Planting citrus can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for gardeners of all levels. Not sure which type of citrus to plant? This post will help you decide!
With their fragrant blossoms, evergreen foliage, and delectable fruits, citrus trees are an absolute delight. Choosing the perfect citrus tree can be challenging if you reside in a region suitable for planting citrus (typically USDA Zones 8-11). These four questions will help you decide which type of citrus to plant and add to your landscape and garden.
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4 Questions to help you decide which type of citrus to plant:
1. Do I want to eat this type of citrus for the next 20 years?
Citrus trees are long-lived. Before you plant the tree, spend time choosing the right variety to meet your needs. This article talks about 30 different varieties of citrus. Some oranges are best for juicing, and others are best eaten fresh. Citrus trees (even dwarf varieties) produce a lot of fruit. Try to sample the type of fruit you are considering planting. Many nurseries offer tasting events.
Additionally, if you visit a grower during the citrus-harvesting season, many will allow you to sample fruit right off the tree.
Growing conditions can affect the fruit’s taste, but it’s important to like the variety you plant so the fruit is not wasted.
Meyer lemons are a productive tree with delicious fruit.
2. Which type of citrus to plant: Should I plant a standard size or a dwarf variety?
Dwarf citrus trees are smaller in size yet yield fruits equivalent in size to their larger counterparts, albeit in smaller quantities.
For citrus trees to flourish and mature unhindered, it is crucial to select a planting location that ensures unobstructed growth without the need for excessive pruning.
- Mature adult citrus trees average 20-25 feet (6-7.6 meters) tall and 15-18 feet (4.6-5.5 meters) wide.
- Dwarf types grow to 10-12 feet (3-3.7 meters) tall and 8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters) wide.
Before selecting a tree, evaluate the available space at your location. Carefully assess whether it can accommodate either tree type and then opt for the size that best suits your specific location.
3. When do I want to harvest?
If planting several trees, choose varieties that ripen at different times to space harvests throughout the year. This helpful chart, “Citrus Harvesting Calendar for the Low Desert” from the University of Arizona Extension Office, shows when different varieties are harvested.
4. Which type of citrus to plant: Do I want fruit I can’t easily buy at the store?
There is an abundance of unusual varieties of citrus fruits that can be easily grown by citrus gardeners. However, these unique citrus fruits are often rare to come across in local stores or quite expensive to purchase.
Buddha’s Hand – Prized for its unusual shape and beautiful aroma, this is definitely a conversation starter.
Kumquats – These trees are cold-hardy to -7 to -6.7°C (18-20°F), and the small orange fruit can be consumed whole, peel and all. They are beautiful landscape trees with dark green leaves.
Pigmented or “Blood” Orange Varieties – The color in these develops best after a hot, dry summer followed by a cold winter. Varieties such as Tarocco and Sanguinelli are tasty choices.
Want more help deciding? This article gives descriptions and pictures of 30 different types of citrus.
Questions about growing citrus? This article answers 10 questions about how to grow citrus and includes guidelines for selecting, planting, watering, and fertilizing citrus.