Wife and I are retiring to Florida, north of Orlando 50 miles. We have
a home that has plenty of space for several (6 or more) citrus trees,
particularly if they are dwarf varieties. Having NEVER grown citrus, is
there anything I should be careful of when choosing varieties? Do dwarf
trees produce well enough to supply fruit for the two of us? Is
cross-pollination necessary or desireable? Any problems with the root
system close to concrete sidewalks or foundations? We are interested in
growing lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Should we consider
others, like tangerines, etc? What kind of maintenance is there? Any
help would be appreciated. We are looking forward to gardening in a
relatively frost free area--for a change.
It would be neat to choose varieties that aren't commonly sold in local
supermarkets - I mean, the fruits that are expensive at the grocers. I'm
not in Florida, but, maybe blood oranges (which are red), pomelo (larger
than grapefruit, and taste nicer) (but I hate grapefruit...), temple
Definitely! With that many trees you may be sending home-made marmelade
If you like tangerines - of course! The true clementines are the best (I
think so, anyway).
Citrus tend to be heavy feeders and need micronutrients - but I'm sure
you'll be able to buy citrus fertilizer in Florida.
* * *
Marj Tiefert: http://www.mindspring.com/~mtiefert/
Mediterranean Garden Shop: http://stores.tiefert.com/garden /
In Sunset zone 14-mild
I'm in Jacksonville, and have several neighbors that get plenty of oranges
and navel oranges from their trees. Lemons, grapfruits, pears, and peaches
all do pretty good on our side of the river.
with proper protection for that frosty night that is.
I probably was a little conservative in my recommendations to the Weilers,
but I've lost three fruit trees due to simply planting varieties that were
inappropriate for my climate. If they choose to plant varieities that are
borderline-hardy for their area, I'd like for them to do so as a result of
an informed decision.
Mr. Weiler is at least somewhat aware of the climate - he said "relatively"
frost-free. But he may not really understand how cold it can get on
occasion when a really strong front comes through. I'd hate for them to just
run to the nursery and buy whatever trees look nice, then lose half of them
BTW, I'm over in Panama City - we get quite a bit colder over here than you
do in Jax. The cold fronts usually weaken *a lot* between my place and
yours. During that record cold spell we had in January, it got down to 12-14
degrees one night, and in the upper teens for two nights thereafter! I even
had to protect my Owari Satsuma Mandarin, because it is only hardy to about
Still, I'm thinking about planting more citrus trees on the south side of my
house, near a brick wall. That location should give the tree about 5 degrees
worth of cold protection.
Specifially, I am thinking of one of the hardier oranges or navel oranges.
Grapefruit would probably be OK in a protected area like that, too, but I
don't eat them enough to justify the space for a tree. Possibly an Improved
Meyer lemon, since they are much hardier than other lemons. But if I plant
those trees, I'll need to have a plan for serious protection - complete
covering plus supplemental heating - when it gets really cold.
I'd love a lime tree, but they are so tender I could only have a small one
in a container, so I can bring it in for the winter.
I have a peach tree, two dwarf weeping Santa Rosa plum trees, and two apple
trees - a Dorsett Golden and an Anna. The peach tree bore this year for the
first time - it's a "donut" peach. The fruit was very small (and not much of
it, since the tree is still small), but it was extremely good. The plums I
planted as whips in 2002; they put on a few blooms this year but did not set
any fruit. The apples I just planted this spring, so they probably won't
bear for 2-3 years.
I'm thinking hard about a pear tree and/or a fig tree. But I still have to
leave room for those blueberry bushes I want. :-)
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