In this article on growing citrus from cuttings, I show how to root citrus rootstocks in stonewool. These rootstocks can then be used to graft citrus trees of many different varieties. For example, to propagate a lemon tree, rather than rooting lemon cuttings, citrus rootstock cuttings are rooted. A lemon cutting is then grafted to the rootstock. Grafting to a rootstock will produce a superior tree. Benefits include disease resistance and improved fruit flavor and texture.
Growing Citrus from Cuttings – How to Root Citrus Rootstocks – YouTube Video
Cuttings and Materials
Materials that I used to root the citrus rootstocks in stonewool can be found here.
When propagating citrus trees from cuttings in California, it is mandated by state law and regulation that cuttings come from a registered source. This is to avoid the spread of the deadly huanglongbing disease that now exists in the state. Disease-free cuttings of rootstocks, lemons, limes, and other citrus varieties can be ordered here.
The following video shows how I made the ebb and flow hydroponics system.
Grafting to the Citrus Rootstocks
Once the rootstocks have been successfully rooted, there are many techniques that can be used to graft them.
Further Experience with Rootstocks
Since I originally published this article I have had more experience with scions grafted to some of the rootstocks in the video. I tasted fruit from branches grafted to some of the rootstocks that I had said gave “acceptable quality fruit”. I was disappointed and the fruit was not acceptable to me. I took the word “acceptable” from a textbook, but in real life I think it depends upon the citrus variety and the person tasting the fruit. Based on this experience, I do not recommend rooting citrus rootstocks. For grafting citrus trees, I recommend either rootstocks grown from seed or small trees from a reputable nursery.
Resources for Californians
Please visit CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org for more information on how to stop the spread of deadly citrus disease.
California Law Regarding Citrus Propagation
In California, the collection of any citrus propagative materials, including budwood and seeds, from non-registered sources is illegal. Any citrus trees grown or grafted in California must come from source trees registered with either:
- The Citrus Nursery Stock Pest Cleanliness Program, administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or
- The Citrus Clonal Protection Program, located at the University of California at Riverside.
This article was funded by a grant from California’s Citrus Research Board.