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How to Prune a Calamondin

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

The calamondin lime (Citrus mitis) is a favorite ingredient in cuisine of Southeast Asia and the Pacific for its tangy flavor that tastes like a sour tangerine. The fruit is small, about the size of a golf ball, and orange when ripe. Although it’s native to tropical areas and is frost tender, many people grow it in large pots, which they keep outdoors in the summer and move inside during the winter. Whether you grow a calamondin indoors or outside, keep it pruned to make harvesting fruit easier and help it to fit into its growing environment.

Grow your calamondin lime in rich, well-drained soil, either in a large container with a drainage hole or in the ground where it will be protected from high wind and cold temperatures.

Prune the upper branches of to keep it a manageable size and to enable easier harvesting of fruit. This applies to both container-grown trees as well as those grown outdoors. Whenever you prune, cut ¼- to ½-inch above nodes, which are places from which leaves or side branches emerge.

Remove the lower branches with a clippers or loppers to encourage a strong central trunk. Continue pruning off lower branches and new growth that appear after you prune.

Cut side branches above a node to limit the width of the tree and define a symmetrical shape. New growth will appear soon, so you might need to repeat your pruning of this tree in order to maintain the shape you desire.

Prune any diseased or insect-chewed growth whenever you prune a calamondin. Pruning off branches that bump up against each other is always a good practice whenever you prune any tree.


Things You Will Need

  • Calamondin orange tree
  • Clippers
  • Loppers
  • Ladder (optional)
  • Gloves


  • This tree can grow 20 feet tall or higher, so if you keep the top cut back, it will help to keep it bushier.
  • Use regular, sharp garden clippers for smaller branches and large loppers for thicker branches.
  • Cut all branches that you want to remove all the way back to the main trunk.
  • Some people like to train their calamondin into a spherical shape, but they naturally grow tall and narrow. To maintain this shape, you'll need to prune often.
  • The calamondin is called "calamansi" in certain countries, such as the Philippines.


  • Be cautious when working with the calamondin lime tree because it grows large thorns that can puncture your skin easily if you aren't constantly watching for them. Wear gloves and perhaps a protective covering on your arms.

About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.