Growing oranges in pots allow you to enjoy its fruits even if you have limited space! Learn How to Grow an Orange Tree in Container with ease!
Oranges are praised for their tangy and sweet taste. Growing them in pots offers you a chance to grow them in small spaces, like balconies and patios, in cold climates. You can also move the containers indoors in winters or when the weather is not favorable. The fruity fragrance of the flowers is also an added advantage while growing them! Let’s have a look at How to Grow an Orange Tree in Container!
Botanical Name: Citrus sinensis
USDA Zones: 9-11
Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
Check out Our Article on the 5 Best Citrus Trees You Can Grow here!
How to Propagate Orange Tree in Container?
There are mainly two ways in which you can grow oranges:
1. From Cuttings
- Take 6-10 inches softwood cuttings from the first-year branch of a healthy tree. Make sure you are not cutting a stem with fruits or flowers.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom part of the cutting and dip its end in a rooting hormone.
- Fill potting mix in a pot and plant the cutting 2-3 inches deep and press soil firmly around it.
- Keep it in dappled sunlight and water it regularly, allowing the topsoil to dry between the watering intervals.
- In 8-12 weeks, the roots will start emerging. Transplant it to 12-15 inches pot and keep it under full sun.
2. From Seeds
- For propagating an orange tree from the seeds, extract the seeds out of the fruit and soak them for 24 hours in water.
- Sow the seeds half an inch deeper, in a 4-6 inches pot, filled with potting mix. Water it thoroughly after sowing.
- The seeds will germinate in 3-4 weeks.
- Transfer it in a bigger pot (10-12 inches), when the plant outgrows the old one, and place it in full sun exposure.
Tip: Though growing an Orange tree in a container from seeds or cuttings is possible, we recommend you buy a healthy, well-grafted plant from a nursery. Pick a variety that suits your climate and always go for a little plant.
Best Orange Tree Varieties for Pots
- Dwarf Washington Navel: Growing up to 6-8 feet when matured, it produces seedless fruits with a thin peel. It is best for eating fresh and for making juices.
- Trovita: This variety is slightly smaller than Washington and produces sour and sweet fruits with few seeds. They are not cold hardy but can withstand short periods of freezing temperatures.
- Mandarin: It has sweet fruits, which can either be eaten plain or used in salads. This variety can be damaged by cold, so bring it inside during winters.
- Dwarf Valencia: This pest-resistant variety produces fruits with yellow-orange flesh and seeds. It grows 6-8 feet tall. They are mostly used in cupcakes, tarts, and pancakes.
- Blood Moro: It produces sweet, deep red blood oranges, with a hint of raspberry in taste.
- Nagpur Orange: It produces sweet and sour fruits. The plant grows 3-4 feet tall. This variety, however, is not cold tolerant.
Choosing a Container
You can plant an orange tree in a 10-12 inches pot initially and then keep re-potting it into one or two sizes bigger pot, once the plant outgrows the current container. For grown-up trees, a large 18-24 inches container is sufficient. Must ensure the pots have drainage holes at the bottom. Whiskey or wine barrel should be fine for this purpose.
Learn How to Grow Clementine Oranges here!
Requirements for Growing Oranges in Pots
The orange tree loves to grow in the full sun, but it doesn’t mind the part sun as well. A sunny spot that receives 5-7 hours of direct sunlight is ideal for productivity and flavorful fruits. For indoors, keep them at the south-facing window.
Tip: If there is not enough sunlight in your yard, then grow varieties like Flying dragon and Owari satsuma.
Orange trees prefer warm climates. The ideal temperature for growing orange trees is around 65 F (18 C). They do well in the temperature range of 50-100 F (10-38 C). Protection from cold drafts, harsh winters, and snow is required while growing the plant outdoors.
Tip: For cold climatic areas, grow Satsuma and Changsa Mandarin varieties.
The quality and type of soil plays a significant role in the development of an orange plant. For high yield, use a well-draining potting mix, with a lot of organic matter and aged manure.
Tip: The pH of the soil should be 5.5-7. To lower the acidity of the soil, use lime, and to increase it, use sulfur.
An orange tree dries must faster in the container, as compared to the ground. Check 2 inches of topsoil by poking your finger for dryness before watering the plant again. On windy and hot days, the plant requires more frequent watering and slightly moist soil. However, make sure that you are not overwatering the plant.
Container Orange Tree Care
8-8-8 or 10-10-10, slow-release, liquid fertilizer is going to provide all the essential nutrients and micronutrients to the plant. The best time to fertilize is during spring and summer. Fertilizing orange, during the fruit growing stage, is also going to increase their size and weight.
Pruning is required to keep the growth of your plant in check and also to keep it in shape. You can shorten the shoots to half their length, using sharp, sterilized shears. Eliminate dead woods and prune the inside of the plant to make it less cluttered, so that the sunlight reaches to the center of the plant.
If you live in warmer regions, prune the plant in spring, between Feb and April. For colder areas, prune between Feb and March.
The best time to re-pot an orange tree is in spring before they start active growth. Always go in for a container that’s at least 25% bigger than the old one. Gently remove the plant, making sure that you are not damaging the roots, and carefully put it into the new container. Also, cut off any brown or wilted section of roots. Water the plant well and keep it in sunlight.
Orange Tree Care in Winter
- Orange trees love warm temperatures, so protect them from harsh winters, if you live in a cold climate.
- Bring the plant inside, during late fall and take them outside during spring, once the weather warms up.
- Mulch soil with shredded barks or grass clippings, to protect the roots from cold.
- Reduce the watering rate in winter.
Check out Our Article on Taking Care of Houseplants in Winters here!
Pests and Diseases
The plant may get affected by thrips, aphids, scale, and mealybug pests. You can take care of them by using a strong jet of water. You can also use a neem oil solution spray. For diseases like twig blight and collar rot, the combination of fungicide/insecticide will do the trick.
Learn About Natural Remedies for Removing Pests here!
The fruit develops a vibrant, shiny orange color when fully grown, indicating that it’s time to harvest! Simply hold and twist the orange and it will come off. Avoid using too much force as it might damage the plant. You can also use a shear to nip the fruits off the branch.