The Hybrid of a Tangerine Tree & a Grapefruit Tree


Growers looking for a flavorful, cold-hardy citrus should consider the hybrid of the tangerine tree and grapefruit tree--the tangelo. This subtropical citrus fruit grows well in subtropical areas that can support citrus trees. Tangelo fruits ripen from December to February. The trees bear heavily once they mature and their fruit has excellent flavor and texture, notes University of Florida Extension.


Tangelos are equal parts tangerine and grapefruit. Most common tangelos were created by crossing the 'Dancy' tangerine and the 'Duncan' grapefruit. According to University of Florida Extension, the 'Minneola' tangelo was created in 1931 by United States Department of Agriculture researchers in Orlando, Florida. Other tangelos were created by crossing 'Dancy' tangerine with 'Bowen' grapefruit.


Tangelos have a small neck or lump that prevents them from looking round, unlike most citrus fruits. They range in size between that of an orange and that of a grapefruit.


Tangelos are very juicy and possess a sweet flavor. Like the tangerine, they have a delicate fragrance; those with good noses can observe the fragrance by scratching the fruit's skin with one finger. Most tangelos contain seeds. Their flavor is generally sweet with a low-to-moderate acid note.

Growing Environment

Tangelo trees need well-draining soil and exposure to full sun in order to thrive. The trees grow in subtropical areas, such as California, Florida or Texas. While tangelos rank among the more cold hardy citrus trees, they can still receive frost damage around 28 F, notes Four Winds Growers.


Tangelo trees can contract many common citrus diseases, notably Alternaria leaf spot and scab fungus. Gardeners can spray their trees during the spring with preventative fungicides. The trees can also contract a number of insect pests common to citrus treed, including aphids, spider mites and flies. Tangelo trees planted in compacted, poorly draining soil may develop foot rot since their roots are in standing water.

Keywords: tangelo, tangerine grapefruit hybrid, citrus hybrid

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.