How To Grow Pomelos
Legend has it that before there was the grapefruit, there was this citrus fruit. I mean I have already shown you how to grow lemons, how to grow tangerines and even how to grow red grapefruit. It is only right then, that we take a look at their older cousin I am talking about how to grow a pomelo tree from seed.
Scientifically known as Citrus Maxima or Citrus Grandis, this citrus fruit has its origins in South East Asia and Malaysia. They are usually round or pear-shaped with white, pink or red flesh. Actually they look like over sized grapefruits, however their rind is thicker and the flesh is often sweeter too. When left to grow outside in your backyard or orchard the tree can grow anywhere from 25 to 50 feet tall.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
When growing pomelos from seeds, you want to make sure that you use seeds fresh from the fruits. However, the seeds need to be cleaned first before you can start planting them in a pot prepared with a mixture of seed starting mix and sand. The pot has to be covered in plastic wrap and then find a window sill that gets full sunlight for it sit on.
Germination should take place anytime from 2 to 8 weeks. Wait about 3 weeks before you considering transplanting the seedlings into 4 inch pots. Fertilizer can also be applied bi weekly after the seedlings are strong enough. Ultimately you are going to have to make the decision on whether to transplant into a larger container or outside in your backyard.
The Garden of Eaden
If you have never come across a ripening pomelo fruit in real life then you are missing out. You just can’t help yourself from being impressed by its almost ridiculous size. Like many cultivars within the genus Citrus they are easy to grow from seed but you just need to be aware of two things. As you would expect the seeds of the Pomelo – Citrus grandis (formally Citrus maxima) are seriously large in size and as such tend to have a longer germination period. Secondly, unless you are blessed with living in a warm Mediterranean or subtropical climate you will need to germinate your seeds with the help of a heated propagator. That is not to say that you won’t be able to provide decent germinating temperatures in an unheated greenhouse or conservatory over the summer months in the UK or other temperate climates which receive consistent temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius for six weeks or so. So just how do you grow the Pomelo from seed?
To begin with you can use individual pots, or a seed tray but I prefer to use large modular seed trays. It saves disturbing the root system when it comes to pricking out, and as it it a regular seed tray or half seed tray size it will fit perfectly inside a standard heated propagator. Although not an ericaceous species, I prefer to use a good quality John Innes Ericaceous compost. You can use regular seed composts or multipurpose if you prefer as they will still germinate. Its just that citrus are known to go a little chlorotic and the acid compost seems to reduce this issue.
Place one seed per pot or module and bury one centimetre below the surface. Gently compact the compost before watering in. Place your pots/tray inside a propagator/heated propagator in a bright position with the vents closed to prevent the soil from drying out. Set the heated propagator at between 25-30 degrees Celsius making sure that the compost is kept moist at all time.
After 2-3 weeks you can expect the first seedlings to emerge, at which point you can open the vents. Once the first true leaves appear then seedlings in pots can be removed from the propagator but still keep them under protection. Do not allow the seedlings to become waterlogged as this can damage the newly developing root system and allow the soil to partially dry out before watering.
Once established in their pots they can be potted on and hardened off over a couple of weeks before placing outside. They will prefer a warm, bright sheltered position. In the UK Pomelo plants will need to be brought back in under protection once overnight temperatures begin to dip below 12 degrees Celsius. They can either stay in permanently in a cool bright position or placed outside after the risk of late frosts have passed so long as they have been once again hardened of beforehand.