Located in south Florida, Miami's tropical climate is ideal for growing citrus trees, many of which have lush, green leaves and fragrant flowers. Known for their juice extracts and edible fruits, citrus trees are also ornamental. Varieties such as calamondin, Meyer lemon tree and grapefruit can grow in Miami both indoors and outdoors.
Prized for its ornamental value more widely than for its fruit, the calamondin (X Citrofortunella mitis) hailed from China and bears luminous orange fruits that are closely similar to tangerines. Once trimmed, the tree can act as a hedge tree. Calamondin prefers direct sunlight and warm climate.
This thorny tree can grow up to 25 feet high and has dense branches close to the ground. It produces alternate dark green leaves that are aromatic, broad-oval and glossy. Each leaflet measuring up to 3 inches long has teeth at the apex with short, narrowly winged petioles. Fragrant flowers measuring about 1 inch wide have five elliptic-oblong, pure-white petals borne singly, in twos or threes terminally or in the leaf axils near the branch tips.
Round or oblate shaped fruits measure approximately less than 2 inches wide. They have an aromatic scent and orange-red peel that is glossy and dotted with plenty of numerous small oil glands. The orange pulp contains six to 10 segments that are juicy and highly acidic. The segments usually contain one to five small seeds, but sometimes none. The calamondin can tolerate soils from clay-loam to limestone or sand in Florida.
Meyer Lemon Tree
Meyer lemon (Citrus X meyeri) is native to China, and is a hybrid of a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The tree grows best under full sun in subtropical climates.
The Meyer lemon tree grows up to 10 feet tall at maturity; however, you can prune it smaller to grow as potted plants. The tree's alternate leaves measure 2 to 4 inches long, and are dark green, shiny, oblong, elliptic or long-ovate that are finely toothed, with slender wings on the petioles.
The fragrant flower is white with a purple base and has four or five three-quarter-inch long petals. Measuring approximately 3 to 4 inches long, the fruit is yellow and rounder than a true lemon and has a slight orange tint when ripe. It has a sweeter, less acidic flavor than the true lemon and has a fragrant edible skin. The fruit has dots of oil glands, and contains pale-yellow pulp with eight to ten segments, which are juicy and acidic. Meyer lemon requires well-drained soil, adequate water, but less in the winter.
Once referred to as the "forbidden fruit," grapefruit (Citrus X paradise) originated from the Caribbean. The tree can reach up to 30 feet high at maturity and has spreading branches. The evergreen leaves measure 3 to 5 inches long, with pointed tips and rounded base. White flowers measure 1 to 2 inches across.
The oblate, nearly rounded fruit is bright yellow with a thick peel with white, pale yellow, pink or red pulp. It measures 4 to 6 inches wide. The pulp contains eleven to fourteen segments that are very juicy, and acid to sweet-acid in flavor when fully ripe. Some grapefruit may be seedless, but often they may contain up to ninety white, elliptical, pointed seeds measuring one-half inch in length. Grapefruit prefers full sun and well-drained soil. Allow soil to dry between watering.