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Mistakes I Have Made Growing Lemons, Limes, Kumquats , Mandarins, Australian Finger Limes and Kaffir Lime Trees: Part 1

Growing Citrus Tree Mistakes

One of the most important factors with regards to citrus tree planting is ensuring good root health.  There are multiple factors which affect this including proper soil, container size, avoiding any over or under watering, and proper nutrition.  Of course secondary problems like root rot because of fungal infections and other pathogens can affect your root system.

However, I believe that for the average gardener will face a much more significant issue when they transplant their tree.  Without proper planting into the initial pot, the roots will never go out into the soil and will not develop, this will lead to a stunted tree.

A stunted tree has characteristic signs and symptoms, it will not die, however it will sustain a prolonged state of smaller growth with occasional shoots of new leaves but without any vigorous growth.  Also if you pull on the base of the trunk of the tree anytime after a few weeks, it will easily pull up.  This is a clear sign that the tree never took proper root into the soil.  Unfortunately at this point, there is NO hope for the tree, it is best to discard of the tree and start over and not waste more time, that is why proper initial planting is so important!

I have planted many trees in my backyard in West Texas.  Unfortunately for myself, but fortunately for you I have made this mistake enough times that I thought it would be very important to share in this blog post!

Of course, when planting your new citrus tree you always want to have a proper size container, at least 5 gallons in size and have proper potting soil.  One tip is to always use new potting soil.  If you use old potting soil from a tree that was previously planted in the area, the dirt has become impacted around where the root was. Unless you fully take out the soil and break it all apart and then put it back in it will be very difficult for the roots to go into the new soil because it is not light and aerated.  So, I always recommend just using new potting soil. This is especially important to remember if you are replacing a tree.

Secondly, it is important to open up the root system of the new tree.  Use your fingers to pinch open the roots, this will help the roots have a proper orientation and surface area contact to grow into the pot.  However, do not strip the roots of all the soil, just pinch enough to loosen it.  Also if you keep the roots submerged in water, even overnight, this will kill your tree! Run some water into the tube if you are not ready to transplant, about 4 ounces a day and transplant as soon as possible!

Third, it is impossible to have good growth of a citrus tree if there is not proper depth to the container.  I have been tempted and have attempted to plant citrus trees into very nice decorative pots that were too shallow and short.  The way you can tell if it is too short is if you stand the cone onto the bottom of the pot, the height of the pot should be at least a bit taller than the plastic cone portion of the tree.  This is because the cone contains the roots of the tree and this soil must completely cover all of the roots and you should still be able to push in the roots slightly.  I have NEVER had a citrus tree do well in a container that was too shallow.  100% of these became stunted and a few months later I would pull on the base and there would easily pull up without any good root catching into the soil.

Fourth, push and make a hole into the center of the container with your plastic tube, this will create a perfect size planting hole for your tree.  When you plant your tree into the hole, give it a firm push and then gently push some soil around the top of the root system to really have it nice and covered.

Only plant one plant per container!  No negotiation on this!

Of course, maximize sunlight for your tree, use a grow light if you do not have access to a very warm window, or if your tree is not outdoors, protect it from cold. Water at the base of the trunk every day at least 1 gallon, for 1 month.

Afterwards, in about 2-3 weeks it is very satisfying to see new leaf/coming from your branches and trunk. At this time you can give a firm tug to the base of the trunk and it is also very satisfying to feel a very firm resistance, indicating that your root system is thriving in that you are doing a great job!

When you are at this point, you are well on your way to decades of harvest of delicious Meyer lemons, Eureka lemons, Kaffir limes, Persian limes, Australian finger lines, Calamondins, Kumquats, Rio Red Grapefruits, Pineapple oranges, Navel oranges, Valencia oranges and Blood oranges!

 

The History of the Meyer Lemon in America

The History of Meyer Lemons

Improved Meyer Lemon

Citrus x meyeri

The Meyer lemon represents a popular lemon variety in the United States and has a rich history. It is sweeter than other lemons even with an orange flavor. It is named after Frank Meyer, a plant explorer of the United States Department of Agriculture, in 1908.

Lemons from Meyer lemon trees are sweeter than other lemons, sometimes even taking on an orange-like aroma and flavor. This lemon is so named because they were identified in 1908 by Frank N. Meyer. It is thought to be a cross between a lemon, either Eureka or Lisbon, and a mandarin, that originated in China. The University of California-Riverside lists a biological and parentage in its citrus variety collection. http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/citrus/improvedmeyer.html

Meyer lemons are prized by Chefs and home cooks for certain recipes where a lesser acidic lemon is preferred. However, Martha Stewart, an American-business woman, and a TV personality popularized this variety in the United State through her dozens of recipes that contained Meyer lemon. https://www.marthastewart.com/1502543/meyer-lemons

Meyer lemon will grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

However, it can be grown in colder places as a container-grown plant. With more attention and proper pruning, it can be grown even in colder regions, especially when the tree is grafted on a cold-hardy rootstock.

Meyer lemons micro-budded on trifoliate rootstock made at US Citrus would make it a more appropriate for Meyer lemon enthusiasts even in colder places as in Canada as a well-protected patio-plant, kept indoor during severe winter.

A grafted Meyer lemon tree would grow with about six hours of sunlight.

Meyer lemon became popular in California by the mid-1940s. Two viruses, Citrus tristeza virus (CTV) and Citrus tatter leaf virus (CTLV) were found to be widespread in California Meyer lemon plantings. The University of California-Riverside scientists initiated a tissue culture program and the efforts of Dr. Chester N. Roistacher made a new selection of Meyer lemon free from virus infections. The new, improved selection is referred to as Improved Meyer lemon. http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/

All the Meyer lemons from US Citrus are also the improved version via the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center budwood program, initiated by the author of the article in the early 1990s. My gratitude to Chester Roistacher and Dr. John da Graca – two scientist that were involved in the citrus improvement program in Texas. http://citruscenter.tamuk.edu/

There are millions of Meyer lemon enthusiasts in the U.S. and worldwide. But not many Meyer lemon tree owners know that Frank N. Meyer who explored the wilderness of south China regions for the USDA lost his precious life in the waters of the Yangtze River. The Plant Genetics Resources has established a Distinctive Service Medal for Plant Genetic Resources as a tribute to Frank N. Meyer who served for 13 years as Agricultural Explorer of the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction. https://www.crops.org/awards/view/87

“It appears that Mr. Meyer while traveling down the Yangtze from Hankow to Shanghai on the S.S Feng Yang Maru of the Nisshin Kisen Kaisha was drowned near Wuhu.” - Excerpt from the American Consul in Charge, Shanghai, China, June 14, 1918.

-Mani Skaria, PhD

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.

Eight Steps to Growing Blood Oranges in Containers

How to Grow Blood Oranges in 8 Steps

The blood orange tree provides delicious, sweet oranges with a deep red hue to the flesh. This popular citrus fruit also offers pleasant overtones of fresh berries. Blood oranges are great for sauces and sorbets.

Blood Orange Fruit:

  • Named for its distinctively colored flesh, the blood orange’s red color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, the same antioxidant compounds found in purple grapes
  • Moro is the most popular variety of blood orange
  • Medium size fruit, with internal color from light orange-red to dark purple
  • Rich flavor, with a hint of berries
  • Easy to peel and usually seedless
  • The fruit requires cool night temperatures to develop. The fruit’s flesh may not darken as consistently in humid areas
  • The fruit matures typically from December to February
  • Some oranges may contain a low number of seeds, however, the juicy flesh and pleasant flavor is refreshing

Blood Orange Tree:

  • The blood orange tree is very easy to grow either indoors or outdoors.
  • cold hardy tree
  • It is a vigorous growing, medium size tree, with a tendency to bear in alternate years (heavy fruiting one year followed by light the next)
  • The perfect weather needed to produce the best blood oranges are warm days for sugars to form and cool nights for the color to develop

Where Will Blood Oranges Grow?

With proper care, a blood orange tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where they can be planted in 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 your blood orange tree in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

Growing Blood Oranges Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow blood oranges outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your tree in a container or pot. 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 enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Blood Orange 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.

You can keep any citrus fruit tree pruned back, but the Blood orange is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, While still producing an abundant harvest.

Step 1: Container for Blood orange trees

The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either 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 recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move with only one person. so we recommend 15 gallons as the sweet spot.

Step 2: Soil for Blood orange trees

Choosing soil for your Blood orange trees is simple. All you need is any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container gardening. 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 Blood orange trees

Watering is crucial, typically when citrus is planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Citrus 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 the 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 Blood Orange 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 not improve the condition of the tree obviously, and you will likely notice that the soil is waterlogged at this point.

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 Blood orange trees

Your Blood orange 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 and 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 when 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 Blood orange trees 

Sunlight is crucial to citrus trees, especially citrus being 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.

Blood Orange trees do 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 Blood orange trees

We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your blood orange tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. At this point, you can utilize 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. 

Blood orange actually needs cool temperatures at night to form its distinctive pigmentation. The areas with warm days and cool nights are referred to as the “Mediterranean climates”.

Step 7: Where do I buy my Blood orange tree?

First of all, if you live in the traditionally citrus producing 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 Blood oranges

Blood orange harvest season is winter to late spring.   

Eight Steps to Growing Navel Oranges in Containers

How to Grow Navel Oranges in 8 Steps

Love oranges, but unable to grow them outside in your area? Or do you prefer to grow an orange tree indoors rather than in an outdoor grove? Read on to find out how you can grow your own fresh and flavorful Navel oranges in a container or pot in just 8 steps.

About Navel Oranges

Navel oranges are the absolute finest oranges to eat. They're fresh, incredibly flavorful, and can be grown in containers with ease. Here are some more details about Navel orange fruit and trees:

Navel Orange Fruit: 

  • Classic Navel oranges are unmatched in rich flavor, with fine, juicy, sweet flesh, easy-to-peel and seedless
  • Develops a bright rind color
  • The most distinctive feature of navel oranges is the presence of a navel—a small and rudimentary secondary fruit embedded in the apex of the primary fruit
  • The juice can be enjoyed if consumed immediately, but unlike Valencia, the juice can turn bitter quickly
  • The fruit can be sensitive to weather changes, and blossoms can drop

Navel Orange Trees:

  • Medium to large trees
  • A rounded tree with deep green foliage
  • Umbrella-like foliage
  • Crops mature November to February

Where Do Oranges and Citrus Grow? 

With proper citrus care, having a citrus tree such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, navel orange or orange tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where oranges and other citrus fruit can be planted into the ground are limited to regions in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

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

Growing Navel Oranges Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow Navel oranges outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your orange 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 enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Navel Orange Trees in Pots

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

You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Navel orange is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

Here are 8 steps for growing navel orange trees in containers:

Step 1: Container for Navel Orange Trees

The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either 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 recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move with only one person. so we recommend 15 gallons as the sweet spot.

Step 2: Soil for Navel Orange Trees

Choosing soil for your Navel orange trees is simple. All you need is any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for orange tree container gardening. 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 Navel Orange Trees

Watering is crucial, typically when Navel orange trees are planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Navel orange 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 Navel Citrus 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 not improve the condition of the tree obviously, and you will likely notice that the soil is waterlogged at this point.

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 Navel Orange Trees

Your Navel orange 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 development of the root system, the color of the leaves, appropriate photosynthesis, the growth of the trunk of the tree, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in 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 Navel Orange Trees 

Sunlight is crucial to Navel orange 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.

A Navel orange tree 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 Navel Orange 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 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 Navel Orange 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, order your very own micro-budded navel orange tree for sale online right here at US Citrus! It's a fast-growing citrus tree that uses our patented micro-budding technology to bear fresh and juicy citrus fruit within the first 1-2 years.

Step 8: Harvesting Your Navel Oranges

This harvest season is winter to late spring.