March 20th, 2021 | Updated on December 4th, 2021
Oranges are tender, sweet, citrus fruits that perennially grow on trees; both full and small dwarf trees to be more precise. They are summer fruits that are very sensitive to the cold and only grow in warm weather.
Learning to grow oranges at home is worthwhile, especially when the trees begin to produce fruits.
Taking care of oranges is not a complex activity so long as the home gardener follows the proper steps to take care of the plant to keep it healthy and increase its yield.
When To Plant Oranges
Oranges should be planted at least six weeks after the last frost when the soil and air are consistently warm.
People who live in the commercial citrus belt that extends from southern California to Florida have the liberty to plant orange trees at any time of the year due to the constant warmth. People in other areas have to wait after winter to plant their trees.
The common varieties of oranges include:
- Trovita is a sturdy orange that does well in cooler climates
- Valencia oranges that originate from orange county in California are commonly used for freshly squeezed juice
- Blood or ruby oranges that are small in size with few seeds have a fragrant red flesh with a complex aromatic flavor
- Sour oranges that include Seville and willowleaf oranges are ideal for marmalade
- Washington navel oranges are large and easy to peel
Planting The Trees
One can start growing oranges in pots before transferring them to the earth. Shorter trees like Valencia oranges can stay indoors in smaller planters or containers.
Indoor germination is good since it helps control the plant’s growth before transplantation.
Once it is time to transfer the young tree, one should carefully uproot it while leaving the root ball undisturbed.
Next, dig a deep hole in well-drained soil that is a little bit larger than the root ball. Finally, place the tree in the hole and cover the root ball with soil. One should water the tree every week.
Oranges are tender plants and require extensive care to produce abundantly. The following gardening tips will help have a plentiful harvest.
1. Water Well
At the start, orange plants need to be frequently watered to grow well. The best practice is to add about an inch of water weekly, depending on the soil’s moisture.
If the ground feels dry, then one should add an extra inch of water. The soils should not be saturated with water, and they should be moist, not wet.
2. Use Good Soil
Orange plants can grow in various soils. For optimal growth and health of the plant, the soil should have good drainage with a PH between 5.0 and 6.5. Additionally, the soil should be rich in loam that is a combination of silt, sand, and clay.
The best ratio for the loam soil is around 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay. The same soil that is used in the pot indoors should be used outdoors in the transplantation.
3. Use A Natural Or Organic Pesticide And Fertilizer
Like any other fruit plant, orange plants are prone to pests like spider mites, aphids, and borers.
It is inevitable for insects or bugs to eat the fruits, and the best remedy is to use organic, non-invasive pesticides or prepare natural pesticides at home.
It is best to fence or net the garden area to prevent larger animals or critters from getting to the plant.
It is also important to fertilize the soil. The compost’s organic material activates the soil contents, including healthy bacteria, fungi, and minerals.
The fertilizer promotes immunity in the orange plants while extending the life of the crops. Although an individual can fertilize the soil with other organic matter, they should not use mulch.
4. Weed Frequently
Controlling the growth of weeds around the orange plant is an essential step or maintaining the plant. Weeding should be done daily as a routine.
The best time to weed is in the morning, when the gardener can easily remove the seeds due to the soil’s dampness. The significant advantage of weeding is that it prevents diseases like citrus cankers from attacking the orange plant.
Pruning the orange plants between the growing seasons is essential for continuous growth and fruit-bearing.
The best time to do the pruning is in late winter or early spring before the next harvest starts to bud. Pruning the following year helps shape the plant.
The third-year pruning should be done on the branches that yielded fruit the previous year. It is also essential to remove any flowers, brown leaves, and dead or dying branches frequently.