How to Prune an Indoor Orange Tree


When most people think of oranges, they think of sunny Florida, where orange trees grow large and produce fruit as round and orange as the sun itself. But you don't have to go to Florida to have a bit of tropical sunshine in your own home. There are several varieties of orange tree that can be grown indoors in your own home. These ornamental trees need special care, including pruning techniques that are slightly different than the style of pruning that orange trees grown outdoors for produce receive.

Step 1

Wait until February to prune your tree. This is just before the tree moves out of dormancy. Pruning in February helps to reduce shock to the tree.

Step 2

Sharpen your pruning shears before pruning your tree. It is important to prune your tree with sharp shears to make clean pruning cuts.

Step 3

Swipe the blades with alcohol before you prune your trees and between each cut to avoid the spread of disease.

Step 4

Study your tree and develop a pruning strategy before pruning your tree. Citrus trees store the majority of their energy in their leaves, so your pruning strategy should be aimed at pruning the minimum amount of foliage from the tree.

Step 5

Only remove whole limbs, never remove just the tips or limbs to prune the tree. Cut your branches at an angle, starting just outside the bark ridge in the forking branch of a tree and angling away from the tree's trunk. Never remove more than 1/3 of your tree's limbs in any year.

Step 6

Remove any diseased or damaged limbs and suckers, which are tree limbs that grow from the roots or below the graft of your tree.

Step 7

Remove any limbs that cross the center of the tree or rub against one another. This will help promote better air circulation among the branches and help reduce disease in the tree.

Step 8

Remove any weak limbs that could not support the growth of fruit on them. This will provide more energy for growth of strong limbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Sharpener
  • Alcohol wipes


  • Gardening Tips and Advice Database: Indoor orange tree care
  • USDA Website: How to Prune Trees
  • Acorn Springs Farms Website: A Dwarf Citrus Pruning Primer

Who Can Help

  • My Indoor Green Spot Website: Growing Citrus Indoors
Keywords: citrus plants, ornamental trees, pruning branches

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.