If you love the sweetness and juicy burst of citrus fruits, you might think of growing orange tree in your backyard. There’s nothing that beats the taste of fresh fruit. Oranges are typically grown in subtropical regions, but they can be grown in cooler areas.
Citruses can be grown in containers as well. This article tells you everything about growing oranges.
Kinds Of Orange Trees
Most citrus plants are self-fertile, so you don’t have to grow more than one crop to get the desired yield.
If you want a tree that can withstand extreme temperatures, Hamlin is the orange tree for you. They have limited seeds and thin skin and are the best choice for juicing and general consumption. The trees grow up to be about 14 feet, and the juicy flavor is beloved.
Hamlin can grow in temperatures as low as 18°F or -7.7 ℃. It is not ideal to be grown in a container.
Valencia grows up to reach 10-15 feet tall. They are very juicy and do not take up a lot of space. These oranges are ideal for making juices.
3. Moro Blood Orange
Blood oranges are a popular choice to grow in one’s backyard. They are ideal for eating and juicing. When grown outdoors, it can grow up to 15 feet. It grows in deserts and coastal regions. It can also be grown as a patio shrub.
4. Honey Bells
Honeybells are a mixture of a tangerine and a super sweet grapefruit. They are only available for a brief time and are sent around the country. The trees need to be pre-ordered, and the fruits fall off on their own when they become ripe.
5. Washington Navel
These oranges are the most popular store-bought oranges. This orange is sweet, seedless, and perfect to eat. These trees are the ideal choice to pick off the tree. The trees reach a height between 10-20 feet. Dwarf trees can be grown in containers.
How To Grow Oranges In Your Orchard
Growing oranges can be a fruitful investment for your household. The fruits are delicious and sell well. Unfortunately, the trees are not cold-hardy and do not typically tolerate temperatures under 45℉. Therefore, you have to pick a variety that is cold-hardy to be able to tolerate cold temperatures.
1. Soil Requirement For Oranges
Oranges ideally grow in warm temperatures in soil that has rich organic matter. You should mix the soil with compost so the crop gets the necessary nutrients it needs. The soil should be well-draining and loamy. It should have a pH between 6.0-7.5.
2. Where To Plant Orange Trees
Finding the right spot to grow the oranges is crucial. Orange trees require a location that obtains efficient sunlight between spring to fall and is well protected from the wind. A few types of oranges also require adequate shade.
Orange trees also need to be moved into a greenhouse during winter unless you live in a region with sufficient sunlight in winters. If you choose to grow multiple trees on your property, make sure you plant them in rows 16 feet apart.
3. When To Plant Orange Trees
If you live in an area situated between California to Florida, You can grow citrus trees in any season. However, if you do not live in these regions, the ideal time to grow oranges is in the spring after the possibility of frost has gone away.
4. How To Plant Orange Trees
Planting your new trees should be done in late winter or early spring, subject to external temperatures. It is best to make sure that the temperatures do not decrease 45℉ for different kinds.
You can start planting them in your garden using the seeds or buying a new tree from a nursery. If you decide to buy a shrub, plant them on a deeper soil level than its box. Make sure to check the root ball when replanting.
You can also save up the seeds after you’ve eaten your fruit and plant those seeds after soaking them overnight. You can then plant them ½ an inch deep in regular potting soil. Cover the pot in a plastic bag and place it in a sunny area until the seeds become a sapling.
The only drawback is that the plant can take years to give a yield.
5. Growing An Orange Tree In Containers
Growing an orange in a container is doable. This means you can grow an orange tree pretty much anywhere you live. For example, you can move the orange tree into a greenhouse or heated areas during winters.
Pick a container that can hold up to 20-gallons of potting soil. They need to be given enough space to grow to be able to develop correctly.
How To Care For Oranges In Your Orchard
Here are a few guidelines to take care of your orange trees.
1. Watering Your Orange Tree
The amount of water your plants get will depend on the climate and annual rainfall. Remember to give your orange tree enough moisture to prevent it from wilting regularly. Fledglings need to be watered every three days to a week. Water it less frequently but with more depth.
Orange trees require about 1-1.5 inches of water every week. Water helps increase the juiciness of the fruit. How deep you plant the orange tree affects the amount of water it’ll need.
2. Feeding Your Citrus Trees
Many trees, including an orange tree, require nutrient-rich balanced fertilizers to promote suitable development. The ideal times to feed your plants are spring and summer. Make sure to pay attention to yellowed leaves as they indicate nutrient deficiencies.
In case this happens, fertilize before you water it. If your orange tree is in a container, it will need additional citrus-based fertilizer as it doesn’t have the ground to pull nutrients from.
3. Don’t Mulch Your Trees
Mulch does not benefit citrus trees. If there is mulch in the area where you plant the trees, make sure that the mulch is about 12 inches away from your tree trunk.
4. Pruning Your Trees
All trees need pruning. Spring and summer are the ideal seasons to prune an orange tree. Pruning a tree helps shape it and encourages a vigorous growth cycle.
Common Pests And Diseases
Like every shrub and tree, orange and citrus trees also suffer from pests and diseases.
1. Citrus Canker
Citrus canker is a bacterial infection that results in yellow lesions on the fruit, leaves, and twigs. If the disease worsens, it can lead to leaf loss, mottled fruit, and the eventual death of the citrus tree. The infection can spread through air currents, insects, and birds.
The best way to remove the infection is through a fungicide. But trees typically die before detection of the bacteria.
2. Greasy Spot
This is a fungal disease that can cause yellowish-brown blister spots on the underside of the leaves. If the infection worsens, it can cause the blisters to have an oily look. This can, in turn, result in leaf loss.
The only way to stop this from spreading more is by removing the affected leave and spraying it with fungicide.
3. Root Rot
The signs that your tree or plant has root rot or collar rot are the brownish patches on the trunk. Root rot is a fungal infection that’s caused by fungi in the soil.
The brown patches can spread and help the disease progress faster. It can also cause the bark to crack and dry out and cause the fruit to decay. To prevent further spread, get rid of the affected leaves and fruits. It would help if you also were pruning the lower branches to be at least 2 feet above the ground.
Aphids are dangerous as they can damage the growth of an orange tree by sucking the nutrients from the leaves. The symptoms of aphids are lower leaves with have multiple puckered marks and the twisting of the leaves. The bottom of the leaves will also be dripping.
You can prevent aphids with organic insecticides rather than chemical insecticides. You should spray all the detectible areas and the base of the leaves.
5. Citrus Whitefly
This is an insect that is about 1/12th an inch and is found on the base of the leaves. You can see how many there are if you shake the branches. They lay their eggs on the bottom and suck the nutrition from the leaves. The leaves curl and eventually get covered in mold.
Insecticides and netting are the best way to control pests.
6. Citrus Thrips
Thrips are tiny orange insects that love destroying new leaves and fruits in the spring. When your orange tree has thrips, the leaf buds wither, and the leaves become distorted. It can also cause blemished fruits that are silver in color or streaked.
Treating the trees with a Spinosad spray for 2-3 weeks to completely rid your tree of the infection.
Companion Planting For An Orange Tree
It can be hard to practice complementary planting when dealing with trees, but this process becomes easier when your tree is in a container. Unfortunately, oranges love nutrients, so they do not always prefer companions. But there are a few possible companions.
These companions include lavender, garlic, dill, lemon balm, and marigold. Other plants that you can grow alongside oranges are fennel, yarrow, nasturtium, and clover. Unfortunately, crops like sweet potatoes, sorghum, corn, or cowpeas are not good companion crops.
Orange trees need an abundance of sunlight to develop properly. So when the trees are grown outdoors, they should be grown in a sunny spot. The tree will grow up to be 22 feet if it’s standard. Dwarf trees grow up to about 12 feet tall.
Growing oranges and having a citrus tree at home is much simpler than having to go fruit shopping. When planting an orange tree, keep them away from other plants to have adequate space and not intrude on your neighbors or the other crops in the garden.
The orange trees fruit bearing time is dependent on the external climate. The average fruit-bearing time is 3-6 years old. After that, oranges don’t tend to ripen together, and you’ll have to continue harvesting. The oranges take about eight months to mature completely.
The self-harvesting organs tend to fall off the branches once they ripen. The others need to be handpicked. You can pick fruit off the orange tree when it’s reached a rich color and has ripened fully.
Cut the fruits off with pruning shears and pluck the fruit stalk. Once the oranges have been picked, you can store them at a cool temperature to get the desired results.
Various factors affect the development of an orange tree. This guide has simple and quick tips to get the best out of your tree. When growing an orange tree, the basic steps to follow are to make sure it gets enough moisture and the roots have room to grow.
When replanting a sapling, make sure the root ball is intact, and plant it where it gets enough sun and is away from the wind. Enjoying a healthy orange is easy when you have an orange tree in your yard.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.