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How to Care for Ornamental Orange Trees

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017
Ornamental orange trees are grown in containers but still produce fruit.

Ornamental orange trees are not just pretty, fragrant trees. They also produce fruit, just like standard orange trees. Instead of being planted in the ground, however, ornamental orange trees are usually grown in containers as patio specimens or even grown indoors. Many ornamental orange trees are dwarf varieties, making them easier to contain in a pot. Care of ornamental orange trees is very similar to that of orange trees planted in the ground, except that you need to monitor your watering practices carefully. Fruit trees grown in containers suffer most from faulty watering practices, according to information published by the University of Florida.

Choose a container that has drainage holes. A good size is 15 gallons, which will hold a 5-foot-tall tree, according to the National Gardening Association. Cover the drainage holes with mesh to prevent soil from spilling out, and lay down a fine layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot.

Plant the tree in any commercial potting soil that is well-draining. The University of Florida recommends a soil that contains a mixture of peat moss, bark and perlite or sand.

Place the tree where it will receive full sunlight. Avoid moving the tree around once it is placed, because orange trees cannot tolerate sudden changes of light and temperature very well.

Water when the first inch or two of soil is dry to the touch. Do not overwater, because that is a common problem with potted fruit trees, according to the University of Florida. Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot, a deadly fungal disease. Reduce watering during cooler weather.

Protect the ornamental orange tree from the cold by covering the pot with a blanket or even moving it indoors when cold weather threatens. Keep the tree away from cold or hot drafts if growing it indoors.

Fertilize once a month during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10). Adjust the frequency and quantity of the feedings as needed. In general, deep, green leaves mean the ornamental orange tree is getting enough nutrients.


Things You Will Need

  • 15-gallon container with holes
  • Commercial potting soil containing sand, peat moss and bark
  • Watering tool
  • Frost blanket
  • Balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer


  • Pruning is not usually needed to maintain the tree's shape, according to the University of Florida, but if the canopy gets too large to support fruit development, the tree should be dramatically cut back.