Culture of Calamondin Orange Trees

Written by d.c. winston
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Culture of Calamondin Orange Trees
(Calamondin Tree in Fruit, Cody Hough, February 2008)

Calamondin oranges, also commonly known as musk lime, acid orange and Panama orange are tropical citrus trees that are native to the Phillipines and China and widely cultivated across Southeast Asia for consumption and use in beverages. In the United States Calamondins are most often grown as an ornamental tree. As an ornamental Calamondins are widely grown as a potted tree or shaped into hedging or bonsai forms in both outdoor and greenhouse settings.

Bloom & Fruit Production

Calamondins, like limes, produce sweetly scented citrus blooms and are capable of seting and producing mature fruit year round.

Fruit Appearance

Calamondins have a thin, smooth peel that is a slightly yellow hue of orange and easily separates from the fruit flesh much like the peel of a tangerine comes away easily from the fruit. Calamondins are roughly the size of a small tangerine or small manadarin orange with the edible portion of the fruit being approximately an inch or two in diameter.

Preferred Climate

Calamondins are cold hardy to -6.67 degrees C and perform better in cooler climates than most all other citrus trees save the kumquat. They perform optimally in the temperature range of 70 up through 32.2 degrees C and they will struggle to bloom and fruit when exposed to temperatures below 12.8 degrees C over an extended period of time.

Light Requirements

Like most citrus plants Calamondins thrive in bright light and require it for optimal bloom and fruiting. During their winter dormancy they can be stored indoors at slightly diminished light levels but get them back into full sun or partial daily shade as soon as outdoor temperatures allow.

Water & Fertilizer Requirements

Water Calamondins carefully as excess watering will rot the roots and invite disease while chronic drought conditions will kill the plant. Let the surface of the soil to dry out to the depth of an inch or so before watering again. Apply weak doses of a good quality water soluble fertiliser such as MiracleGro once a month or every six weeks. Slow release fertiliser added to the soil in the spring such as Osmocote will provide ongoing nutrition for the tree. During the summer growing and fruiting season you can step up to full strength feedings. Wipe down the leaves with a clean wet sponge every few months to lift dust and prevent mites or scale.

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