Inside: We’ve got a fun science experiment just right for kids! Let’s explore how to turn a tiny lemon seed into a flourishing tree. Join us, and let’s make learning a zestful adventure (sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂
Do you get annoyed by lemon seeds when trying to use this citrus fruit? The other day, I was trying to squeeze some lemon juice from a couple of lemons for my Lemon Roast (yum-yum!), and the pesky seeds kept appearing out of nowhere.
But you know what? We can easily turn this inconvenience into a fun science experiment because lemon seeds are actually “baby plants” in the making. The seed is the embryonic stage of the plant life cycle. If you provide the right conditions, each of these lemon seeds can grow into a beautiful (and fruitful) lemon tree!
Not only does it provide hands-on learning about the natural world, it instills patience, responsibility, and the introduction to the magic of growth.
I love doing easy, hands-on science projects for my kids, not just because it’s such a memorable way to learn (for them) but also because it’s a fun opportunity for me to bond with them. Something I will always remember fondly, even when my kids are all grown up.
How to Grow a Lemon Tree from a Seed
Let’s transform these simple lemon seeds into thriving trees and turn education into a zestful journey (get it? Zest :). So, next time you have a lemon, make the most of it – grow a lemon tree!
1. Cut a lemon in half
Cut a lemon in half and remove those lemon seeds. Are you kids intrigued to find out that a whole lemon can grow from such a little seed?
2. Soak the Seeds
Soak the seeds in water to soften the outside layer for about 12 hours. While you are waiting, show your kids a lemon, the seeds, and perhaps photos of a fully-grown lemon tree you can find on the internet. Point out the dramatic transformation that a tiny seed can undergo. This will create an ‘image’ in their minds and will make them excited to start the process themselves.
Wet a paper towel and line a mason jar with it. Allow your kids to do as much as they can independently. I know you can do it better, straighter, and with less mess, but this hands-on experience is not just fun; it also helps them understand the process and makes them feel involved.
Place the seeds between the outside of the jar and the wet paper towel. Encourage your kids to ask questions about why and how of the experiment in particular and the science of growing in general. This will make the process more interactive and educational.
Fill the center of the jar with towels, cotton balls, or pebbles. This step prevents the seeds from moving. Interestingly enough, we discovered that if the seed is moved, it makes it stop growing.
Place the mason jar in a warm, dark place, like a corner in your kitchen. As the seeds start to sprout and grow, ask your kids to observe and comment on the changes. If you are keeping an Observation Journal, make note-taking a regular part of your routine.
Add more water when the paper towel dries up, but avoid waterlogging the seeds.
It took 13 days for us to see the first lemon seed sprouting. But it seemed like an eternity.
And here is how our seeds looked at 4 weeks!
At the 5-week mark, we got a ruler out and measured our sprouted seeds for the fun of it. 11 centimeters! Or about 4.3 inches.
5. Planting the Seed
The next step in growing lemon trees is planting the seeds. It’s best if you plant the seed in a pot filled with good-quality potting soil.
The seed needs to be covered with about half an inch of soil.
6. Keeping plants alive
Much care goes into nurturing the sprouting seeds into a full-grown tree: air, water, sunlight, and love.
As the seedling begins to grow, it stretches towards the sun. The sun provides energy through a process called photosynthesis, which the plant needs to grow. The leaves capture sunlight and convert it into energy to fuel the plant’s growth. Meanwhile, the roots of the seedling anchor it in the ground and absorb water and nutrients from the soil.
Growing trees from seeds is a fascinating project for kids. It’s also meaningful, rewarding, and educational.
We planted all our sprouted seeds! Yep, we are growing a whole bunch of lemon trees. What’s notable, though, is that they are all growing at different rates depending on where my kids positioned them.
We are at a six-month mark right now, and our lemon trees continue to grow, getting taller and stronger.
We know that, eventually, our trees will start to flower. And if we put our pots outside, the flowers can get pollinated by bees or other insects, and from these pollinated flowers, lemons will start to grow! I will update here when that happens!
The science of growing
The science of growing is truly fascinating. You can easily unlock the world of botany for your kids with this simple science of growing lemon trees from seed!
It’s a fascinating process, starting from a tiny seed to a full-grown tree. And if you are patient enough, you can harvest lemons from your tree in about 5 years.
The journey from seed to plant is a miraculous and fascinating process of nature, driven mainly by the elements of water, air, soil, and sunlight.
The journey begins with a lemon seed, which is a little package of potential waiting to burst into life. Moisture and the dark, warm place create just the right environment for lemon seeds to sprout. The sprouted seeds can then be planted. It takes time and patience to see seeds grow into a tree, but it is a wonderful way to learn about the life cycle of plants.