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How to Fertilize Florida Orange Trees

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
Delicious oranges
oranges image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com

Florida is famous for its oranges. Sweet and juicy, this fruit grows very well in Florida’s subtropical climate and provides the world with gallons of nutritious juice and other products. You can grow the same type of oranges professional Florida farmers grow if you live in USDA climate zone 8 or higher. If you live in a colder region, you can grow Florida oranges in large containers that you keep outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter. Fertilizing Florida orange trees correctly will yield healthy trees with a maximum harvest.

Fertilize your orange trees approximately three times during the warm months of the year with a special plant food designed for citrus. Oranges need plenty of nitrogen to keep their leaves green and healthy, so look for a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 20-10-10 or 16-8-8. You can choose either liquid or granular plant food.

Water your orange tree before you apply fertilizer.

Apply your first application of fertilizer in spring, when your tree begins to show signs of vigorous new growth. Prepare your fertilizer according to package instructions. Repeat this application every six weeks until late summer—do not fertilize later in the year. If you are growing your orange tree in a climate where winter temperatures drop below freezing, fertilize your tree in late spring and not again later in the season. Fertilize container plants twice each month.

Apply either liquid or granular fertilizer around the tree’s drip line, avoiding contact with the trunk. Larger trees’ drip lines can be eight feet from the trunk, while that of smaller trees will be closer to the trunk. A good rule is to apply your fertilizer underneath the outermost branches.

Spray trees that have yellowing leaves with a fertilizer containing iron and zinc. Spring and summer are the best times of year to apply this type of foliar fertilizer.


Things You Will Need

  • Citrus fertilizer
  • Iron and zinc foliar fertilizer (optional)


  • Florida farmers grow many varieties of oranges. Common orange cultivars include navels, Ambersweet, Valencia and Hamlin.
  • Avoid giving young trees too much nitrogen because it can cause coarse fruit with thick peels.

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.