GrapeFruit Indoors

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Joe Crowe, May 2, 2019.

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  1. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    Heya boys and girls! Just some quick info: I have a grapefruit tree growing in my bedroom. It's all thorny and nasty...but the thing, I grew from a seed. So it's got a special place in my heart! Recently I've been hunting on how to make it bloom, because I'm all about blooms! They are soooo smelly like perfume I feel like I've died and entered a grapefruit bloom dreamworld in my sleep. Finding info, is really hard. I mean, impossible? So! I did my own studies.
    facts:
    1) you only need one tree to make a fruit, but it has to be at least 7 years old.
    2) it takes 12 months for said fruit to ripen and reach full size.
    3) you can force it to bloom, whenever you want, after it is at least 7 years old.
    4) clones impress your friends.
    I just found out all this info by growing a grapefruit in my house in zone 5.
     

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  2. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    The most interesting part is making it bloom! Info on that was impossible to find. So here it is: you have to starve that thing out from water and nutrient. I didn't water it for so long it was probably a month. Then I watered and fertilized it. People may recognize this as the same method of making an amaryllis bloom. You have to create a TEXAS fall condition as close as you can. I mean... it was like a dust bowl. I'm not sure how much drying a grapefruit can take, but don't let it die. Crazy thing can bloom like 3 times in a 12 month period which I thought was impossible. Never tried forcing it to reflower with little fruits on there. I always treat it nice-ey nice when the fruits form, by giving it some organic nutrient then watering it when it dries out.
    It always goes through a cycle of losing some leaves for about a month in the year. Never thought about why, but it always happens. I just gather the leaves up and toss them in the compost.
    DSC03287.JPG
    The above flower cluster is growing out of some ancient wood. I mean, I had heard the flowers only grow out of wood that's new. So, I suppose a new flower cluster growing from old wood classifies as "new" growth. Oh yah, so the tree itself is over 16 years of age. Took years to realize I had to stop being nice to the tree to make it bloom. Had large sections of time when I wondered if it would ever bloom again and busy searching for how to make the magic happen. Then.... when I read up on how to make an amaryllis bloom it hit me... they both grow in texas! Didn't believe it myself until I saw the thing bloom, then bloom and bloom again! With it's clone 30cm tall blooming beside it. Then the secret was cracked for sure: 7 year old tree with "texas winter" protocol. I hope these posts have been specific enough for anyone to glean the protocol from.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2019
  3. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    Now, I know what you're thinkin': "but I got to be some kind of plant expert to clone trees" except that's wrong. Instead...you have to be extremely patient. This thread will be a compendium of grapefruit knowledge when I'm done my story heh heh. So you should take a 10cm cutting from the end of an old-wood branch. Not some kind of new growth from the end of a new growth. I tried to falsify this but failed, so if you can get new wood to root - go ahead. Then cut all leaves off except two, so there are a couple of growth nodes and then on top two leaves and a node. Take this cutting and dip the end in rooting powder/gel then insert it into some moist potting mix. Put this inside a humidity dome or plastic bag...pop bottle cut in half and rejoined, whatever your imagination can conjure up. The important factor is maintain between 75% and 90% humidity! Never allow this to drop below 75% or your cuttings will take damage. I put mine under some old-school fluorescent tubes, but you can use more modern equipment like LED, LEC, HPS and so on. Probably don't want extreme light, like the sun.
    Final phase: wait....and wait....and wait go and wait some more. When you see some growth starting on your cuttings you can try hardening them to see if the thing is rooted.
    Just take it out of the humidity dome for a bit and monitor it's condition. If the new leaves start to droop, put it back into the humidity and wait more time. I waited for 6 months. Eventually the clones stopped wilting and started really growing into a mini tree. For best results clone a tree that has been growing for at least 7 years. Yah broken record on that but it took my tree 7 years to reach sexual maturity, so I'm assuming other trees will be sort of like it. You don't want to hand someone a tree and say "three years until it blooms..maybe" My tree is from a grapefruit from the store. I gave someone sprouted seeds from a juicy yellow one I harvested! Nothing like fresh fruits from your own tree. Take lots of cuttings in case some fail.
     
  4. Will B

    Will B Member

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    I grow several different kinds of grapefruit in my cool greenhouse. There are four factors that seem to be most important for grapefruit to flower and produce lots of fruit: 1- age as you have already heard; 2- heat, they looove the heat; 3- sunlight, lots of sunlight; 4- nutrients, lots of nutrients. I have not seen dryness as a factor. I keep my citrus nicely watered and avoid water stress. They bloom like mad! Here is some info on this year's bloom and growth spurt that started in March: The great growth spurt and flowering is on! | Aprici
     
  5. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    mm I love sweet citrus blossoms! Those photos make me want to smell them all. I've had the tree flower normally but only once per year, so I used the drying to trigger a bloom in November, February and May. I'll keep gathering data and see if it can be falsified. My tree is indoors facing the north, in my window, so it's definitely not ideal. I'll give the sucker more organic materials to try and keep the fruits this time around.
     
  6. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    Now some of the flowers are open so I'm using a bird feather to pollinate. ASAP I just take the feather and lightly brush the pollen blobs and the sticky central stalk. MM then after the feather smells just like a blossom. I am definitely getting some good aromatherapy at night ;) Some of the flowers are 4 petals and some are 5. So many of them are going to open today or in the next few days. Hopefully this bloom will last for a couple months, or at least a month. I have noticed some of the leaves are huge this year, about 20cm long and 10cm wide. Probably from the organic veg fertilizer I gave it. There are lots of photos from my past experiments laying around here, I'll post some! Cloning lemons is way easier than grapefruit.
     
  7. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    I took a few decent photos of the flowers. The flowers growing from the old wood are going to bloom as well! I am hoping that I managed to get a few viable pollen grains rubbed on the open ones. The petals have already fallen off of one flower.
     

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  8. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    The flowers growing from the old wood are some of my favorites, as the old wives tale is that flowers only grow on new wood, not on 5 year old wood. The old wood branch has no leaves, only a bunch of flowers. I only cut off branches once they die and turn brown.
     
  9. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    ok, I've got a couple potential fruits. Never say never though, lots of the time they all fall off. As I mentioned, this time I added more fertilizer to the tree. I added some to the clone as well. Perhaps It's just the fertilizer that triggers the bloom. I have some falsifying to perform. The clone is at my friends place where I can get at it, but it can experience different conditions in a different environment. It helps in the quest to falsify things, like proving the photo period had nothing to do with it.
     
  10. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Ferts do not make up for poor growing conditions any more than you can fool a plant into thinking that autumn has not arrived by feeding it late in the season. While it may or may not poison the plant with more N or P or K than it needs or can use, nothing, nothing replaces the rays of good ol' Sol. Oversized leaves are a sign of low light, but Grapefruit leaves are pretty big, anyway. I think (but don't know) that fruit drop is typically an indicator of the plant being unable to support the fruit. Essentially, a spontaneous abortion to save the mother's resources.
     
  11. Will B

    Will B Member

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  12. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Not withstanding a north window is for artists, not for raising fruit trees.
     
  13. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    heh heh yah I get the thing about not enough light. Unfortunately I had to move it from the south window where it was really growing good. But enough about 10 years ago ;). It can produce at least one fruit in the window facing north, but that's all I need....a lone fruit will do. As for the fertilizer, it's actually organic so it's incredibly hard to dose anything to a lethal level. I gave it some 3-2-4 organic pure blend, the good stuff. I think if I went crazy I could create insane phosphorous levels due to the fact it contains ground up rocks. Heyyy perhaps I could give it some thrive alive! The kelp/B1 could help the fruits. Here's a classic fruit I grew in the window. I'll take photos of the "potential" fruits later when they look like they are growing.
     

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    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  14. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    ok, well I got a quick photo of the trunk. Going to have to charge the camera batteries to get more. It's planted in a 60 liter pot with worm castings and sunshine 4 potting mix. oops I meant 3-2-4 I'll edit that
     

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  15. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    well-ity... I think there's a few fruits forming this time around. They look large and healthy still, where the sketchy ones look pale. We shall see! I made sure to pollinate one of the old-wood flowers to see what happens.
     

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  16. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    Reduce each cluster to one fruit per branch for best performance.
     
  17. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    ahh yes! I am busy getting rid of the small ones as we speak. It's always ended up that way with one fruit, by removing lots of them, perhaps I can get more!
     
  18. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    ok, I think I got rid of all the small fruits in each bunch. No promises though, there were quite a few. There were a number of them that looked non-viable, I'm sure they weren't pollinated when I used the feather and/or shook the branches to get pollen floating. Some of them I figured were unwanted. I have some off-hand advice for getting rid of earwigs thrips and aphids. Oh, and flea beetles or caterpillars. Use BTK, it works on all that crap and more. Just don't use it on spider mites it won't work. For flea beetles, spray the plant and water it into the ground. Indoors I love to squish aphid colonies, they are gooey, but outside I spray their colony on the plant with BTK and they all die. The off-label uses for that stuff are incredible.
     
  19. Michigander

    Michigander Active Member

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    By "off-label", I hope you are not using something not cleared for plants growing food. ?
     
  20. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    I'm definitely not talking about that psycho killer, instead a substance that is friendly to humans and beneficial insects. The greenhouse tests revealed no damage to the insects that preyed on the insects that got BTK treated.
    What is Btk? - Province of British Columbia
    when I say "off-label", I'm talking about the bugs it can kill that aren't mentioned in the instructions. Organic or die, symbiosis rulez!!! ;)
     
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  21. Joe Crowe

    Joe Crowe New Member

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    Got some really great news to share! 8 of those fruits I left have been firmly established. Next may, I'll have some nice fruits to eat, yum! 2 clusters have 2 fruits but the rest are single ones, including the old-wood one. Originally, when they were small, I had left 10 fruits but two of them weren't pollinated and fell off when they were pea sized. Once they have some heft to them, they never fall off as long as you.... keep watering it properly and give it some more organics. Another crazy thing, the clone bloomed a couple of weeks after I gave it some organic fertilizer. The fertilizer is definitely required to trigger the blooms. Not sure what had happened to the clone, but it was looking pretty ratted out, all yellow and leaves falling like rain. I really have no idea what he did or didn't do to it, but after some of that same fertilizer it grew new leaves and bloomed. He told me he thought it was dead, but I said any green bark on the tree and it's still alive. When it turns brown it's dead.
     

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