dekopon: from a seed experiment

April 23, 2015

from a seedfrom a seedfrom a seedfrom a seedfrom a seedfrom a seedsumo orange seedfrom a seedThe Dekopon (known as “Sumo” in the grocery stores) is large, easy-to-peel, and sweet mandarin. They’re also nearly seedless. And, if you find a seed, that is the only legal way to grow them in California (unless you are one of a small number of commercial growers in California) at this point in time. As a result of this exclusivity, they cost $3+ per pound here in California.

Last year we bought a few in hopes of finding a seed. No such luck. This year was a different story… we found one! So, off to learning how to germinating citrus from a seed I went, and up the seedling has now risen! The last photo was taken 15 days after initiating the process.

Can’t wait to share more about our Dekopon seed experiment with you! -Ben


16 comments on “dekopon: from a seed experiment”

  • Yay how exciting it was meant to be!

  • heather says:

    This is so interesting! We LOVE sumos, although this year they seemed a little less amazing- maybe due to the drought, we guessed? I didn’t know the seeds were so rare and prized! Can’t wait to see what happens with yours! I’ll live vicariously through your experiment, since I don’t think we’d do too well with them in the midwest! 🙂

    • Rubyellen says:

      You have a sumo tree?! Oh man… jealous!!! I hope one day ours will bear lots of fruit like yours!

  • linda says:

    The kid in the video looks like he’s 12. Smart kid.

  • Cait says:

    How neat! Why is it the only legal way to grow them?

  • Vanessa says:

    This is really cool. My fingers are crossed for you!

  • Jo says:

    Oh, I’m so excited for you guys to try this! Those oranges are SO juicy and sweet! Yum!

    Thank you for sharing! I super look forward to the updates. 🙂

  • Thomas Moyers says:

    What source dI’d you obtain your seeds from? I want to grow some for my family to eat but Ive had no luck.

  • rick king says:


  • Steven says:

    I had about 10 growing and about 4 were stronger and then 2 and then 1 they got up to about 80mm high but all died so this year I will do more research on perfect conditions to grow mandarin trees from seed, I am about to go on my buying spree tomorrow if they are in yet, I eat alot of them about 5 to 10 per day so though out the season I get a few seeds, about 20 all up last year.

  • Lou Garavaglia says:

    I found eight seeds in a Sumo mid January. I did as above and got 6 to germinate. Of the six two of the seeds broke apart but are valiantly try to send up leaves. 1 is a little behind the curve but sent down a tap root so I’m pretty sure it will germinate. 3 have germinated and are about 1 1/2 in tall. I expect to get 4 seedlings out of this group.

    That said. they won’t exactly be true Sumo oranges. My understanding is that the only way to get seeds in a Sumo is to have a bee cross pollinate with some other mandarin. Assuming they live and given the way genetics works I will probably wind up with 4 slightly different kinds of oranges. With luck one will be a keeper.

  • MANNY ROMERO says:


  • I found three seeds in one Sumo. Planted all three, one plant is about 3 feet high, one is 12″ high and the other is about 3″ high. They all look healthy. Planted I think maybe January or February

  • Kyla says:

    My husband was lucky to have 10 seeds in one sumo and I planted all 10 of them. Out of the 10, I got 8 beautiful healthy seedlings and so excited to watch them grow! I am thinking about doing a website to share the rare growth of sumo seeds. If interested as I am just email me: [email protected]

  • Serena says:

    Hello!! I just saw that my seeds have sprouted in the ziplock/paper towels!! I can’t find anywhere online about what to do next, whether that be planting them in a small pot first and what to use, how much sun, what nutrients to use if any….please help! My bf and I are obsessed with sumos and have found seeds before and tried to do the same thing but this is the first time a seed has sprouted!! We found 5 in one sumo!! And 1 has sprouts!! So can you help?!? Please!!! I don’t want to keep it in the zip lock longer than I should so I hope I get a reply quick because I can’t find anywhere online about what to do next!!

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