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How to Grow a Potted Orange Tree

Orange trees can thrive and produce fruit in a pot if they are a dwarf or miniature variety. Potted dwarf orange trees can be kept outdoors or indoors, but if kept outdoors, be sure to bring them inside well before the first freeze. With proper care, you can enjoy fresh oranges from your own home.

Pot the dwarf orange tree. Place an inch or two of gravel at the bottom of the container before adding soil; the container should have drainage holes. Partially fill the container with a potting mix available at your local garden store. Place the tree in the pot and fill it the rest of the way with soil, stopping about 1 to 4 inches from the rim.

Keep your orange tree watered. Allow the top of the soil to dry out between waterings. Stick your finger into the soil. When that is dry, it’s time to water. Do not keep your orange tree saturated at all times.

Place the pot in full sunlight if possible. If kept indoors, place it an area that receives the most sunlight, such as a south facing window.

Fertilize the orange tree with a fertilizer specifically designed for citrus fruits, usually labeled as 20-20-20, which means equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Follow label directions for dosing and frequency since different brands come in different strengths and release rates.

Prune as necessary. Generally, you will not need to prune a potted orange tree. However, you should prune off damaged or diseased branches. If your tree is becoming too top heavy and light is not reaching the entire tree, then prune back some branches.

Reasons Why An Orange Tree Won't Grow

Orange trees are not hardy through winters with temperatures dropping below freezing, even if it is for a few hours during the night. After the tree grows into maturity, it will have more resilience during temporary freezing temperatures. Overall, the orange tree prefers warmer temperatures up to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 9. In addition, fruit production demands full sunlight for peak photosynthesis action. Compacted soil does not have the drainage capacity necessary for successful orange tree growth; oranges need adequate moisture movement across the topsoil, as well as within the soil's underground structure. If your tree is still confined to a pot, its growth is hindered by the space and nutrient barrier of the surrounding soil.

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