How to Water Orange Trees


Oranges are a versatile, easy-to-grow fruit in many climate zones. But you can love them to death if you give them too much water because they just don't like to have soggy roots. Orange trees of all varieties also need soil that drains well so the trees can dry out a bit between the times you water them. Even when winter approaches and the temperature drops, keep your orange trees properly watered so they are strong and can survive brief periods of frost and lower temperatures.

Step 1

Plant your orange tree in an area with full sun and slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Because all citrus trees can suffer if they are forced to live in constantly wet soil, be on the safe side and build a raised bed or grow your orange tree in a large container. Whichever method you choose, combine your topsoil or potting mix with about one-fourth its volume of any type of compost to help give the soil not only better drainage but nutrients as well.

Step 2

Water your newly planted orange tree with plain water (No fertilizer is needed yet.) until the ground is saturated or until your container's drainage holes begin to seep water.

Step 3

Examine your soil's moisture level for the first few weeks after you plant your orange tree by poking your finger into the soil. If it feels moist one to two inches down, wait a little longer before you water your tree again. When the soil feels dry three to four inches down, it's time to repeat your initial watering.

Step 4

Water your orange tree approximately once each week after it is established. Make sure the soil has begun to dry out, and give your tree at least one gallon of water if it's in a pot and up to five gallons of water if it is in the ground.

Step 5

Avoid overwatering orange trees in pots if you move them indoors for the winter. Your tree will go into a dormant period in winter and does not need as much water or fertilizer during that time.

Step 6

Water your in-ground orange tree if winter rains fail to do the job for you. Keeping your tree healthy during cold weather helps it to be more resistant to frost and cold temperatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Raised bed or planter box
  • Compost
  • Slightly acidic soil or potting mix
  • Moisture meter (optional)


  • Texas A&M Cooperative Extension: Oranges
  • Purdue University: Oranges
  • Phoenix Tropicals: Growing Citrus in Phoenix, Arizona

Who Can Help

  • NexTag: Moisture Meters
Keywords: orange tree, citrus growing, watering fruit

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.