How to grow clementine orange trees

Updated April 17, 2017

Clementine oranges are small, aromatic and brightly coloured oranges that are sometimes called Clementine tangerines. This seedless variety of mandarin oranges is easy to peel and is reminiscent of the Japanese Satsuma orange. Clementines grow best in the warmer zones 8, 9, 10 and 11, where the temperatures range from -12.2 degrees C to 10 degrees C. Though the tree originally comes from Algeria, North Africa, Clementines are now most frequently grown in Spain.

Choose an area to plant your Clementine trees that is well-drained and in full sunlight most of the time. The sun maximises citrus tree growth, but you will also need to mist the leaves, blossoms and fruit as it grows to keep a good moisture balance.

Purchase a tree from a nursery. Choose a tree with darkly-toned leaves and larger trunks. Test the firmness of the roots to assess for root rot, which turns the roots mushy.

Test the soil drainage capacity by digging a one-foot-deep hole. Fill the hole with water and time how long it takes to drain. Well-drained soil of fruit trees should drain within three hours to foster growth.

Dig a hole (or use a pot) that is three times larger than the rootball of the Clementine tree sapling. Rinse off an inch of the nursery potting medium to expose the main and secondary roots. Place the rootball in the hole and spread the roots out into the soil. Recover the hole with dirt about halfway up, loosely packed. Water the dirt so that it settles around the roots, then finish filling the hole until it is level with the surface ground.

Add mulch around the base of the tree if you wish, but move the mulch out so that it sits at least one foot away from the tree trunk. Use grass mulch or standard garden mulch. Mulch is not necessary for fruit trees if your area already has good soil.

Water the tree every two to three days for the first two weeks. Extend the watering time gradually to every seven to 10 days during the next couple of months.

Design a cold-weather blanket or cover for the trees that can be easily placed over the leaves and fruit for protection in extremely low temperatures. Use this regularly to protect the trees from frost damage as winter comes.


If you start the tree indoors and move it outside, repot the tree only while it's in "resting" season, not full fruit-bearing season. Store picked Clementines at room temperature.


Clementine trees may vary their production quantity---one year may be a large crop, the next year may be a smaller crop.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Clementine sapling
  • Mulch (if desired)
  • Cold cover
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