How to Care for a Miniature Orange Tree
Calmondin orange trees are the most popular types of miniature orange trees. They are suited to life in a pot, which means that they can be grown in climates that are usually too cold for oranges. Some gardeners grow them because they are decorative and respond well to pruning. Others are after their tart fruit which can be eaten whole, peel and all. Whatever your reason for adopting a miniature orange tree, you will soon find that a minimum of care can result in years of beautiful, fragrant blooms and fruit.
Choose the right spot for your miniature orange tree. When kept indoors, a miniature orange tree requires direct sunshine for at least half of the day in spring and summer, but the more sunlight it gets, the better. Place it near a window with southern exposure or underneath a high-quality grow light (which can be set to medium intensity during the winter months). Heated sun rooms and greenhouses also make lovely habitats for indoor orange trees.
Water your tree frequently. Until you become accustomed to its watering needs, check the soil daily by sticking your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry one inch below the surface, water the plant until you see water seeping through the pot's drainage holes.
Orange trees generally need a fair amount of humidity. Place a plant tray filled with gravel underneath your tree's pot. Excess water will collect here and when it evaporates it will provide your orange tree with humidity.
Fertilize your tree. If you have just purchased your miniature orange tree from a nursery, wait six weeks before fertilizing it. Then adopt a regular fertilizing schedule:
In spring and summer, fertilize the tree monthly with an organic, high-acid fertilizer (those designed for tomatoes work quite well). In fall and winter, reduce feeding to once every two months.
Move your orange tree. Miniature orange trees are not perfectly suited for indoor growing. When outdoor temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, place your miniature orange tree outside in a spot where it will receive direct sunlight for at least half of the day.
This is especially important in the summer months. Miniature orange trees contain both male and female parts, but they need the help of the birds and the bees to pollinate themselves.
However, miniature orange trees are quite intolerant to cold. Bring your tree indoors when night time lows reach 50 degrees F.
Wipe down the leaves frequently with a wet sponge. This will eliminate dust which attracts mite and scale insects.
Wait for your miniature orange tree to bloom. Calamondin miniature orange trees mature when they are around five years old. Then, given the appropriate amount of sunlight and water, they will bloom and fruit at least twice a year. And some will continue to produce all year long.
Miniature orange trees split their time between indoor and outdoor living. If you put your orange tree on a plant dolly, you'll find it much easier to move.