Commercial growers define dwarf fruit trees as ones that reach a mature height of 5 to 6 feet. Dwarf orange trees are the result of grafting a high-quality orange cultivar onto a different, yet compatible, rootstock. The result is edible oranges grown on miniature trees. Dwarf orange trees create an attractive addition in many southern landscapes. Due to their compact size, these trees grow well in containers indoors or on patios. Dwarf orange trees require special care to thrive and produce fruit.
Plant your dwarf tree in a pot large enough to provide adequate room for the roots to grow. Choose a pot that contains several drainage holes in the bottom. Dwarf orange trees require average, well-drained soil. Avoid planting your dwarf orange tree directly into garden soil unless you live in a tropical or semi-tropical climate. In all other climates, grow your orange tree indoors to protect it from freezing.
Take your potted plant outdoors in the summer. Potted plants enjoy outdoor settings during the warm, summer months, provided they return indoors before the temperatures drop in the fall and winter. Provide protection from wind when placing dwarf orange trees outside. Due to their small root systems, dwarf orange trees become top-heavy, creating an unstable tree in windy conditions. Avoid wind damage by tying strong twine between the lower trunk of your dwarf orange tree and wooden tree stakes placed in the ground.
Trim the roots of your dwarf orange tree every few years. Spread out newspapers and carefully remove the rootball from its pot. Do not jar or shake the tree. Use sharp pruning shears to cleanly cut away a few inches from the longest roots on the bottom and around the sides of the rootball. Replace the trimmed rootball in the pot, adding sufficient potting soil to replace the surface of the rootball to its previous level.
Place your potted tree indoors in the winter in a location that receives several hours of bright sunlight. Turn the potted tree every week or so to provide even exposure to sunlight. Keep the soil slightly moist to encourage healthy growth and fruit production.
Apply a little water-soluble fertilizer during periods of heavy growth. Dwarf citrus trees leech nitrogen from the soil. Select a nitrogen fertilizer formulated for use with citrus trees. Follow the application instructions provided on the fertilizer package.