Orange tree

Grow it in a pot or, if you’re lucky (meaning, ou live in a warm area), in the garden.
Common name : Orange tree
Scientific name : Citrus sinensis
Family : Rutaceae
Category : Fruit plants
Type of plant : Perennial
Cold-sensitive
Cold-sensitive
Sun loving
Sun loving
Edible
Edible
The orange tree is an evergreen, flowering tree, growing up to 9 to 10 m (30 to 33 ft) in the right conditions. Its oval leaves, alternately arranged, are 4 to 10 cm (1.6 to 3.9 in) long with crenulate margin. It can be grown as a houseplant in cold climates.

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 100 - 200
pH 6 - 7

Plant my orange tree

You will plant the orange tree potted, 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 at the bottom of the pot a thick layer of gravel or clay balls, equivalent to about 20% of the pot volume. Mix good soil, compost and medium-sized river sand. Spread a layer of this mixture at the bottom of the pot and place your orange tree there so that the graft point protrudes from the top of the pot. It should never be buried. Fill vacant spaces with the mixture and tamp around the foot. Sprinkle copiously to remove any air voids in the soil. Add some mixture on the top if necessary. In open soil, plant the orange tree in the sun, sheltered from the wind, preferably against a wall, in a light, quite acid and well drained soil. On the other hand, never try to cultivate it indoors, it does not support the warmth of our insides.

Water my orange tree

Did you know? The orange 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 orange tree

A potted orange 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 orange tree

Starting in autumn, bring in the pots. Have your potted orange 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 orange tree

Take out your orange 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 orange tree

If your orange 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 orange tree

The orange tree'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 orange tree

Cut the orange tree to obtain more ramifications for a more compact and less spready habit. In the early years, cut each new stem once it has finished growing - the new leaves are darker and hardened - leaving only 20 cm long. One pruning is adviced per month, from May to September, until the calamondin has taken shape. Subsequently, one pruning per year will suffice, at the end of the winter. Dead and diseased branches and overlapping branches should be removed to open the plant and allow light to go through it.

Check on my orange tree

Watch over your orange 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 orange 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 orange tree

Native to tropical regions where the rainfall reaches up to 2000 mm / year, the orange tree likes a soil always fresh but well drained. Its roots are mostly superficial, and it does not appreciate the presence of herbs or other plants that compete with him. Mulch, to avoid having to weed, and to keep the roots cool! Pine spines or cocoa barks will suit it perfectly.

Reap my orange tree

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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