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How to Grow a Flying Dragon Plant

The flying dragon plant (Poncirus trifoliata), also referred to as hardy citrus and bitter orange, is an unusual-looking citrus that is cold hardy to zero degrees Fahrenheit. The flying dragon adds an interesting touch to the garden throughout all four seasons. In spring, it is covered in fragrant, white blooms that are followed by small oranges during summer months. In fall the leaves turn yellow, leaving behind twisted branches when they drop for winter.

Choose a location in your garden or yard that receives full sun to partial shade. The chosen spot will need to allow room for the flying dragon to spread, as it can sometimes grow 12 to 15 feet wide.

Dig a planting hole no deeper than the container that the flying dragon plant is growing in. Add a shovel of compost to the hole. Remove the plant from its container by turning it upside down and squeezing the sides to loosen the root ball. Place the flying dragon into the hole and back fill with dirt, tapping down well to remove any air pockets.

Water until the soil is moist, but not soggy. Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to help hold in moisture. Continue to water well whenever rainfall slows, until the first frost arrives in your area.

Fertilize once per month with a 2-1-1 fertilizer from early spring until late autumn.

Prune with long-handled pruning shears whenever the flying dragon plant threatens to overtake available space. Do not prune in late fall or winter to avoid weakening the plant.


Flying dragon plants are covered in thorns and make an excellent natural barrier when planted closely together.

Plant in an area that is sheltered from cold winds to minimize the chance of damage during winter months.

The fruit of this plant is not poisonous, although it is so sour that it is not generally considered edible.

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