Inside orange trees…

GreenOranges My DIL, Lorna, gave me an orange tree for mother's day this year. It's especially nice because she did it – not my son, Chris. It's rare that it is a married son who is in charge of this sort of thing – wives are more often in charge of gifting. I know my husband is not the one of us who shops. So I am thankful to have two wonderful DILs who cover for my sons.

  GreenOranges-02Anyway… the orange tree survived the summer out by the pool in a concrete pot. The grasshoppers ate a lot of the leaves in late summer before I figured out what was going on so the tree's short some leaves. I am not good with inside plants but I didn't want to just let the tree die in the first freeze so Steve helped me get it inside last week. It has/had several green oranges on it and I cut a few off this morning. They are little and very tart – not really edible at this stage.

I decided that the tree might not be loving the concrete pot it was in so I repotted it in a ceramic pot. I had to take the root ball down by about 1/3. I know that that is probably not the best thing I could have done, but I did it anyway (this could be why I'm not good with inside plants).

I have questions for those of you who might know how I can keep this tree alive until next summer:

It's in my studio with the day-light florescent bulbs and it's near a window but it isn't going to get direct light in my house. How often should I water it?

Should it get that blue water soluable fertilizer through the winter? How often?

There are still 4 green oranges on it – should I cut them off now? It seems like the plant ought to quit focusing on making fruit at this point and focus on being alive.

It's dropped a few leaves. Some are curling a little but so far it's not looking near death. If you look closely at the upper right quadrant you can tell where the grasshoppers ate the most leaves.

I appreciate in advance any advice.

Here's one last image… I liked this detail shot of green oranges!

GreenOranges-Detail

10 thoughts on “Inside orange trees…

  1. Oh yeah, and leave the fruit that’s already on the tree there. They take a long time to ripen. These may be the only ones you ever get ( I hope I am wrong on this)

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  2. I have lived in FL for almost 20 years, and do not understand orange trees. But, the neighbor’s tree has green fruit on it. In November, after our first cool spell (40’s).

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  3. Hi Becky – I’m a native Miamian and grew up around farmers my entire life. My Mom (a farmer’s daughter) currently has avacados, key limes, mangos, papaya, mamey, etc. all growing/thriving in her yard. However, she has not been able to successfully cultivate an orange tree. I’m sharing this with you so that you realize what you have taken on is not easy so please don’t be too hard on yourself if the tree doesn’t make it or if it doesn’t bear fruit. I can tell you that citrus needs the outdoor elements including lots of bees when the tree blossoms (orange blossom honey is a real treat if you ever come across it). Then when the fruit appears it needs the cold snap for the fruit to turn sweet. When we get a nice cold snap (almost but not quite freezing) the firt thing I think about is how sweet the oranges will be!
    Enjoy the beautiful gift from your DIL and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
    Best stitches,
    Mercy in Miami

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  4. I was thinking a protected area outside and planted in the ground with lots of mulch around the base for any chance of making it through winter. Trees do need the ouside elements and water throughout winter. Wishing you luck.

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  5. Im happy to hear that if the tree does not survive the winter its not necessarily my fault. I wish I could leave it outside but we get too many freezes here in north Texas.

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  6. I wrote a very long post about how your tree needs to be outside to flower, fruit & flourish….have no idea what happened to it. Usually citrus trees blossom in the spring (that great aroma) then you get the fruits from the blossoms and it takes from the spring until Nov.-March before they ripen. Oh, I’m also a Floridian, and I can vouch for everything everyone else already said.

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  7. Becky, I have a tomato plant in the same situation. I planted it in a ceramic pot like yours so my daughter would have one plant to watch grow. But I bought it late in the year and never saw any tomatoes. It has gotten huge and I brought it inside to save it from the freezes (I am in Pottsboro). It has 3 tiny tomatoes now. I just give it enough water to keep the dirt moist (but I don’t know what I am doing either!) I wish you luck!

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  8. My husband has successfully kept a meyer lemon tree alive and had several problems like you are asking about. His luck changed when he started using Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Spikes for fruit and citrus trees. His tree is in a pot also and he moves it in and out in winter and spring. He said to use one spike. Break it in half and put the halves on opposite sides of the tree. Good luck our meyer lemons are delicious.

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