The Calamondin orange (Citrus mitis) is a flavorful but sour small relative of the larger orange. It produces a profusion of fruit twice each year under optimal conditions—it prefers a tropical or subtropical climate such as Hawaii and the south of California, Florida and other states. But you can grow it in a pot indoors and keep it pruned to a manageable size while still benefiting from its fruit, which is delicious in beverages, such as orangeade, tea, mixed drinks,or squeezed into soft drinks to add zest. If you grow the Calamondin outdoors, keeping it pruned makes it easier to harvest the fruit that hangs from high branches.
Pruning Calamondin Orange Trees
Grow your Calamondin orange in a large pot with a good quality potting soil if you want to grow it indoors. If you’re growing it outdoors, plant it where the soil is rich in organic material, well drained and protected from wind and cold.
Prune the tree liberally; you can shape it the way you want to keep it manageable because Calamondins grown outdoors can reach 15 feet or higher, making the top fruit difficult to pick.
Prune off the high branches with a pole pruner if your tree has gotten tall. This tree is forgiving and will quickly recover from a severe top pruning by sending out lateral branches, which makes it bushier and enables easier, lower harvesting of future fruit.
Prune smaller trees into the shape you want. It is smart to prune off lower branches to encourage a strong trunk, and many people prune their Calamondins into a spherical shape.
Prune off any diseased or insect-damaged branches as soon as you find them. Also prune branches that cross and touch each other, which also can open up airflow to the center of the tree.
Things You Will Need
- Calamondin orange tree
- Pole pruning tool (optional)
- You can prune Calamondin any time of year, but be sure not to cut off flowers or developing fruit if you want a good harvest.
- In the right environment, Calamondin often self sows, producing "volunteer" trees where the conditions are favorable. If you don't want another Calamondin where a volunteer has started to grow, you can dig it up and move it to another location or plant it in a pot, so you will have one handy on your patio or lanai.
- Wear heavy garden gloves when you work with your Calamondin because they develop large thorns.
- When you pick Calamondins, be sure to include a short portion of the stem; if you tear it off and expose the fruit, it will quickly rot.
- After you harvest your Calamondins, store them in the refrigerator because they do not keep as well as other citrus at room temperature.
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