Monday , May 29 2017
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Sweet Orange

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Sweet Orange trees grow well in a place with full sun or light shade or if grown indoors they will need very high lighting. They prefer a well-drained soil, moderately heavy loam with a generous amount of compost and sand added, with a pH between 5 and 6. Don’t let the soil dry completely but make sure there is a very good drainage in the soil as they don’t tolerate water logging.

When growing in pots, a compost mixture with equal quantities of loam and leaf-mould plus a little charcoal should suit well. When watering pot plants it is important to water only when the compost is almost dry, but do not allow it to become completely dry. Don’t over-water. In the hot summer, the trees are watered daily in the greenhouse and fertilized weekly with a balanced fertilizer. During the winter, keep the plants moist and never let the nighttime temperature fall below 13 Celsius degrees (55 F).

The young growths in spring, even on mature plants, are frost-tender, so try to find them a place sheltered from the early morning sun. Plants dislike root disturbance so plant them into their permanent positions while young. If growing them in pots, take care when potting them on into larger containers. Since oranges bloom on new wood, any pruning should be done after the fruit ripens.

Sweet Orange trees can be propagated by seeds, by grafting selected cultivars, from cuttings of half-ripe wood in mid to late summer, in a frame or by layering in mid autumn. Seeds are best sown in a greenhouse as soon as they ripe, after thoroughly rinsing them. Sow stored seed in early spring in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes between 2 to 3 weeks at 13 Celsius degrees (55 F). When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least three growing seasons before planting them outdoors. Plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

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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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