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How to Care for a Calamondin Tree

Calamondin Tree

Are you growing a calamondin tree in your yard? If so, read on to learn how to care for a calamondin tree.

Citrus trees offer their own unique beauty: white flowers, lush leaves, and bright fruit. However, they tend to need special care.

Is a calamondin tree gracing your home, or are you hoping to get one? Then you'll want to know how to care for it and keep it thriving. With the right care, these trees won't just beautify your space: they'll also produce useful fruit. 

Ready to learn all about calamondin tree care? Read on to find out how to make that tree thrive!

What is a Calamondin Tree?

Calamondin trees are also known as miniature orange trees and are usually used for decorative purposes. Like orange trees, they have white blossoms and produce orange-colored fruits. Many people love them for their delicately-scented flowers, and tart, small fruits.

Unlike some citrus varieties, these trees are often grown inside. Since they're small, they're easy to manage. However, if you live in the right climate, they can also be grown outdoors. These trees thrive in direct sun, or partial shade. 

Basic Calamondin Tree Care

Now, let's take a look at what these trees need to grow well, indoors or out.

Planting

First, as with all trees, the way you plant a calamondin matters. You'll start with a young plant from a nursery.

If you want the challenge of growing it to fruition, opt for one that's a year old or less. You'll need to care for it for a while before it starts flowering. But if you want flowers and fruit right away, get a tree that's already a couple years old.

If you plant it inside, make sure to use a big enough container. Make sure the pot is plenty big for the ball of roots and has enough drainage. If you plant it outside, you'll need a hole that's properly sized. Don't dig down too deep, as this can cause the roots to rot. 

Feeding

Your calamondin tree also needs nourishment.

When you plant it, use a mixture of one part organic compost, one part potting soil, and one part vermiculite. Place it where it gets full or mostly-full sun for the best results. 

You can fertilize the soil regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer. Use full-strength in the growing season, and half-strength in the winter. 

Caring

With proper placement and feeding, your tree will start to thrive.

To care for it, make sure to water it regularly to keep the soil damp. If the plant is outdoors, you'll probably need to water it more often.

If you harvest fruit or flowers, use scissors so you won't damage the plant. You should also prune away any branches that die or show signs of disease. Clean the dust off the leaves regularly so mites can't infest the tree. 

What to Do with Calamondin Citrus Fruits

Soon, your calamondin tree will be thriving. Now, all that's left to do is enjoy the harvest!

The fruits look like tangerines but taste much more tart. You'll want to use them as you would a lime or a lemon since they're too sour to be eaten straight. 

After you successfully keep a calamondin tree growing, you might want to try your green thumb with other citrus trees. Check out our selection of trees for sale here!

Eight Steps to Growing Calamondin Oranges in Containers

How to Grow Calamondin Oranges

An ornamental tree, with heavy bearing fruit. This fun variety's fruit can be popped in one's mouth and eaten rind and all! 

Calamondin Fruit

Features of the Calamondin fruit:

  • One of the best indoor growing varieties, this citrus variety is a kumquat and mandarin hybrid.
  • Seedy, thin-skinned, small, and round, with a tart flavor.
  • Excellent for making marmalade.
  • The fruit has an edible rind and a more sweet flesh than the tart Kumquat.
  • Highly valued in the Asian community, especially as gifts for Chinese New Year.
  • The fruit is bright orange-red, and often borne in clusters.

Calamondin Tree

Features of the Calamondin tree:

  • The tree is compact, finely textured with small leaves.
  • A cold-hardy tree that also makes an excellent indoor container plant.
  • Vigorous bearing variety, with year-round fruit production.

Where Will Calamondin Grow? 

With proper care, a calamondin tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States for citrus to be planted into the ground are limited to areas in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting Calamondin in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

Growing Calamondin Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow Calamondin outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

Another option, which we recommend, are fabric smart pots. While they do not have holes, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Calamondin Trees in Pots

The actual planting process of our trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil, watering and fertilizing schedules.

While you can keep any citrus tree pruned back, Calamondin tree is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, still producing an abundant harvest.

Step 1: Container for Calamondin trees

The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either by being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommendation being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move by only one person.

Step 2: Soil for Calamondin trees

Choosing soil for your Calamondin trees is simple. You could use any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil for container growing. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

Step 3: Watering for Calamondin trees

Watering is crucial, typically when citrus is planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Calamondin trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

Overwatering Your Potted Calamondin Tree

Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will only adversely affect the plant as it is not changing the condition that led to the yellow and sad looking leaves.

Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

Step 4: Fertilizer for Calamondin trees

Your Calamondin  tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

These machinations are very important for the color of the leaves, development of the root system, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit respectively and appropriate photosynthesis, the growth of the trunk of the tree in general. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed in much smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

Fertilizer Schedule

Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3+

 

 

 

Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

5

7

9

 Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

10

14

18

Step 5: Sunlight for Calamondin trees 

Sunlight is crucial to calamondin trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

Calamondin does best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

Step 6: Winter Protection for Calamondin trees

We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your citrus tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. This point you can utilize a grow lights for continued growth.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

Step 7: Where do I buy my Calamondin tree?

First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your citrus tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

Otherwise go to uscitrus.com and buy your tree today!

Step 8: Harvesting your Calamondins

When the fruit becomes larger and orange and the peel a little less firm, you are ready to harvest! It is advised to use a clipper and clip the fruit rather than pulling it from the tree. This will allow harvest of the intact fruit and longer shelf life. This tree is a heavy cropper and will produce multiple times per year.