Orange trees are favored by home gardeners throughout the world. They are desirable for their tasty fruit and also for their aesthetic qualities, including fragrant flowers in the spring and a pleasing, rounded canopy. Orange trees can be grown in containers, allowing them to be moved to a warmer location if cold weather threatens. They can also be grown outdoors in almost any subtropical or tropical climate, according to information published by Purdue University. The easiest orange trees to care for are the ones that grow best in your area. Still, there are some varieties that are known for being exceptionally easy to grow.
Most of the world's orange juice is produced from Valencia oranges. Native to Portugal or possibly Spain, these hardy trees are the most popularly planted in the world, according to information published by Texas A&M University. The trees thrive in a wide range of climatic conditions, from the cooler subtropical areas to warm tropical climates. Valencia orange trees have strong wood and most importantly for the home gardener, are also very resistant to pests and diseases. The oranges are medium or large, seedless and ripen in February. The oranges will hang onto the tree well into summer, and the longer they hang, the sweeter they become. Valencia oranges are ideal for picking from the tree and eating out of hand, or for squeezing juice.
Note that while the "Washington" variety of navel oranges are popularly sold in supermarkets, these trees are prone to diseases and insect pests and are difficult to grow in the home garden.
Hamlin is a very tough little orange tree. It can tolerate cold temperatures better than most other trees and produces a large amount of fruit. Hamlin is the most commonly planted tree in Florida, according to Purdue University. The oranges, while numerous, have pale juice and are not as large and sweet as Valencia oranges. The fruit matures between September and December. Hamlin is a good choice if you live in a cooler climate with occasional freezes.
Mandarins are a group of oranges that include satsumas and tangerines. They are smaller, sweeter and much easier to peel than naval and round oranges. Mandarin orange trees are self-pollinated and can grow in subtropical and tropical areas. The trees tend to droop more than other orange trees, so they might need some support. Some of the easier mandarin trees to grow are the Owari satsuma variety, which has superb quality and thrives in cooler temperatures according to Texas A&M University, and the clementine tangerine.