Growing Orange trees: all things that you need to know

Orange is a Citrus family plant and one of the most commonly cultivated fruits in the world. They thrive better in a warm climate. Like any other citrus fruit, growing orange trees is easy. The orange tree is a low maintenance plant and it is possible to grow them indoor, in small spaces or even inside a greenhouse.

If you are planning to grow your own orange trees for an endless supply of fresh orange juice, here are some essential things you should know about growing orange trees.

orange juice growing orange trees
Image by Pixabay

Where do orange trees grow?

Orange trees grow almost anywhere but they grow better in places with warm weather. They thrive in temperatures between 55 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit and survive at 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter season.

If the weather is colder where you live, it is best to keep the tree indoor to protect it from frost. And take them outside when it’s warmer.

When is the best time to plant orange trees?

An orange tree can be planted all year round. However, it is advisable to plant them at the beginning of spring. This gives the tree enough time to acclimatize before winter.   

How long does it take for an orange tree to bear fruit?

orange tree
Image by Pixabay

The orange tree produces fruits depending on your planting process.  A tree grown from seeds might take up to 15 years to produce fruits. Buying tree from a local nursery and transferring the plant to your garden might take between 3-4 years. And grafting orange tree from rootstock might only take 3 years to start bearing fruits.

What type of soil is best for orange trees?

Citrus fruits survive better in the slightly acidic soil. For orange trees, a soil pH (level of acidity) of 6.0 to 7.5 is recommended.

What kind of fertilizer to use on orange trees?

Slightly nitrogen rich or balance NPK fertilizers are great for orange trees and other citrus trees.

How long does an orange tree live for?

An orange tree can live between 50-100 years when given proper care. Citrus trees, including orange, are known for long life span and it’s not uncommon to hear orange trees that live more than a hundred years.

How do you plant an orange tree?

There are 3 ways to plant an orange tree.

1. Grafting or budding orange tree

Grafting is a horticultural process wherein two plants are joined together to grow as one. Scion – which is the upper part of the plant – is attached to the lower portion of the plant known as rootstock. Horticulturists use this process when it is impossible to grow a plant through seeds.

Budding, on the other hand, is a form of grafting best suited for citrus trees like orange. You can do this if you already have orange trees in your backyard and you want to plant more trees. Or if you have a neighbor who is willing to give you scion and rootstock for budding. Some local nurseries might be able to help you graft materials as well.

  • Select a healthy orange tree that you wish to cultivate.
  • Prepare the scion and rootstock. Remove any leaves or torn on the branch.
  • Using a knife, make a one-inch vertical cut on the rootstock and at the bottom of the cut, make a horizontal cut. Try to avoid cutting the entire branch. This should create an inverted “T” on the rootstock.
  • Cut a one-inch bark from a budded twig or scion.
  • Insert the bark in the rootstock “T” cut.
  • Wrap the graft for 30 days.

To learn more about grafting orange tree, you can check this tutorial video.

2. Using seeds

bowl of oranges
Image by Wikimedia

Using the seed is the traditional way of planting orange trees. However, keep in mind that it takes years to see the tree grows if you choose to start from the beginning. Success rate of planting orange tree is also lower if you use seeds and especially if you are a beginner. It is more challenging to grow trees from seeds as it is more susceptible to diseases. Also, even if the seeds might come from a good orange fruit, it doesn’t guarantee that it will produce the same result.

  • Buy healthy orange fruits in the supermarket. Make sure the orange fruits are not seedless.
  • Cut the orange carefully and avoid cutting the seeds. Select the undamaged seeds once you’re done.
  • Wash the seeds to remove any fungus or mold spores. Then soak the seeds in the water for 24 hours. Do not soak it longer than 24 hours.
  • Drain the water and transfer it to a prepared pot or containers.
  • Make sure the pot has good drainage holes and you put it in a place where it can get a constant supply of sunshine.
  • Water the seeds once to twice a week or once the soil starts to become dry.

3. Buying a tree from local nurseries

This is probably the easiest way to grow an orange tree. If you are not confident to do grafting or use seeds, then buying a tree from local nurseries is a good option. However, this doesn’t mean that the tree will just produce fruits on its own. An aftercare still remains important for your orange trees.

  • Citrus trees are not a fan of overwatering or underwatering. It is important to water the orange trees once or twice a week. Keep in mind that the goal is to preserve the soil from drying. So, adjust your watering schedule accordingly
  • The orange tree is sensitive to cold.  Try to place them where it can get sunlight for at least 8 hours. Keep them indoor if the temperature is colder.
  • Add fertilizers as needed.

 

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