeks, the leaf petiole will turn yellow and easily fall off. If the vaccination is unsuccessful, the petiole will turn black.
If successful, they begin to air the greenhouse little by little, gradually increasing the session time. A month after the emergence of a shoot from a new bud, the stem of the mandarin stock is cut with pruning shears at a height of at least 5 mm from the vaccination site, obliquely. The bandage is removed. The cut is treated with garden pitch.
Tangerine care during flowering / fruiting
In the phase of flowering and fruiting, the tangerine needs more phosphorus and potassium fertilizers than nitrogen. Watering should be regular, but not excessive. When the plant blooms, it must continue to be sprayed, but in such a way that water does not fall on the flowers.
In most cases, the mandarin sheds excess flowers and ovary, independently regulating the load. If this does not happen, he needs to be helped by removing excess flowers and tangerines, leaving one fruit on the plant for every 15-20 leaves.
If the tangerines burst when ripening, it means that the plant is watered irregularly, or is experiencing an excess of nitrogen. In order for the mandarin to lay flower buds, it definitely needs winter rest.
It has been noticed that, grown from a bone, mandarin is much more resistant to environmental influences and pests than those that can be bought in the store. But, unfortunately, he also has malicious enemies. Most of them are afraid of ultraviolet radiation and high humidity, so maintaining good conditions for keeping plants is also a prevention against them. Who is it? Spider mites, scale insects, mealybugs, and also aphids.
Measuring only 0,3-0,6 mm, it is practically invisible to the human eye. But you can calculate it by the presence of small light dots on the underside of the leaves of the plant and the presence of the thinnest cobweb. If a tick is found, the fight against it should be immediate.
The first thing to start with is to thoroughly wash the plant with warm running water and laundry soap. Then it is necessary to spray the mandarin with Fitoverm, Intavir, Aktelik or other insecticide several times at intervals (7-10 days).
It is a convex oval plate with a size of only 4 mm. The main sign of its presence is a sticky syrupy coating that appears on the leaves of the plant. If the pest is not destroyed, the tree is quickly depleted and dries up.
You can try to cope with the shield by treating the tangerine with soapy water with the addition of kerosene: for 1 liter of water, 5 g of soap and 10 g of kerosene. Spray up to twice a week.
But more effective treatments (from 3 to 5 times with an interval of 15 days) with insecticides Aktara, Fitoverm or others that can always be found on sale. However, after such treatment, the fruits from the tree cannot be eaten and it is necessary to change the top layer of earth in the pot.
It is quite simple to detect it: the pest resembles a white fluffy bloom, scattered over the plant in the form of small dots with a diameter of 3 to 6 mm. You can fight the worm manually, painstakingly collecting individuals, using insecticides – Karbofos, Decis, Intavir, or infusion of soap and garlic (2 cloves of garlic per 0,5 liters of boiling water, insist 4 hours).
Almost everyone is familiar with this pest: from 1 to 3 mm long, light green in color, multiplies quickly, lives in colonies. The harmfulness of aphids is that they suck the juices from young shoots and mandarin leaves, deforming them and depleting the plant.
In the fight against it, repeated (with an interval of 5-7 days) washing the plant with a solution of laundry soap, spraying with an infusion of garlic (1 head of finely chopped garlic in a glass of water, leave for 2 days), infusion of tobacco (40 g per 1 l of water) is used.
Problems when growing tangerine
Yellowing and falling foliage
This problem can have different causes. It is important not to rush, to carefully analyze the condition of the plant and make the correct diagnosis. In adult tangerines, the leaves may turn yellow and fall off due to their old age. But at the same time, the tree itself looks healthy and develops normally.
General lighting of foliage may indicate insufficient lighting of plants. In this case, you need to take care to rearrange the tangerine closer to the light, or arrange artificial lighting for it.
The shedding of mandarin leaves can begin due to too dry air (in the absence of regular spraying, especially during the heating season), improper transplantation (when the root collar is deepened, choosing too large a pot volume), drafts. If one of these reasons is found, they simply need to be eliminated.
Drying and falling off of the lower mandarin leaves, while the leaf begins to dry from the tip, is associated with regular waterlogging of the soil. This phenomenon occurs either as a result of over-grooming, or due to too large a pot in relation to the seedling. In any case, the plant must be transplanted into an appropriate pot with fresh, loose (breathable) soil, after removing the rotten roots.
If the yellowing began from the bottom of the crown and spreads to the top, this indicates a lack of nitrogen. In this case, the tangerine must be fed with nitrogen fertilizers.
The light yellow color of young tangerine leaves, which gradually passes over to old leaves, indicates chlorosis (lack of iron). Treatment with iron chelate will help here.
Mandarin leaves fall off for no apparent reason – perhaps the plant lacks potassium. In this case, it must be fed with potassium nitrate.
Interesting facts about tangerine
It is important to know that young tangerines often produce rather long thorns – you don’t need to do anything with them!
In winter, citrus fruits, growing foliage, often form larger leaf plates than in spring and summer.
In order to distinguish a tangerine sapling from a lemon sapling, you need to smell their leaves – in lemon they smell of citrus, in tangerine – a light aroma of fresh greens. Older plants can be easily distinguished by their leaf stalks – the lemon has a simple stalk, and the mandarin has a narrow long lionfish.