The Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is a natural crossbreed created in the seventeenth century in the Barbados Islands between a sweet orange and a pummelo (Citrus grandis). From there, it spread throughout the Caribbean and today, to much of the world.
Grapefruit is a slightly flattened spherical fruit with smooth or rough skin, light yellow or reddish. It is the most vigorous of the citrus fruits and reaches sufficient volume with aromatic flowers that vary from white to yellow or green.
How to Sow Grapefruits?
After harvesting the seeds, store them in the refrigerator until the right time for sowing. This is usually when the temperature remains above 20°, in spring or early summer.
The cold is necessary to activate the seeds, so you should keep them in the refrigerator, but be careful not to freeze them. Put the grapefruit seeds in an airtight bag and leave them in the lowest part of your refrigerator. If you have just harvested the seeds and it is already spring, store them for at least two weeks before sowing.
It is a tropical tree, and although it is more resistant to cold than other citrus fruits, it does not tolerate frost and will generally die if the temperature drops below 3°C or if there is heavy snow. An essential factor for its growth and development is brightness. Grapefruit should be planted in a place where it gets plenty of sunlight for most of the year. However, if the sun is too intense, it is also good to get some shade for a few hours of the day. It should also not be exposed to strong winds, which can ruin fruiting.
These trees preferably need sandy soil, with a neutral pH and no saline conditions. Humidity is also an influence: the optimum rainfall is about 1,000 mm per year, evenly distributed throughout the year. In drier times, frequent watering is required. During the vegetative period and until the plant is established, regular watering is necessary. In more humid regions, slightly flattened grapefruits will be obtained, while round fruits will be obtained in relatively dry areas.
Steps for Planting Grapefruits
-Fill a box (seedbed) with a mixture of potting soil and some river sand.
-Add charcoal dust to prevent the occurrence of any diseases.
-Make the mixture well moist.
-Plant the seeds every 5 cm in the mixture by pressing them a few millimetres and covering them with soil.
-Water and cover the box with a glass plate or translucent foil until they begin to sprout.
-Place the seedling in a warm and bright place but out of direct sunlight.
-Once the grapefruit plants have reached a height of about 10 cm, you can transplant them to their final location or into a larger pot.
-Keep in mind that if you germinate a grapefruit, it will not bear fruit until about four years later. To avoid this, the fruit trees should be grafted.
How to Transplant a Grapefruit Tree?
Transplanting a grapefruit can be done either in the fall or in the spring. If you already have a grapefruit tree that has been grafted and are planting it in the ground, add manure or digested compost to the soil to enrich it and nourish the grapefruit for several months.
Be sure not to bury the grafting point; it should be at least 5 cm from the ground. Orient the graft in the opposite direction of the prevailing wind to protect it. Then tie the graft to a stake to support the bush and help it take root. The substrate should be humus-rich, well-drained and low in calcium.
It is a species with a habit of forming and producing bulbs in the periphery, so try to prune the forms to increase the area that intercepts light and thus increases production. It is usually formed in a glass. Form pruning is very controversial; since the yield decreases proportionally to the pruning intensity, one may choose between giving the most ornate form and obtaining less fruit. The tree may produce more fruit even though it does not maintain a perfect shape. Some recommend pruning every year, others every 3-4 years to clean the tree’s center.
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