Are Orange Trees Easy To Grow? How to Grow an Orange Tree in Pots
Orange trees can be a rewarding addition to your garden or as potted plants, but they do require some care and attention. They are considered subtropical and grow best in US Zones 9-11. Sweet oranges, such as Valencia and Washington Navel, appreciate a consistent routine of daily full sun, moderate temperatures and regular watering in order to produce fruit to its fullest potential. With proper care, a semi-dwarf orange tree can start fruiting by year 4-5. Here are some steps to help you grow your own orange tree in a pot:
Selection: Our grafted semi-dwarf orange trees are perfect for citrus container growing. The rootstock that the tree is grafted onto will help keep it small and compact. A standard orange tree can reach heights of 15', whereas a semi-dwarf tree will stay between 6-10' with annual pruning and maintenance. Select a variety that works best for your climate.
Choose an Appropriate Pot: Use a large pot with good drainage holes. For a Primo sized tree, start with a 10-14" pot. Ensure it's made of a durable material like terra cotta or plastic and has plenty of drainage holes. Click here to see our pots/ planters.
Potting Mix: Use a well-draining, chunky potting mix like our Primo Potting Mix, which is 2 parts orchid bark and 1 part orchid soil mix.
Planting: Plant your orange tree in the pot at the same depth it was in its nursery container. Gently and carefully shake the old soil from the roots. Water deeply after planting. (Click here to read about Deep Watering vs. Overwatering of Citrus Trees)
Sunlight: Place the potted orange tree in a location where it will receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. A south facing location is ideal.
Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Adjust the frequency based on the climate and the pot's size. You will have to water more in the summer and less in the winter.
Fertilization: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer suitable for citrus trees. Follow the manufacturer's instructions, typically applying in spring and late summer. We recommend Romeo Fertilizer and G&B Organics Citrus and Fruit Tree Fertilizer.
Pruning: Prune your orange tree to maintain its shape and size. Remove dead or diseased branches and any growth that crosses or crowds the center. Wait until early spring to do your main pruning. Click here to read about citrus pruning.
Pest and Disease Control: Keep an eye out for pests like aphids, scale insects, or mites. Treat any infestations promptly with products like neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Cold Protection: If you live in a region with cold winters, bring your potted orange tree indoors or provide frost protection during the colder months. You can read more about doing that here.
Repotting: As your orange tree grows, you may need to repot it every 2-3 years into a slightly larger container to accommodate its root system.
Harvesting: Depending on the variety, oranges typically take 6-12 months to ripen. Harvest when the fruits are fully colored and feel firm but slightly springy to the touch.
Remember that growing orange trees in pots can be more challenging than planting them in the ground because they are more sensitive to environmental changes. Consistent care and attention to their needs will help ensure a healthy and fruitful orange tree.