Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration




Planting Orange Seeds


Included are goals, observations and instructions. This activity can be done anytime of  the year.


  • Sensory stimulation
  • Reminiscing
  • Promote positive feelings
  • Social interaction

This activity was done for a "tropical vacation" theme at a nursing home. I went to a grocery store to look for tropical fruits that could be planted from seed. I bought avocados, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. Before the activity, I made a beautiful display of fruit on the table and chopped up some of the fruit for everyone to sample. As participants entered the room they saw the bright coloured fruit and smelled the citrus. No one had ever planted fruit seeds; this was a new experience for everyone. The idea of growing fruit was intriguing and some were doubtful it would work. Experience has shown me that this is really easy to do and very successful. I was looking forward to seeing the doubtful people surprised when the sprouts emerge from the soil.


  • Peel open the oranges and pick out seeds.
  • Fill 6 inch plastic pots is with potting soil
  • Plant 4-6 seeds 1-2 inches deep in soil in each pot.
  • Pat soil firmly and gently water
  • Keep soil moist and don't allow to dry out
  • It may take over a month before you see sprouts
  • Transplant each seedling into 6 inch plastic pots when they are 2-3 inches tall
  • Provide as much sun as possible and don't allow the soil to dry out.

Before we began looking for seeds I gave everyone the opportunity to sample some of the fruit. This gave the group the opportunity to discuss:

  • "I remember eating fresh pineapple in Hawaii."
  • "I have never had avocado before; it doesn't have much taste and the texture is unusual."
  • "I prefer Naval Oranges; they are juicy and sweet"

After sampling the fruit we focused our attention on looking for seeds. Everyone was able to find a 4-6 orange seeds. We then cleared the table to set up for planting.

  • "If all of these seeds grow then we could sell them"
  • "We could start our own orchard"
  • "Oranges can't grow outside in Ontario all year round"
  • "Will they ever grow fruit?"
  • "The seeds are slimy and a little difficult to pick up"

This was an enjoyable activity because it enhanced their sense of imagination and curiosity. They lovingly teased each other as they talked about starting an orchard or selling them for profit. An orange tree grown from seed makes a beautiful houseplant and a great conversation piece. Try it out the next time you find seeds in your orange or grapefruit. Enjoy!

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix



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