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How to Plant Calamansi

Calamansi or calamondin (Citrofortunella microcarpa) is a citrus tree that is a cross between a mandarin and kumquat tree. It produces orange fruits only about one and half inches in diameter. The tree itself is small, only averaging 10 to 20 feet in height. Even though the calamansi tree is native to the Philippines, it is cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11.

Plan to plant your calamansi in an area with full sun. It can tolerate some shade, but will produce more fruit in the sun.

Prepare the planting site. Dig a hole that is about 16 inches wide and deep. Mix in about 4 to 6 inches of organic matter like peat moss or compost. This will create soil that is better draining and more rich in nutrients.

Fill the hole back up so it is the same depth as the tree’s current container.

Take the tree out of its container. Do not pull on the trunk if possible. Instead, tap the container with a hammer to get it free.

Set the tree in the hole. Keep the soil from the container in tact. If you notice the roots have started growing around in circles, it is root bound. Therefore, cut a 1-inch deep X on the bottom and four vertical cuts on each side of the soil.

Fill the hole the rest of the way with the soil and pack it down with your hands to fill in any gaps of air.

Water your tree well and keep soil slightly moist for the first month while the tree becomes established. Do not over water your tree so that it is sitting in water and becomes water logged.

Grow Calamansi

Calamansi, a citrus fruit tree also known as Citrfortunella microcarpa or calamondin, grows natively in the Phillipines. The calamansi tree grows up to about 25 feet tall at maturity, and it is hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 9 and above. Fill a small container with a mixture of 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 sand or perlite. Sow several seeds in the container, depending on its size, to increase the success rate. Space the seeds about 3 inches apart. Stop watering if water drips from the drainage holes. Cover the container with plastic wrap for moisture retention. Allow them to grow a few sets of leaves. Plant the calamansi seedlings individually in the containers. Taper off and stop fertilizing as winter arrives or when the tree goes dormant. The seedlings need temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. Calamansi tolerates most soils but will not grow well in heavy clay or light sand. Apply 3 to 4 inches of compost and mix it into the top 6 inches of soil. If planting multiple calamansi trees, space the holes approximately 16 1/2 feet apart. If you see pests or damage caused by them, applying a commercial pesticide usually gets rid of the problem. Signs include a gum-like substance oozing from branches, as well as distorted, crinkled leaves. Proper application of the fungicide depends on the type of fungus. Leave a piece of the stem attached to the fruit to help it stay fresh.

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