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Orange Trees

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 26 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Orange Trees Growing Oranges Origins Of

Orange trees originally come from China but have been grown in Europe and North America for over 100 years. Orange trees are now grown all over the world for their delicious and nutritious fruit. There are many varieties to choose from, including Jaffa oranges, Navel oranges and Blood oranges. Many orange trees can be grown in the UK, under cover such as in a conservatory or greenhouse. They are not hard trees to grow in the UK as long as they are looked after properly.

About Orange Trees
Orange trees are evergreen (they don’t lose their leaves in autumn). They grow up to 8-15m. high if given the right conditions. Their leaves are dark green and waxy and their flowers are white and delicately scented. The fruits take up to six months to reach their full size and ripen, but are well worth the wait. Once they are ripe, they can be eaten straight from the tree, or left on the branch until you’re ready to eat them. They retain their flavour this way, where as if you plucked them from the tree and stored them, their flavour would diminish.

Growing Orange Trees
Orange trees are best grown in a large pot full of rich, organic matter. They suit a well-lit position, free from draughts. For smaller trees, a windowsill is ideal, and larger plants will benefit from a humid greenhouse or conservatory environment. In the summer months, stand them in a dish of wet gravel or mist them with water every day to encourage humidity, and place them outside if it is warm enough – they love to be outside. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 4°C, however, so I you live in the south and they are in a sheltered spot, you may be able to keep them outside throughout the year. Cover them with thick layer of fleece, so any frost can’t get to them.

Tips for Growing Orange Trees:
  • If kept indoors throughout the year, remove dust from their leaves regularly, so the plant can breathe
  • Ensure temperatures in your conservatory or greenhouse don’t get too high
  • Keep your orange tree away from radiators as they can put the trees under stress
  • Keep them cool, but protected from frost during winter – this mimics their natural growing conditions
  • Water less during winter but don’t let the pot dry out completely, and increase the amount in spring
  • Check the soil before you water the tree – too much water can kill them
  • Feed weekly during the summer with a special citrus tree fertiliser – this gives them all he nutrients they are used to absorbing in their natural conditions. An organic alternative is a seaweed solution
  • Top up the soil in the pot every spring with fresh compost
  • Prune branches to 10-15cm long in February to keep the tree compact and healthy
Flowers and Fruit
Orange trees will normally flower in May, but if grown indoors they can flower at all times of the year, even December. They are self-pollinating (you will only need one tree to produce fruit) but very few of the flowers will turn into fruit, and you will find that many of the young fruit drops from the tree at various stages of their growth. Misting the flowers daily, however, will prevent this from happening.

As the fruit develops it will get larger and larger, and start to turn orange around Christmas time. It is thought that the cold weather acts as a trigger for the colouring of the fruit.

Orange Trees and Leaf Drop
Some leaf drop is normal but if large numbers of leaves fall check to see if the soil is too dry. Water well and mist the plant every day to increase humidity. Too much water can be fatal though, so if the compost is very moist, let it dry out before watering again. Make sure the tree gets plenty of light, as this can encourage the leaves to drop also.

Orange Trees and Pests
The most common pests to affect orange trees are aphids and mealy bugs. They will hide under the leaves and in the stems of the tree and suck out the sap from the leaves and the fruit. Mealy bugs leave little deposits all over the plant that look like cotton wool, and both pests will secrete a sappy substance, which covers the leaves. This can potentially kill the plant as the substance stops the leaves from being able to breathe properly, and a sticky black soot can form on them, preventing any light from reaching the leaves.

The best way to deal with aphids and mealy bugs is to wash them off the leaves and stems and regularly inspect the tree for signs of them. You will also need to sponge down the leaves to remove the sappy secretion and black soot, so they can breathe properly. If you do resort to chemical sprays you will still need to remove the pests from the tree and wash it down, so it’s easier to leave the sprays and deal with the problem naturally (this will also help the plant recover more quickly).

Pests are not very common on citrus trees, however, so you shouldn’t have too many problems. If you do have to deal with an infestation, all your hard efforts will be worth it when you get your first taste of a delicious orange, plucked straight from the tree.

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help! my blood orange tree dried up completelybut every tree and bush around it is green can I still save it and how?
rache - 10-Jun-16 @ 7:18 PM
Hi wondering some one can s Suggest me to save my citrus plant.i planted them in ground about couple of weeks ago.but I notice some thing was eating leaves n flowers.so I used bug spray.there were like spot black thing on my plant.but didn't really help.so I used some other black fly spray.now I notice leaves n specify the flowers changed the colors thy gone cream color n thy half of them came off from the plant. Wondering if some one can suggest to save my plant plz. Thanks in advance.
ambar - 17-Apr-16 @ 12:10 PM
My blood orange tree (4 yrs) has also dropped all its leaves. I live in the San Joaquin Valley of California where the temp. In winter gets below 0. My citrus tree have been covered since Jan. With burlap to keep them from freezing. The temp has risen now to between between 78 degrees, with a low of 52 degrees. We have removed the covers from the trees 2 weeks ago. The tree at that time had buds all over it, although it seemed a little dry. So I watered it. This morning I looked at it and found that all the leaves have dropped off, but all the buds have remained. What should I do ?
Charlie - 2-Apr-16 @ 11:36 PM
I have a orange tree in my back yard. I want to know if its a regular orange tree or a ornemental orange tree. I opened a orange up and inside was fruit! But it was sour, not ransid more like a lemon. Ive never fertilized or taken care of it in any way other then water. I live in Phx arizona.
Howie - 28-Mar-16 @ 6:27 AM
I've owned a calamondin orange tree houseplant for 8 years now, and now I have a multi stemmed that is several inches tall now.Should I prune the other stem off or leave it and allow the plant to have two stems.Also, would spritzing with water on the leaves on a daily basis be a good idea as well?
Cinderfella - 25-Mar-16 @ 6:56 AM
kneadflour - Your Question:
I have owned my home for twelve years. On the property are five fruit tree: Navel orange, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, and Valencia oranges. This year for the first time, something is eating the Navel oranges right off the tree by making a one inch by two inch slit in the peel and eating the flesh clean to the rind. early in the season the fruit was eaten while still on the tree and now that the stem loosen easily I am finding the hollowed out peels on the ground. What can do this? There are now over fifty oranges lost to this varmint. Not only am I loosing good fruit, this varmint is in my yard often enough and long enough to eat the fruit on my property. Any idea what could do this?

Our Response:
This seems indicitive of rattus rattus, which unfortunately love oranges. These black rats (also known as roof rats) cleverly pierce the skin to make the small hole and take out all the flesh, and as you say, leave the hollowed out peel behind. The problem with these rats is they are likely to live off your property and build their nests in higher locations - do you have any abandoned outhouses etc nearby? I suggest you call a pest control company who can advise further.
FruitExpert - 3-Mar-16 @ 11:30 AM
I have owned my home for twelve years. On the property are five fruit tree: Navel orange, grapefruit, lemons, peaches, and Valencia oranges. This year for the first time, something is eating the Navel oranges right off the tree by making a one inch by two inch slit in the peel and eating the flesh clean to the rind. early in the season the fruit was eaten while still on the tree and now that the stem loosen easily I am finding the hollowed out peels on the ground. What can do this? There are now over fifty oranges lost to this varmint. Not only am I loosing good fruit, this varmint is in my yard often enough and long enough to eat the fruit on my property. Any idea what could do this?
kneadflour - 2-Mar-16 @ 2:59 PM
Hi, Bought several varieties of citrus, ( lemon, lime and 4 different orange) last year, from outside garden centre.. and they have all taken well.. (I live in Tarragona, Catalunya. But tho got lots of buds and even tiny oranges on the one tree, all of a sudden the tiny pea size oranges were gone? Would that be birds? Worse problem now is, losing all the leaves on all the trees. No leaves on the floor, its like someone is coming along night after night and taking them off. One tree is bare, and now the others are being taken in the same way. I have greased the trunks, thinking is was snails/slugs, and also put fire ash mixed with coffee grounds on the top of the soil, as know that deters ants? I have sprayed the leaves ( whats left) with a spot of fairy liquid, drop of citronella in water? Im not sure what else to do, and do not know what is taking these leaves? Any idea's?
Krina - 13-Feb-16 @ 12:32 PM
I have purchased a orange tree 3 weeks ago,already I have flower buds, I was wanting to know when the best time of year to repot my tree,i live in scotand and tree is in conservatory peter
peter crees - 16-Dec-15 @ 11:13 PM
Annette - Your Question:
I have just purchased an orange tree for my son for Christmas his Lemon Tree keeps baring fruit no problem so I was disappointed to see on the orange tree label not for human consumption it has five big nearly ripe oranges on it. It's in large pot. Why can't they be eaten?

Our Response:
When citrus trees are reared for ornamental purposes, the fruit on the trees have been sprayed with chemicals. Therefore while you are unable to eat these fruits, anything that is produced later should be fine.
FruitExpert - 10-Dec-15 @ 1:00 PM
I have just purchased an orange tree for my son for Christmas his Lemon Tree keeps baring fruit no problem so I was disappointed to see on the orange tree label not for human consumption it has five big nearly ripe oranges on it. It's in large pot. Why can't they be eaten?
Annette - 9-Dec-15 @ 7:10 PM
Ms.Dee - Your Question:
Hi I'm not leaving a commentI need to ask a question we have this beautiful orange tree and it products wonderful fruit.we never spray it with anything it just grows getting to the point can I eat the peel.Thank You.

Our Response:
It's nice to see you have a thriving orange tree. Yes, if you are not spraying it and your tree and it is not in the vicinity of farm fields where pecticides are sprayed and which can be carried airborne. There are many fascinating and interesting uses for orange peel for you to discover, if you do a bit of an online search.
FruitExpert - 16-Nov-15 @ 12:15 PM
Hi I'm not leaving a comment I need to ask a question we have this beautiful orange tree and it products wonderful fruit .we never spray it with anything it just grows getting to the point can I eat the peel. Thank You.
Ms.Dee - 15-Nov-15 @ 5:45 PM
Ric - Your Question:
Hi, we are very worried about our mature orange tree south of Malaga. Acquired last September 2014, full of fruit for Christmas. It has deteriorated drastically since then. The tree is about 2.5 metres high with a trunk diameter of about 200mm. It is planted in the middle of a 2x2metre square of what used to be a patio at the front of the house. West facing so scorching heat in the summer. We've watered it, put nutrients in the soil, been told we may have over watered it. It's not lost all its leaves and some have even sprouted but many small branches now turning brown, leafless and dying. Blossomed beautifully in spring this year. Then a long hot summer since June and now the rains. No fruit at all showing when last year was full. Don't want to lose this majestic tree.

Our Response:
Many plants bought directly from these kind of nurseries have been grown in greenhouses and cultivated to produce abundant fruit for sale. However, one downside to this type of cultivation, is they become accustomed to the greenhouse consistency of temperature and therefore it is a shock when the tree is hit with the constant fluctuation in temperatures and weather changes outdoors. It means these plants are less hardy then those that have grown naturally. This alongside planting it in conditions that may not be perfect for this plant will see it suffer. Apart from the advice in this article, I can only suggest either buying a specific book on the subject, or doing some proper online research regarding the care of your tree, so that you can try and bring it back to life. There is still chance, especially if it has survived this far, so don't give up hope.
FruitExpert - 22-Oct-15 @ 2:14 PM
Hi, we are very worried about our mature orange tree south of Malaga. Acquired last September 2014, full of fruit for Christmas. It has deteriorated drastically since then. The tree is about 2.5 metres high with a trunk diameter of about 200mm. It is planted in the middle of a 2x2metre square of what used to be a patio at the front of the house. West facing so scorching heat in the summer. We've watered it, put nutrients in the soil, been told we may have over watered it. It's not lost all its leaves and some have even sprouted but many small branches now turning brown, leafless and dying. Blossomed beautifully in spring this year. Then a long hot summer since June and now the rains. No fruit at all showing when last year was full. Don't want to lose this majestic tree.
Ric - 21-Oct-15 @ 4:50 PM
@Emilia - Unfortunately, leaf-drop is the most common of citrus leaf problems. However, one of the most common reasons is fluctuations in temperature and they like a constant 15-18 C. It sounds as though it might be the 27 degree heat! Hopefully, it will sort itself out once the tree finds its preferred temperature.
Paul - 9-Sep-15 @ 11:21 AM
Another orange tree problem. within the space of two weeks my orange tree has lost all of it's leaves. They did not turn yellow, they just dropped. This tree is about two years old and last year I have quite a few oranges. The tree is kept in a sunny, protected corner of my balcony where the temperature is between 16 and 27 degrees. I don't think I over-water it as I only water it when the top soil is dry. I feed it fertilizer every two months as I as told to do. The tree has no mites or insects at all. So, what am I doing wrong? I would be most grateful if someone could give me some suggestions to improve on my lovely orange tree. Thank you Emilia
Emilia - 8-Sep-15 @ 6:24 PM
Another orange tree with the leaves dropping! Within two weeks my lovely tree has dropped all its leaves and I despair not knowing what to do about it. I keep it a a sunny, protected place (outside). The temperature is between 16 and 24 degrees and I don't over-water it. I allow the top soil to go dry before I water it. I feed it with fertilizer every two months. I have had this tree for two years of so and last year I had quite a number of lovely oranges. I would be very grateful if anyone can tell me what I'm doing wrong and what I should do to this tree. Thank you Emilia
Emilia - 8-Sep-15 @ 6:17 PM
@Steven - as suggested in the article, some leaf drop is normal but if large numbers of leaves fall check to see if the soil is too dry. Water well and mist the plant every day to increase humidity. Too much water can be fatal though, so if the compost is very moist, let it dry out before watering again. Make sure the tree gets plenty of light, as this can encourage the leaves to drop also. This is a very common problem for citrus trees, which can also be caused by big variations in temperature (ideally they like a consistent 15-18C). Also, make sure your plant is set away from draughts. You might also want to check with your local garden centre if you have the right peat. I hope this helps.
FruitExpert - 14-Jul-15 @ 11:14 AM
Hi I brought a naranjo navel tree last weekend and its situated in a conservatory.The problem that I have is everyday we have leaves and the fruit dropping on the floor. It is in a large pot with plenty of new fresh peat. Please advise
Steven Green - 11-Jul-15 @ 10:20 AM
Hallo. I am looking for Jaffa oranges seedlings for planting. Kindly where can I get them from. Thanks
sir Gordon - 5-Jul-15 @ 10:37 PM
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PARI - 27-Jun-15 @ 8:17 PM
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kamal - 27-Jun-15 @ 8:08 PM
About 2 weeks ago I repotted my Valencia orange tree and since then it has been dropping leaves at about 8 per day. The garden centre where I bought it told me to use a potting mixture which I bought from them which is coconut based and they told me not to fertilise for a couple of months as it had fertiliser in the potting compost. The plant is not sitting in water as I know they don't like wet feet. I water every couple of days and when I water the water does not come straight out the bottom. Apart from the leaves dropping it seems healthy. I live in a hot climate with no rain and I have put it on my patio. It gets full sun in the afternoon. Another blog I read says green leaves drop when it's under watered . Does anyone know if this is usual, is it stressed from the repotting. Will the leaves grow back? Any advice would be welcome.
Hilste - 15-Jun-15 @ 3:16 PM
Hi,have a very large orange tree in a 1m square planter that is too big to go in the greenhouse during winter. Does anyone know of any other options? Many thanks.
F - 19-Oct-14 @ 5:51 PM
@spockman, Where do you keep the plants, inside or out?
green1 - 14-Jul-14 @ 2:14 PM
have a lemon and Jaffa plant in pots in glass house they don't flower got them 7 years now live in northern Ireland any tips
spockman - 13-Jul-14 @ 3:37 PM
I have an orange tree that bears fruit every day of the year with out fail. From green to ripe. How is this possible?
Swen - 10-Jul-14 @ 10:19 AM
I have an orange tree for 12 years I just took over this project there are in the rooftop, winter time in the greenhouse but they never give any fruit so can you please help me out
Orange - 26-May-14 @ 8:55 PM
I have just brought my orange tree indoors, i live in the south west. I am now picking off small green caterpillars which are attacking the tiny fruit .any advise, . i have 4 small citrus trees the others seem ok
pasta - 22-Dec-13 @ 3:37 PM
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