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How to Grow a Grapefruit Tree from Seed

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Once you learn how to grow citrus trees from seed, I am not going to lie – it becomes pretty addicting. So here I am, ready to tell you all about how to grow a grapefruit tree from seed.

We don’t eat a ton of grapefruit here, but I’m bitten by the citrus growing bug, so why not?!

Hand holding a grapefruit seed above a sliced grapefruit

The grapefruit I cut open had only 3 seeds inside but they all looked plump and viable. We’ll see how it goes!

First, get yourself a fresh grapefruit and then follow along with these easy steps.

Planting Grapefruit Seeds

It’s easy to learn how to plant a grapefruit tree from seed. If you’ve read any of my other posts on starting citrus from seed, this is old hat. 🙂

First, you’ll collect the seeds and germinate them in damp paper towels. Then, you’ll transfer the sprouted grapefruit seedlings to some soil. Easy peasy!

Sliced grapefruit cut in half on cutting board


To germinate grapefruit seeds and plant a baby tree, you will need a few materials.

Gather a fresh grapefruit, knife and cutting board for seed harvesting.

For grapefruit seed germination, gather the seeds, a paper towel, a sandwich bag with zip-top, a permanent marker, and water or a spray bottle filled with water.

Grapefruit seeds in wet paper towels and plastic baggie
Check out those gorgeous white roots peeking out through the paper towels! Baby grapefruit trees have sprouted!
(Photo taken November 16, 2022)

How to Grow a Grapefruit Tree from Seed

It’s so exciting to dream of all the different indoor citrus trees we can grow! Follow these easy steps to plant a baby grapefruit tree.

It should only take you a few moments for each phase of the process. 🙂

Sliced grapefruit on a cutting board with seeds
Sliced grapefruit on a cutting board with seeds

Collecting Grapefruit Seeds

Harvest some grapefruit seeds during your breakfast or when you go to squeeze some fresh grapefruit juice!

  1. Shallow-cut a grapefruit in half across the hemisphere to reveal the pretty sections.

    Shallow cut a grapefruit
  2. Twist to separate the two halves.
  3. Remove any loose seeds and set them aside.
  4. Look inside the halves for more seeds.
  5. Squeeze the juice or enjoy your grapefruit. Remove any other seeds that you find.
Glass of grapefruit juice and seeds on a cutting board
Glass of grapefruit juice and seeds on a cutting board

Germinating Grapefruit Seeds

Once you have grapefruit seeds, move on to germination.

  1. Gently nick the outer seed coat using your thumbnail.
  2. Carefully peel away the rough outer coating of the seeds.

    Holding a grapefruit seed after removing the seed coat
  3. Set aside the peeled grapefruit seeds until you are done with all of them.
  4. Fold a paper towel in halve and dampen it.
  5. Place the seeds on top so they are not touching.

    Peeled grapefruit seeds on a paper towel
  6. Spray a bit more water to evenly moisten the seeds.
  7. Fold the paper towel and place it inside a zip-top sandwich bag.
  8. Seal the bag and write the grapefruit variety and the date with a permanent marker.
  9. Set the baggie somewhere out of the way where it is a bit warm. I placed ours on top of the microwave.

Check on the seeds after about 5 days to a week to spot signs of successful germination.

Germinating grapefruit seeds in a plastic baggie with wet paper towels
Germinating grapefruit seeds in a plastic baggie with wet paper towels

Transplanting Grapefruit Seedlings to Soil

After the seeds sprout, you can move the seedlings to a small pot with some soil!

  1. Gently remove a sprouted seedling from the baggie.
  2. Prepare a small flower pot with a coffee filter to catch the soil bits and then fill with damp potting soil.
  3. Make an indentation in the center for the baby grapefruit tree seedling.
  4. Cover with soil and water adequately.
  5. Repeat for any additional germinated grapefruit seeds you would like to try growing.
  6. Place the pots in a sunny window or under some grow lights.

Check regularly for watering needs and signs of continued growth!

Sprouted grapefruit seed in a wet paper towel
This grapefruit seed germinated beautifully! A healthy root emerged along with green stem and leaves.

Growing a Grapefruit Tree from Seed

Where we live, citrus trees cannot survive our winters. That means I have to make room for all these babies inside the house!

It’s going to be a jungle in here pretty soon, and I love it!

We’ve already got seed-grown lemon trees, a baby clementine tree, and I’ve just started orange seeds and lime seeds as well!

(Sorry hubby. Well, sorry, not sorry, I guess! These plants make me so happy!!)

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All three of our grapefruit seeds germinated! We had a 100% success rate in much less than 2 weeks’ time.

Beautiful green healthy grapefruit seedlings on a wet paper towel atop a plastic baggie
Excellent success – 100% germination rate of grapefruit seeds! Look at these beautiful grapefruit seedlings!
Closeup of baby grapefruit tree seedlings
Closeup of baby grapefruit tree seedlings

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy our Google web story on starting grapefruit seeds.

Are you growing citrus indoors? Do you have questions about planting grapefruit seeds to grow a grapefruit tree?

Let’s chat in the comments below – I love hearing from you!

Happy (Indoor) Gardening!

11.18.22 – Updated to add new photos of sprouted grapefruit seeds. Created web story.

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