There’s nothing better than freshly squeezed orange juice, grow your own oranges and you’ll have it whenever you want!
Almost everybody loves oranges! They are juicy and tasty, while being healthy and nutritious. Oranges can be eaten or used to make delicious natural juice.
Oranges are a variety of Citrus, which grow on aesthetically pleasing, evergreen trees. They are not reliably cold hardy in Britain, so are best planted outside in containers and then brought inside for the winter.
In this post, you will learn how to grow and take care of orange trees. You will also learn how to know when your oranges are ready and how to harvest them.
How to Plant Oranges
You can plant oranges by planting seeds or by planting young orange trees. The best way to plant them is to plant young trees because orange trees grown from seeds can take many years to produce fruit. Orange trees grown from young orange trees, especially the hybrid ones, can produce oranges within one or two years.
Note that oranges grow best in zones eight to ten based on USDA classification. You can still grow them outside these zones, but you will probably not get the best results. In the United Kingdom, it is challenging to grow oranges because the climate is generally colder.
Once you buy young orange trees from a good nursery or an online store, you should choose sites that are not exposed to strong winds. The sites should also be away from walls/ large rocks to allow the roots of the trees to spread.
Once you identify several sites, dig planting holes. Make sure the holes are deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots and then set the young orange trees and bury them. Do not cover the trunk when burying them.
How to Care For Orange Trees
You should water your young orange trees as soon as the soil around their roots dries out. You can test if the soil has dried out by sticking a finger into it and checking if there is any moisture. If the land is dry, you should add plenty of water until the soil is soaked. Most home gardeners water their orange trees twice a week.
When your young orange trees grow bigger, you will need to wait for the soil to be completely dry before watering them heavily. This will make it nearly impossible for you to over water them.
Orange trees like bright sunlight and warm temperatures, so it is important to think about when you grow your own. This is why it is best to grow them in late spring so that they can grow rapidly in the months that follow. However, if you live in a region where temperatures are regularly over 38 celsius, you may need to cover your young plants with something to keep them cool.
Orange trees grow really well when they are properly fertilised. You can use manure or organic fertiliser on your orange trees to enable them to grow faster and become more durable. However, when adding fertiliser, you need to add the right amount, the right type and at the right time. So do not just add random amounts of any old fertiliser and expect good results.
It isn’t really necessary to prune orange trees. However, if there are dying or broken branches, you should remove them. You should also remove low-lying branches.
How to Harvest Oranges
Orange trees grown from hybrid orange trees usually take one to two years to start producing oranges. The harvesting period is typically late in summer.
To know if your oranges are ready for eating, observe the colour and taste one or two of those that you think are ripe, you’ll soon know if they aren’t.
This will give you an idea of how much longer you need to wait or if you need to wait any longer. Then gently cup the oranges and pull them off the tree.
Stuck with what to do with your new bounty of oranges? Here are some recipes you might want to try if you can’t eat your entire harvest.
Tips and Common Problems
If you want to grow oranges in a dusty area, regularly remove the dust that will settle on the leaves of your orange trees. This is because dust will reduce the light energy that can be absorbed by the leaves and affect photosynthesis negatively. You can remove the dust by spraying the leaves with water.
Mealybugs might be found under the loose bark of your orange trees or on the underside of your leaves and encourage the growth of sooty mould. Encouraging ladybirds to your garden is the best prevention outside of pesticides.
Scale insects can be found on the underside of your leaves secreting honeydew which encourages the growth of sooty mould. The only prevention is pesticides but make sure you choose a bee-friendly solution.
Alternaria black fungus causes a black fungus to grow inside of your oranges and there is no control for this. Just discard any affected fruit and clear away leaf litter to limit the chances of it spreading.