Mandarin

Did you know? The reason for the name "mandarin" is not clear - it may relate to the yellow colour of some robes worn by mandarin dignitaries.
Common name : Mandarin
Scientific name : Citrus reticulata
Family : Rutaceae
Category : Fruit plants
Type of plant : Perennial
Cold-sensitive
Cold-sensitive
Sun loving
Sun loving
Edible
Edible
The mandarin orange is a small citrus tree with fruit resembling other oranges, but smaller and oblate, rather than spherical like the common oranges. It is a mid-sized tree, usually not exceeding 4 m (13 ft) in height, with small leaves shiny and green and flowers borne singly or in small groups. The plant is sensitive to prolonged and/or extreme cold and is therefore limited outdoors to tropical, sub-tropical and the warmer parts of warm temperate climates. In regions with cooler climates, potted plants are brought into a greenhouse, conservatory, or indoors as a houseplant during the winter periods.

Sowing & planting

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

Flowering

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

Harvestint

J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D

Caracteristics

Exposition
Water needs
Granulométrie plants.granulometry_4
Frost-resistance Medium
Zone USDA 9a
Height 200 - 600
pH 6 - 7

Identify my mandarin

The mandarin tree, Citrus reticulata, is a small tree species of the family Rutaceae, grown in the Mediterranean and subtropical regions for its fruit. The clementine is an hybrid of mandarin, it owes its name to the brother Clement who would have created it in 1892 crossing a mandarin with a bitter orange. Attention: to be able to keep it in the temperate regions, it is necessary to shelter it in winter in a cold greenhouse, ie in a bright place but whose temperature is around 8 to 12 °! In our overheated interiors, it is not ideal for him.

Plant my mandarin

You will plant the mandarin tree in a pot, except in a really mild climate. Choose a large vat or a pot preferably made of terracotta pierced at its bottom to ensure proper evacuation of water. Place in the bottom of the pot a thick layer of gravel or clay balls equivalent to about 20% of the volume of the pot. Make a mix of good potting soil, compost and medium-sized river sand. Spread a layer of this mixture in the bottom of the pot and place your philotheca so that the graft point slightly exceeds the surface of the pot because it should never be buried. Fill vacant spaces with the mixture and tamp around the foot. Sprinkle copiously to remove any air bubbles in the soil. Add some mixture if necessary on the surface. In open soil, plant in full sun, sheltered from the wind, ideally against a wall, in a light, neutral soil or a little acid and well drained. On the other hand, never try to cultivate it indoors, it does not support the heat of the apartments.

Water my mandarin

Did you know? The mandarin tree has a particular language to explain to you if it is thirsty! Leaves pointed upward signify that it doesn't have enough water. On the other hand, leaves pointed downward means that there's an excess of water! That said, during good weather, an outside potted lemon is subject to a high level of evaporation: it therefore must be watered very regularly during this season for optimal growth. The mixture should never completely dry between two watering in summer, but water should never stagnate in the container. In winter, water even more steadily as long as the tree is bearing fruit — after, you can reduce to just once a month, leaving the substrate slightly dry between two waterings.

Repot my mandarin

A potted mandarin tree needs regular provisions to stay in shape! Repot in spring about every 2 to 3 years by changing the substrate as much as possible to a potting soil specially for citrus fruit or planting. Ensure that the bottom of the pot has a hole - add some gravel to the bottom for drainage.

Shelter my mandarin

Starting in autumn, bring in the pots. Have your potted tangerine tree spend winter in a bright frost-free spot: the ideal temperature is between 8 and 12°C - definitely not in your living room or else resign yourself to living in these temperatures. During winter, keep watering your tree as long as it is still bearing fruit, then you can space out the watering, letting the substrate dry slightly between them.

Put outside my mandarin

Take out your mandarin tree in pot for the summer, from May. Find a spot in full sun, but sheltered from the wind that dries its leaves!

Protect my mandarin

If your mandarin tree is planted in open soil, but you fear a possible frost, don't hesitate to cover its base with a good layer of dead leaves for the harshest weeks. Also wrap the stem in a thick mat (woven bulrush, cane, rye or rice straw...), held by ties. You can also cover the foliage with a wintering cover.

Fertilize my mandarin

The mandarin's love of water accelerates soil leaching: therefore, it really must be fertilized — especially for potted lemons! For a plentiful harvest, regularly provide a fertilizer rich in nitrogen and lye — you can find fertilizers appropriate for citrus fruit in stores or try with a compost. In winter, reduce the provisions to once a month. In spring, start back up with a frequency of once every two weeks.

Prune my mandarin

Trim your mandarin tree to encourage more offshoots for a more compact and less spread out habit. For the first years, cut each new stem once the growth is finished — the new leaves will be darker and tougher — leaving it at a length of 20 cm. The mandarin tree is pruned once a month from May to September until the lemon has taken its shape. Thereafter, only one pruning per year is necessary at the end of winter. Remove dead or diseased branches as well as those that overlap to open up the plant and let light in.

Check on my mandarin

Watch over your mandarin tree in winter: if the leaves darken, it's a cold spell, and if they lighten, it's a lack of fertilizer! The lemon can also have other troubles: Aphids are seen with the naked eye under the leaves near the veins. Spray the leaves with soapy water or a mixture of water and olive oil which will additionally nourish your plant. Scale insects enclose themselves in a brown shell or under a white coating on the back of the leaf against the main vein and excretes honeydew which will attract fungi. Is the mandarin tree's foliage faded? Its green is becoming a silver gray? Small spider webs are forming at the ends of the leaves? Your lemon has been attacked by red spiders. Between the scale insects and red spiders, you can moisten the foliage as a precaution several times a week with soften and unbleached water.

Mulch my mandarin

Mandarin trees like a soil always fresh but well drained. Their roots are mostly superficial, and they do not appreciate the presence of herbs or other plants that compete with them. Mulch, to avoid weedings, and to keep the roots cool! Pine spines made mulch will suit kumquats perfectly, but dried mowing residues will also do the trick!

Reap my mandarin

The harvest takes place from November to March. Thus, the fruits often ripen inside. Keep the ground slightly damp until you pick the last fruit.

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