Calamondin Orange Tree

The calamondin orange tree (Citrofortunella microcarpa) is hardy, attractive, fragrant, and does very well indoors. It is a cross between a mandarin orange and a kumquat but with thinner skin.

This plant with its glossy green leaves is decorative as well as productive, bearing edible fruits for months. It is an irresistible plant with clusters of sweet-smelling white flowers and small round oranges about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter.

The fruit is healthy and delicious with  a very sour pulp that is often substituted for lemons and limes. You can use it in juices,  for cooking, in marmalade, seafood, meats, sauces, and to complement teas. It is also delicious eaten in its natural straight from the tree.

The fruit is a very versatile, low-calorie, healthy treat rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and calcium.

Calamondins are very effective as home remedies for everything from a topical treatment for acne and skin irritation, for insect bites, and a skin bleach to fade freckles. It is also used as a body deoderant and as a hair conditioner. The distilled oil from the leaves are used to help some digestive disorders.

 Calamondin Orange Tree Fruit

calamondin orange tree

You can successfully grow a healthy, productive tree indoors; however, it usually won't grow over 3' in height or width. Typically, blossoms and fruit form after the tree is two years old. Provide good light and adequate humidity, proper watering, a well drained potting soil, and fertilizer.

You can harvest fruit year-round, but pick the fruit when it is half-ripe (yellowing, tinged with green) and let it ripen off the vine. It is often better this way as it takes a long time (up to a year) for the color to set in fully on the tree. Plus, the longer the fruit is left on the tree, it may become overripe, dry, and tasteless.

How to Care for Your Miniature Orange Tree  

Light: This citrus tree prefers bright sunlight, so be sure to put it in front of a sunny window.  Leave it outside during warm months. If you need to use artificial light, be sure to get full spectrum or "grow" lights. A great place to find the fixture would be at garden center.

Watering: Place your calamondin orange tree in a container and water it as needed. Allow the top one-inch of soil to dry out completely between watering times. In high light and warm temperatures
it may need to be watered 2 or 3 times per week. Water thoroughly until water flows from the drainage holes. After watering remove the excess water from the drip tray.

Humidity:  Mist plant with water of place on a humidity tray.

Fertilizer:  Use organic fertilizers, such as seaweed extract fertilizers, as a balance to the salt based products (the artificial ones).  Feed sparingly, about every five weeks, with a citrus fertilizer during winter months. Leach plants to remove excessive build-up.

Soil: Sterilized potting soil.  It should be fertile soil with 1/3 of the soil mix being perlite or vermiculite to keep the soil from getting waterlogged.

Repotting:  If the plant has been in the same pot for a few years it probably needs to be transplanted into a slightly larger pot with a good root pruning at the same time.

Propagate:  Use stem cuttings by slicing off the cutting just under a leaf and remove the leaves near the base of the cutting. Be sure to use a clean sharp knife or razor blade.   Place end of cutting in a mixture of damp sand and peat moss and place in plastic bag.  Spray sand often to keep damp while cutting is taking root.

Calamondin also is popular as a decorative shrub that can be treated like a big bonsai with color.  In addition it makes a wonderful gift.

› Calamondin Orange Tree

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