Friday , December 14 2018



The mandarin tree is tender and is easily damaged by cold. It can be grown in tropical and subtropical areas outdoors and in colder areas it may be grown as a houseplant. It needs a warm climate and a sunny exposure from the south or west. The shelter of a fence or patio is ideal for the mandarin tree. It will grow well in sandy, neutral, well-drained soils. Avoid wet poorly drained soils.

If grown in a container as a houseplant, use an all purpose, well-drained potting mix for planting this tree. You can make your own mix for planting: 1 part garden soil, 1 part coarse sand or perlite, 1 part moist peat or humus (leaf mold) and a light dusting of lime. Take the container outdoors in late spring and place it in a place with full sun and protected from winds. Bring container back inside in fall for overwintering and place it in a cool but bright sunny southern window. Indoor plants may produce some fruit from autumn to spring.

Water the mandarin trees regularly and for those grown indoors, in winter mist them with water almost daily or use a humidifier. The young mandarin trees need to be watered often, but as the trees are disposed to root rot allow them to dry after each watering. The older mandarin orange trees can live with just rainfall if grown outdoors. Prune the trees in spring. Feed every two weeks with a water soluble fertilizer. Do not fertilize in the winter. As an alternative use a granular slow release fertilizer applied annually in the early spring.

Propagate from stem cuttings with heel or from seeds in the summer. Use a mixture of moist peat and perlite. Cover the pot and plant with a plastic bag or use a propagator to prevent the moisture loss. Place the pot in indirect sunlight or under a fluorescent light. Repot the plant in a regular potting mix after it has been growing for a while.

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Sour Orange

Sour Orange (Citrus Aurantium), also known as bitter orange, Seville orange, bigarade orange or marmalade orange, is an evergreen, spiny  tree that grows up to 9 m high by 6 m wide, having a compact, rounded top. It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender, yet it can stand several degrees of frost for short periods. Dormant plants can withstand temperatures down to about -6 Celsius degrees (21 F) so long as this is preceded by cool weather in order to harden off the plant. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun.

It has smooth, brown bark, green twigs, angular when young and flexible, not very sharp and thorns of 2.5-8 cm long. It is in leaf all year, bearing ovate leaves that are fragrant when crushed. It flowers from mid spring to early summer. The hermaphrodite flowers are highly fragrant, borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils. The plant is self-fertile. The fruits are round, oblate or oblong-oval, orange or reddish-orange with a rind that is rough, strong scented and bitter. The fruits have 10-12 sections and the pulp is acid, containing from a few to numerous seeds.

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