Tangerines, which are part of the mandarin family, are orange colored citrus fruits that mature in the winter months and grow to be about 2 to 4 inches in diameter. While tangerines typically grow in warmer climates, such as Florida, California and Texas, you can actually grow tangerines in colder areas. With the right selection plus the right planting site (e.g., next to a wall or in a container), you can successfully grow and enjoy fresh tangerines in your climate.
Determine if you can plant a tangerine tree outdoors in the ground in your climate. According to the University of California, frost damage on tangerine trees usually begins when temperatures dip below 27 to 29 degrees Fahrenheit for periods longer than 30 minutes. However, in areas where this is unusual but still possible, protect your tree from frost damage on those rare nights by doing such things as wrapping the trunk in burlap or placing a 100 watt light bulb under the tree. In addition, planting a tangerine tree near a wall or up higher on a hill can help limit exposure to frost.
Decide if you should plant your tangerine tree in a container. If your winters dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit frequently, then your best bet is to plant it in a container, especially if you can't provide any natural protection such as planting it near a wall. This way, you can bring your tree indoors during the colder months.
Purchase a dwarf tangerine tree, such as the Wase variety, to grow in a container. Most dwarf trees grow to about 4 feet and are perfect to be kept indoors all year long or grown outdoors during the warmer months and brought in during the winter months. Some other tangerine trees, such as the Dancy variety, which is the most popular tangerine tree grown in the United States, can be pruned and trained to grow smaller in a container, if desired.
Buy a regular-sized tangerine tree, such as the Dancy and Kara varieties, to grow outdoors in the ground. Keep in mind that some tangerine trees are more cold sensitive than others. Choose a tree that is labeled hardy in your USDA plant hardiness zone. If you live near the border of a colder zone, choose a more cold hardy variety such as Dancy and Murcott tangerine trees.