How to care for orange tree

How to Grow and Care for Orange Trees

When you mention citrus, most people probably picture an orange. The orange tree is one of the most recognized citrus trees featuring a full, leafy canopy and fragrant flower display. Best of all is the delicious fruit produced during the growing season. A full size trees can grow to 32 feet tall, with dwarf varieties reaching about 12 feet in height. Orange trees can be kept even smaller when planted in containers, which makes them great for indoor gardening as well.

Orange trees are notable for white blooms that appear in summer followed by their famous fruit. Although the fruit is delicious, the plan, itself, is known to be toxic to pets.  

 Common Name  Orange tree
 Botanical Name  Citrus sinensis
 Family  Citrus
 Plant Type  Tree, Fruit
 Size  30 ft. tall (full size), 12 ft. tall (dwarf), 30 ft. wide (full size), 12 ft. wide (dwarf)
 Sun Exposure  Full
 Soil Type  Loamy, Well-drained
 Soil pH  Acidic, Neutral
 Bloom Time  Summer
 Flower Color  White
 Hardiness Zones  9-11 (USDA)
 Native Area  Asia
 Toxicity  Toxic to pets

How to Plant Orange Trees

Orange trees are a popular fruit tree to grow and easy to care for when provided with the right conditions. 

When to Plant

These trees can be planted at any time of year in warm climates, like southern Florida where they represent a major food crop. For cooler climates with significant seasonal variations, they grow better when planted in spring or summer which allows them to acclimate before cooler weather arrives.  

Selecting a Planting Site

Orange trees require plenty of sunshine and warmth; key factors for producing sweeter fruit. They are susceptible to wind damage so some protection is needed. Since these trees can grow fairly large, depending on variety, space them about 20 feet apart. For dwarf varieties, 10 feet should be sufficient.

Orange Tree Plant Care 


Orange trees require plenty of sunshine and warmth to produce the best tasting fruits, so choose a spot that receives full sun for 8 hours a day. For dwarf varieties grown indoors, place them in a sunny window. 


Orange trees thrive in loamy, rich, well-draining soil. It is important that excess water drains away, as orange trees cannot tolerate heavy, wet soil. When planting these trees, you can mix in potting soil for additional nutrients. Slightly acidic to neutral soil pH levels from 6.0 to 7.0 work best.


Orange trees need consistent watering but don't tolerate soggy soil. Drainage can be improved by building up a small mound at the bottom of the planting hole. Established orange trees do best with about 1 inch of water a week. How often you water will depend on the amount of rainfall you receive. 

Temperature and Humidity

Orange trees thrive in subtropical regions with warm temperatures and moderate humidity levels. They can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11 and begin to go dormant when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.


When grown in cooler areas, orange trees need fertilizer every month or two during the growing season. In warmer zones, such as 10 and 11, fertilizing year round encourages continual growth and fruit production. 

For young trees, start with a small amount of fertilizer, about half-strength. Once the tree matures, give it full strength fertilizer, spread out around the tree all the way to the drip line. It is best to use a well-balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, or one specifically designed for citrus trees.  


Orange trees are self-fertile and do not require another orange tree to produce fruits. However, including more than one orange tree in your garden will attract more pollinators which can increase fruit production.  

Types of Orange Trees

  • Navel Orange: Navel oranges are a common varieties often found in grocery stores. They are easily identifiable for their navel-like marking at the bottom of each fruit. This variety is sweet, seedless, and enjoyed both for its juice and as a snacking fruit. 
  • Blood Orange: Known for their unique red coloring and sweet flavor, these oranges are a popular ingredient in prepared dishes and good for snacking.
  • Valencia Orange: Another common variety, Valencia oranges contain a high juice content ideal for juicing. They do have seeds.

Harvesting Oranges

Harvesting oranges is easy and fun. Once the oranges are bright and consistent in color, firm with a slight give, and fragrant they are ripe and ready to eat. Gently pull them from the branch, or use snips to cut the fruit from its stem. Just be sure it is ready, as oranges do not ripen after they are picked. Store oranges in the refrigerator. They should last a few weeks. 

How to Grow Orange Trees in Pots

Dwarf orange trees are popular fruit trees to keep in pots. This is a great option if you live in climates colder than those recommended for growing citrus. A potted tree can be brought indoors before cold temperatures hit. Choose a deep pot with plenty of good drainage holes to accommodate the root system.


Pruning following fruit harvest will benefit the following season's crop. In the cooler regions of their growing zones, orange trees are best pruned in the fall after fruiting and before cold temperatures arrive. In warmer regions where temperatures are consistent year-round, pruning can be done almost anytime, but is most effective before new growth begins in spring.  

Pruning for shape is optional but not necessary. It is important to prune away damaged or dead branches and any branches that cross each other. This keeps the tree healthy and provides good airflow and light. For young trees, remove branches that are less than a foot above the ground. 

Propagating Orange Trees

Orange trees can be propagated through cuttings. This is best done in the late spring or early summer while the tree is producing new growth. To do this, you need a sharp pair of snips, a pot with rich, well-draining soil, rooting hormone, and a plastic bag. Then follow these instructions: 

  1. Select a branch tip that is around 6 inches long with healthy leaves. Cut the branch below a leaf node at a 45-degree angle. 
  2. Remove leaves on the lower half of the cutting. Remove any blossoms or developing fruit. 
  3. Score the bark with a clean knife near the cut end of the cutting to encourage root growth. 
  4. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone. Shake away access powder. 
  5. Moisten the soil, then poke a hole in the center to plant the cutting. 
  6. Plant the cutting in the hole and firmly press the soil around it. 
  7. Place the plastic bag over the cutting to keep the humidity levels up. Place the pot in a warm area that receives bright, indirect light.  
  8. Allow the bag to breathe daily and check the soil moisture. Keep it moist, but not wet. 
  9. Remove the bag after a week or so and allow the cutting to acclimate to average humidity levels. Keep the soil moist. 
  10.  After roots form, move the cutting outdoors to a partially shaded, protected area. This may take several months. Once outside, slowly expose the cutting to more and more sun until it can be planted in direct sunshine.

How to Grow Orange Trees From Seed

Orange trees can be started from seed, though it is important to note that seeds may not produce trees with the same characteristics as their parent plant. If you wish to start a tree from seed, you will need a bowl of water, a tray or small pot with rich potting soil, and a plastic bag. Then follow these instructions: 

  1. Before planting the seeds, soak them in a bowl of water for at least 24 hours. Dispose of seeds that float, only planting those that stay below the water. 
  2. Plant the soaked seeds in the rich potting soil about 1 inch deep. 
  3. Place the pots in a warm area and keep the soil moist. Place the plastic bag over the pot to keep the humidity levels up. Allow the bag to breathe daily, checking the soil moisture. 
  4. Once the seeds germinate, remove the bag.
  5. Place the seedlings in an area that receives bright light. Grow lights may be needed. 
  6. Repot each seedling into its own container and keep them in bright light. 

Potting and Repotting Orange Trees

Orange trees need to be repotted about every 2 to 4 years, depending on your tree. Check for signs that the tree has outgrown the container, such as stunted growth or roots coming out of the drainage holes. Repotting is best done in the spring before new growth appears.  

To repot your tree, tip the container onto its side. Tap the outside of the pot to loosen the roots, then grasp the trunk close to the soil and gently slide it out. Place the tree into a container that is several inches larger than the previous one and fill it in with new, rich soil. Press the soil around the tree and give it water. 


When orange trees are grown in their appropriate growing zones, not much is needed to overwinter. Simply remove any leftover fruit and cut back on watering. If there is a threat of frost, you may wish to insulate the tree with frost cloths. For trees grown in areas outside their growing zones, you will need to move the tree indoors before heavy frosts begin.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Like many fruit-bearing plants, orange trees are prone to specific pests and diseases. Pests that commonly attack orange trees include aphids, scale, and spider mites. Different fungal and bacterial diseases can affect the trunk, leaves, and fruit. These include things like citrus canker, melanose, and root rot. 

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Orange. (n.d.). ASPCA. Retrieved from


Care & Maintenance of an Orange Tree | Home Guides

By Diane Watkins Updated December 10, 2018

Native to China and India, oranges (Citrus sinensis) have been cultivated in the United States since the early 1700s. Valued for their fragrant white flowers in the spring and nutritious fruit in late fall and winter, orange trees are suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 through 11. With good care, the tree grows to be approximately 20 to 30 feet tall and has a naturally well-rounded shape. Orange trees need full sun and well-drained soil to thrive.


Newly planted trees benefit from the addition of a watering basin around the tree. A ridge of soil creates a berm to hold water and allow it to soak into the soil immediately surrounding the tree. Newly planted trees need to be watered once or twice a week to keep the soil moist but not wet. Established trees need water every week or two, depending on the weather and soil type. Hot weather and sandy soils require frequent watering. Wet, soggy soils and standing water can kill the tree.


Orange trees need light fertilizing with a high nitrogen fertilizer during the first year. The University of California Cooperative Extension recommends applying 1 tablespoon of ammonium sulfate monthly during the spring and summer. Older trees need 1/2 cup of ammonium sulfate per application for every year of tree age, up to a maximum of 4 cups. Four applications, spread four to six weeks apart, are needed. A citrus formula fertilizer can also be used according to label directions.

Mineral Deficiencies

Iron or zinc deficiencies can be a problem in areas with alkaline soils. Symptoms of deficiency include yellow leaves with green veins. Chelated zinc or iron sprays applied directly to the foliage provide the missing minerals.


Citrus trees need pruning only to remove dead branches and limbs that cross or touch the ground. Removing interior branches allows light to penetrate the tree and promotes better air circulation. Suckers or "water sprouts" need to be removed, especially those arising from the roots or below the tree graft. Pruning can be done at any time, but pruning after fruit harvest prevents crop reductions.

Harvesting Fruit

Citrus fruit begins to turn orange in the fall, but they are not fully ripe until later in the winter, depending on the variety. Color is not the best indicator of when to pick fruit, as ripe citrus often have green spots. Citrus ripens over the winter and benefits from remaining on the tree until full sweetness is attained. Taste is the best indicator of ripeness. Fruit left on the tree too long overripens and dries out. Freezing weather also damages fruit.

Protection From Sun

Young trees are susceptible to sun damage until the foliage grows in enough to protect the trunk. A thin coating of whitewash or interior latex paint thinned with an equal quantity of water protects the tree from sun damage. Commercial tree wraps are also available.

Cold Protection

Sustained temperatures below freezing damage young trees, flowers and fruit quickly; but mature orange trees are cold hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. During periods of sustained freezing weather, trees can be protected by covering them with a tarp or blankets. The addition of a few strings of outdoor lights adds warmth under nonflammable tarps or plastic coverings. The covers should be peeled back or removed immediately once the weather warms.


  • University of California Cooperative Extension: Citrus for the Home Garden
  • Purdue Agriculture: Orange Sinensis
  • Texas Citrus and Subtropical Fruits: Home Fruit Production--Oranges
  • Floridata: Citrus Sinensis

Writer Bio

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.

Room orange - Citrus sinensis. Orange care, cultivation

Orange or Orange tree (lat. Citrus sinensis) is an evergreen tree of the Rut family, originally from China. These beautiful trees were grown in China as early as 200 BC.

The Portuguese brought the orange tree to Europe in the 15th century, and at first only aristocrats could taste the sweet fruit. Orange came to Russia only in the 17th century and became an exquisite delicacy of the nobles.

Orange fruits contain a whole complex of vitamins. Orange juice is recommended for the treatment of hypovitaminosis, vascular and liver diseases, and metabolic disorders. These citrus fruits contain special substances, pectins, which improve the functioning of the large intestine and the digestive process in general.

Potted oranges are small evergreen trees. Mature plants reach a height of 1-2 m. They bloom with fragrant white flowers. Fruiting of indoor oranges usually begins at the age of 3-5 years, depending on the variety.

Indoor orange - popular varieties :

Pavlovsky orange : ornamental low-growing variety, up to 1m high. The fruits ripen within 7-9 months. Propagated in March by cuttings.

Gamlin : medium-sized, early maturing variety. The height of an adult plant rarely exceeds 1.5 m. The fruits have juicy pulp, few seeds, and taste sweet and sour. They ripen in late autumn.

Washington Navel Orange : Early maturing, medium-sized variety, most common in indoor gardening. The height of an adult tree reaches 1-2 m. It blooms in spring with white fragrant flowers at 3-4 years of age. The fruits are juicy, sweet and sour, weighing up to 200-300 g. Propagated by cuttings.

You can buy indoor orange and Washington Navel seedlings in our store

Lighting : Orange is a light-loving plant. The optimal place for growing is near the southern and eastern windows. In order to avoid burns on the leaves in a particularly hot time, it is better to shade the tree. For uniform development of the crown, wrap the pot with the plant around the axis. Sunlight for an orange tree is especially important during fruit ripening, with a lack of light, the fruits become less sweet.

In summer, it is desirable to take the orange tree out into the open air: balcony, terrace, garden. Fresh air will give strength to your pet.

Temperature : The optimum temperature for budding and flowering is 15-18°C. At a higher temperature (about 25-28°C) intensive growth of this heat-loving tree begins. Indoor orange does not tolerate cold, so make sure that the temperature does not fall below 5 ° C.

Humidity: In order for your tree to feel comfortable, it needs to be sprayed periodically (at least once a day). Humidity is especially relevant for a plant in rooms with dry air.

Watering : In spring and summer the orange should be given plenty of water. The plant does not tolerate overdrying of the soil. In autumn, watering is reduced from 1 time per day to 2 times a week.

Top dressing : Start fertilizing the orange in spring with ready-made fertilizers for citrus fruits or diluted in water (1 to 20) and infused for a week with chicken manure.

Transfer remove the plant from the pot with an earthy clod and place it in a larger pot, adding the required amount of soil. It is not recommended to transplant an orange tree during flowering or fruiting. Therefore, you need to do this in the spring, before the start of the growing season.

Transplantation of fruiting oranges is carried out no more than 1 time in 2-3 years. The soil for transplantation is prepared from a mixture of soddy, leafy soil, humus, sand in a ratio of 2: 1: 1: 1 for young seedlings and in a ratio of 3: 1: 1: 1 for adult plants.

Important : Make sure the plant has good drainage.

Cutting and shaping . You need to cut off the branches growing inside the crown, which thicken it. It is also necessary to cut off weak and strongly elongated shoots. On the branches of the first order, a couple of branches of the second order are left, on the branches of the second - three to five branches of the third. On branches of the fourth order, orange fruits are usually formed.

Orange blossom . The fragrant aroma will immediately remind you of the presence of an orange tree. Orange blooms with white fragrant flowers, usually in summer, sometimes flower buds are tied at other times of the year.

Fruiting : Orange begins fruiting at 3-4 years of age. In order for the plant to feel comfortable and have the strength to develop and bear fruit, it is necessary to cut off about half of the buds. When the orange first blooms, leave 3-4 ovaries. In older plants (4-6 years old), 5-7 ovaries can be left.

Propagation : Oranges are usually propagated by cuttings, seeds and grafting. But if you want to get juicy fruits with a rich taste, then it is better to buy an indoor orange seedling in a specialized store. The fact is that an orange grown from a seed begins to bear fruit after about 15 years, and cuttings are difficult to root.

Diseases and pests . The orange tree is most often affected by scale insects and spider mites.

A good remedy against scale insects is to wipe the leaves and branches with a cotton swab dipped in emulsion: 2 tbsp. spoons of washing powder, 40 g of laundry soap, diluted in 1 glass of water. 3-4 hours after wiping, wash off the composition from the tree, making sure that the water with the emulsion does not enter the soil. Repeat the treatment 2 more times within 2 weeks.

Soap suds help against spider mites. Treat the leaves and branches of the plant once a month. After processing (when the tree dries), wash off the foam in the shower, after covering the ground with a plastic bag.

Room orange in winter . In the autumn-winter period, limit watering, remove the plant away from heating appliances. If the plant is at rest, then the temperature should be maintained at 10-12°C.

Interesting facts about the orange : In the Middle Ages, orange peel was used to cure fever, orange juice served as a remedy for scurvy, oranges were used for intestinal and kidney diseases.


How to properly care for citrus fruits. Transplantation, cultivation of indoor citrus fruits.

Photo Orange

How to care for an orange tree at home in a pot


  • common varieties
  • Therapeutic properties
  • Settled at home
  • 9
  • Cap Temperature
  • Lighting
  • Watering and spraying

    Common varieties

    Orange belongs to the citrus family Rutaceae. Varieties of the orange tree are classified according to the rate of fruit ripening, taste, shape, size and color of the peel and pulp. You can buy them on the Internet, for example, on Ozon, after studying the reviews about working in the group The most common varieties of oranges are:

    • Washington Navel orange;
    • Gamlin;
    • Salustiana;
    • Verna;
    • Navel Lathe;
    • Kara-Kara;
    • Navelina.

    Also distinguish about 80 hybrids of orange with other fruits.

    House-grown orange tree

    Medicinal properties

    The useful properties of the orange tree and its fruits are distinguished separately, although they do not contradict each other, but rather complement.

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    The tree has a strong trunk, thick bark and an abundant crown. Dense leathery leaves are filled with essential oils. Thanks to this, they purify the air in the room, give a delicate delicate aroma. The phytoncides that the tree emits into the environment can destroy pathogenic bacteria and improve sleep. Therefore, growing an orange tree at home is a prevention of colds and viral diseases for the whole family.

    The fruits of the plant have a lot of useful substances capable of not only preventive measures, but also the treatment of various diseases. The most important component of an orange is vitamin C, slightly less vitamins of groups A, B, E. The fruit also contains minerals, sugars, pectins, essential oils and citric acid.

    Please note! Since oranges are a strong allergen, they should be used with caution by people prone to allergies. Pregnant and lactating women, people with stomach or intestinal ulcers, it is best to exclude fruit from the diet. Also, taking precautionary measures, people with diabetes should consume oranges, as the fruits contain a large amount of sugar.

    The juicy fruits of the orange, loved by many

    How the orange settled at home

    The first description of orange trees is found in China, it is dated approximately 2500 BC. During the Renaissance, this plant first appeared in Europe and quickly gained popularity. The rampant fashion for this citrus fruit has led to the invention of greenhouses - indoor, fully or partially glass rooms designed to grow orange trees.

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    However, not everyone who wanted to grow oranges had the opportunity to build a building from expensive material. It was then that they tried to germinate an orange at home. In addition, this method was great for residents of the northern countries of Europe, for example, England and Sweden. Since then, several varieties of orange trees have been bred to grow and bear fruit successfully in closed, poorly lit areas. Also, these varieties are endowed with increased resistance to frost and stress.

    Please note! Washington orange was bred in the middle of the 18th century. and is the most popular among amateur flower growers. It grows no more than 120 cm in height.

    Caring for an orange tree at home:

    In order for the plant to feel good in conditions different from natural, it is necessary to follow the basic rules. They will bring the plant as close as possible to its native environment.


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    For the successful development of the orange, as well as the uniform growth of shoots and leaves, it is necessary to maintain a temperature not lower than 16 °C and not higher than 28 °C. In order for a homemade orange to bloom and fruit ovaries to appear, during the growing season it is necessary to maintain a temperature not exceeding 17 ° C. As a rule, this time comes in early - mid-spring. During the winter dormant period, the plant is comfortable at a temperature of 12-14 °C.

    Important! If the room temperature exceeds these figures, then it is better to take the orange to a closed balcony, closet or other suitable room.


    The orange tree needs a lot of light. No wonder it is simply called "sunny fruit". It is best to install the pot near a window facing east or west. In this case, the orange will receive the necessary diffused light.

    If it is not possible to install the plant on the east or west side, then you can use the south or north window, but observe additional measures. Direct sunlight can cause burns to the tree, so the light must be shaded and diffused. On the north side, on the contrary, additional lighting may be required.

    Watering and spraying

    Air and soil moisture is an important factor in orange tree cultivation. Orange loves the enemy, but in moderation. The overflow of the plant should not be allowed, as the roots in stagnant water can rot or be subjected to a fungal attack. In hot weather, the plant needs to be watered with settled water once a day. The rest of the time, 2-3 times a week, as the topsoil dries up.

    Important! Air humidity near the plant should be at least 40%, so you should periodically spray water around the orange with a spray bottle.


    Orange soil can be prepared by yourself. Ready-made can be bought in flower or garden stores. To prepare the soil with your own hands, you need to take 1 part of peat, 1 part of river sand and 2 parts of fertile soil. Before planting a plant, the ground must be prepared, that is, heat treated. For this, either high or low temperatures are used. Roasting the soil or its emergency freezing helps to destroy bacteria and pest larvae.

    Important! After heat treatment, it is necessary to wait until the soil reaches room temperature, in order to avoid burns or frostbite of the root system.

    Top dressing

    Feed and fertilize the plant at least once every 15-20 days. In order for indoor orange to develop better, grow new shoots, form buds and fruits, it must be fertilized with minerals and organic fertilizers. Complex preparations are suitable, for example, phytosporin, rotted plants, ash, drunk coffee or tea.

    Winter care

    Keeping an orange tree during its dormant period is reduced to watering and planting in a cooler place. In this case, it is necessary to provide the plant with sufficient lighting. It should be remembered that an orange reacts sharply to a change of scenery, so you need to move it carefully, avoiding a strong difference in the conditions of detention.


    Orange blossoms are white or pale pink. They have long narrow petals, with pronounced stamens and pistil in the center. Bud formation begins in early spring. The flower can last in an unopened state for 3-4 weeks. Then it opens for several days and can form a fruit ovary.

    Orange blossom

    In order for an orange tree to bear fruit, it is necessary to take better care of the plant during the vegetative period. In addition to timely watering and air humidification, an orange needs to be provided with a suitable temperature of 17 ° C and enhanced feeding with nutrients.

    Pruning an orange tree

    The correct formation of the crown of an orange tree is the key to sweet and juicy fruits in the future. Orange grows fast enough, they start shaping the tree from the moment it reaches a height of 0.25 m. Pruning and pinching of shoots is carried out at the moment when the plant moves from a dormant period to an active growth mode.

    Only 3-4 side branches should be left at the first pruning. At the next pruning, two shoots are left on each of the branches. They will begin to give branches that will bear fruit in the future. In subsequent pruning, it remains to follow the shape of the tree and update the branches in a timely manner.

    The plant begins to bloom no earlier than five years after planting. But you need to leave no more than five buds on a young plant. A young orange may not have enough strength to fully grow more fruits.

    Citrus plant pruning plan

    Important! When pruning, it is necessary to use only a sterile and sharp tool, and treat the cut points with garden pitch to avoid infection.


    Orange tree can be propagated at home:

    • by seed germination;
    • rooting cuttings;
    • by grafting on another citrus plant.

    The most common way to grow an orange is to get a sprout from a seed. This method takes less time and requires a minimum of costs. As a planting material, you can take a seed from a ripe orange, rinse it thoroughly, soak for 24 hours and plant it in the ground. The stone deepens by about 1 cm, watered abundantly, covered with a transparent cap and placed in a shaded place. After about 3-4 weeks, the first shoots will appear.

    Please note! Rooting a cutting and grafting to another plant are complex processes that only specialists can perform with a chance of success.


    For proper growth and development, the orange must be replanted annually into larger containers. The diameter of the pot should be increased by 2-3 cm each time. The optimal time to transplant an orange is early spring. It is at this time that he secretes juice that can strengthen all parts. For a proper transplant of a plant, so as not to cause harm, it is necessary to carefully move the tree into a new pot along with the earthen clod in which the roots are located.

    Possible problems in growing an orange tree

    The orange tree is quite capricious. At the slightest violation of the comfortable content, the appearance of the crown will change. Orange can shed the resulting buds or leaves. Also, the leaves may turn pale or begin to dry around the edges.

    Learn more