How to grow a calamansi tree?

Prized for its fruit and ornamental value, the calamansi (Citrofortunella microcarpa) is one of the most important citrus species in the Philippines. Its potential lies in its varied uses. Once familiarity of the fruit is established in other countries, the scope for increasing export and production is large.

Photo by sunnehh

The calamansi tree is evergreen and small, attaining a height of 2-7.5 m at maturity. Its broadly egg-shaped leaves are dark green above and pale green below. The small, white fragment flowers are grouped in clusters. The calamansi fruit is round, with greenish yellow to orange skin which can be easily peeled. There are six to ten segments in a fruit with an orange colored, very acidic juice and each fruit has 4-11 seeds.

The calamansi seed produces plants which originate mainly from the mother tissues giving rise to seedlings which have the same characteristics as the mother tree. For this reason, the calamansi trees in the country are believed to belong to only one variety.

Due to its varied uses, the calamansi is grown on a large-scale in the country. The fruit is commercially processed into bottled concentrate, as a ready-to-drink juice in tetra packs, and as a marmalade. The juice is also very popular as a flavor enhancer for native dishes. As a cleanser and hygienic substance, it can be a stain remover, body deodorant, skin bleach, and hair shampoo.

Calamansi can be used for medicinal purposes. Rubbing the juice on insect bites eliminates itching and irritation. It is taken orally as cough remedy, as a laxative to loosen the bowels, and is combined with pepper to expel phlegm. The roots are used for treatment at childbirth and leaves to cure gas pains. Calamansi is also popular as a potted ornamental plant.

Soil and Climatic Requirements
The calamansi thrives in warm to cool climates with an evenly distributed rainfall of 1,500-2,000 mm/year. It is generally grown in the lowlands. Calamansi can grow over a wide range of soil types from clay loam to limestone to sand. However, it grows best in a slightly acidic, well-drained sandy or clay loam soil rich in organic matter.

Cultural Management
Propagation. The calamansi may be propagated by seed. However, for large scale multiplication of superior trees, propagation by shield budding using calamandrin as rootstock is practiced. Other methods of propagating calamansi are by stem cuttings,marcotting, anf grafting.

Planting/Transplanting. Sow seeds in a seedbed, 1-2 cm apart at a depth of 1cm. transplant to individual containers after four to five months when seedlings are 10-15 cm tall. Field planting should be done during the rainy season. Set the plants at a spacing of 4-6 m apart.

Irrigation. Irrigate during the first dry season after which the trees may depend entirely on rain for their water requirement. If early of-season flowering is desired, heavily water the trees one to two months before normal flowering time. Commercial orchards may employ a drip irrigation system.

Fertilization. During the first year, apply urea at 50-100 g/tree and 200-300 g/ tree during the second year. In the third year when the tree starts bearing fruit commercially, apply 350-400 g complete fertilizer/tree. Correspondingly increase the amount as the tree gets older. Evenly distribute the fertilizer in two applications, one at the onset of the rainy season and another towards the end of the rainy season.

Pruning. Remove diseased, dead interlacing branches.

Pest and diseases. The common pest of calamansi is the fruit fly. The most serious disease is leaf mottling which is transmitted by the insect carrier, Diaphorina citri better known as citrus psylla or jumping plant lice. As a preventive measure, use certified disease-free planting materials and spray trees regularly with an insecticide. Totally remove and burn infected trees.

Harvesting and Post harvest Handling
A three-year-old tree produces. 75 kg fruit; at six years, 10 kg; and at ten years, 50 kg. on the average, calamansi produces 20 t of fruit/ha per year.

Though fruits are available throughout the year, the peak season is from August – October.

Harvest fruits by hand or by clipping with shears.

Pack calamansi fruit in kaings or bamboo baskets lined with banana leaf sheaths or newspaper.

The fruit will keep in good condition for two to three weeks at 8?-10?C and 90% relative humidity.

Reference: Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD)

Calamondin Tree

An ornamental tree with heavy bearing fruit, the Calamondin orange tree produces sweet-sour fruit that can be eaten rind and all.

Calamondin Orange Tree

  • A cold-hardy citrus tree variety that prefers bright sunlight
  • The Calamondin tree is compact and finely textured with small leaves
  • An excellent container plant for growing Calamondins indoors or out
  • A vigorous bearing citrus variety, with year-round fruit production
  • Most tree fruiting takes place between June-November
  • The Calamondin orange tree can fragrantly bloom year long

Calamondin Oranges

  • The citrus fruit resembles a kumquat and mandarin hybrid
  • Seedy, thin-skinned, small, round and orange fruit with a tart flavor
  • An excellent orange citrus fruit for making marmalade
  • The fruit has an edible rind and a sweeter flesh than the tart Kumquat
  • A highly valued citrus in the Asian community, especially as a gift for the Chinese New Year
  • Calamondin fruit is small, red to yellow-orange, and often grow in clusters

Grow Your Own Calamondin Tree

  • The tree you will receive is micro-budded, non-GMO, and about 1.5 feet tall (not including root system) in a 1-gallon plastic pot
  • With proper care, your tree will bear fruit in one year

Learn how to grow calamansi in this guide. Growing calamansi is rewarding due to the citrus-y fragrance of its flowers and the tangy, sweet flavor of its fruits.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11, *can be grown in containers in colder regions

Difficulty: Moderate

Other Names: calamondin, calamondin orange, calamansi, calamandarin, golden lime, kalamunding, kalamansi, Philippine lime, Panama orange, Chinese orange, musk orange, and acid orange.

Family: Rutaceae

Genus: Citrofortunella

Temperature: 60-90 F is optimum growing temperature

Propagation Method: Seeds, cuttings

Calamansi Tree Information

Calamansi is a tropical fruit of citrus family, sized between orange and lime. This small fruit tree grows mostly in South East Asia. It is mainly grown for ornamental purposes in other parts of the world. Calamansi bears smaller fruits than oranges that are sour, a little bit sweeter and juicy in taste.

Also Read: Flowers that Smell like Orange and Lemon

Calamansi Growing Condition

Calamansi tree grows in warm tropical and subtropical climate. The growing conditions are similar to that of other citrus trees, and it requires warm growing conditions.

Requirements for Growing Calamansi


Growing calamansi in full sun is required for healthy growth. Proper exposure to sun and temperature improves productivity.


Calamansi grows well in well-drained soil that doesn’t retain moisture and remains waterlogged.


Water deeply but only when the top layer of soil dries out, calamansi plant doesn’t like wet feet.

How to Plant Calamansi

If your climate is frost-free and remains warm throughout the year, plant it outside. If you live below USDA Zone 9b, it is better to plant it in a container so that you can move it indoors in winter.

Calamansi Care


Fertilize your calamansi plant every other month during the growing period with a liquid fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and potassium.


It starts to bear fruits after two-three years of growing calamansi plant and produce them throughout the year intermittently (*in tropics). You can either harvest them young when the color of peel looks variegated pale green or wait until they fully ripen and resemble orange like color.

Pests and Diseases

Look out for pests that commonly affects other citrus species. Citrus borer, aphids, and fruit flies attack it often. Crinkle leaf and citrus exocortis are main diseases that affect it.

There’s money in growing calamansi as it fruits throughout the year. Moreover there is always a ready market for the crop as it is the most important citrus juice source in the Philippines.

Thirty-five pieces of calamansi are enough to satisfy a person’s daily requirement of 100 milligrams of vitamin C. Fair in calcium, phosphorus and potassium, its juice has acidic properties resembling lemons and limes. It is used to make beverages and to flavor fish (particularly kinilaw), cakes, pies, preserves, sauces, and marmalades, soups and teas. The rind of calamansi is also used as flavorings.

In some instances, the juice is used to bleach ink stains from fabrics. It also serves as a body deodorant. The fruits, on one hand, are fried in coconut oil with various seasonings and are eaten with curry and vegetables. Calamansi is also noted for its medicinal properties.

To get rid of dandruff, the fruits are crushed for shampooing the hair, or the fruit juice applied to the scalp after shampooing. Doing so also eliminates itching and promotes hair growth. Rubbing calamansi juice on insect bite’s banishes the itching and irritation. For problems with constipation, the juice is warmed and diluted with water.

If you have nausea, just squeeze rind near nostril to inhale (the same technique applied for those fainting). For those with cough, colds and sore throat just drink warm calamansi-ade. The leaves, on the other hand, are good for aromatic bath. Two handfuls of chopped fresh leaves are boiled in a big pot of water. The water is then cooled and strained. The decoction is used as bath for the sick person or a mother after childbirth.

In some parts of the world, however, calamansi is prized more for its ornamental value rather than for its fruit. It is often used as a dooryard tree and can tolerate being in a tub or container. This allows people in colder regions to be able to enjoy them as well.

Here in the Philippines, “you can have a year-round supply of this versatile citrus fruit by growing it in your backyard,” suggests Roy C. Alimoane, the director of the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) in Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur. It is easy to grow calamansi.

Generally, a climate with low rainfall and plenty of sunshine is good for the crop. It promotes good flower differentiation, flower and fruit development, and fruit quality.

Calamansi can grow and produce well in a wide variety of soil types, except very light, sandy soils, and heavy clay soils.In general, most fruit trees prefer the soil pH to be between 5.5 and 6.5. Like most citrus, there are several ways of propagating calamansi: budding, cuttings, marcotting, or grafting. The planting materials must be free from diseases so buy only from reliable sources, MBRLC advises.

“If you are planting grafted calamansi, dig a hole at least 40 centimeters in diameter and 40 centimeters deep,” Alimoane instructs. “Set the seedlings into the hole and put back the soil mixed with compost. Water the plants daily.”

Fertilize the plants regularly for these to produce big, luscious fruits. One month after planting, apply 50 to 100 grams (about one handful) of urea and 16-20-0 (mixed) around each tree. Fertilization is done every four months.

Starting on the second year, the fertilizer requirement is increased to 200 to 300 grams (Urea and 16-20-0 mixed) per tree. The tree bears fruit after one to two years. By that time the plants are supplied with complete fertilizer like 12-2412 NPK at the rate of 1.5 kilograms per tree to increase fruit yield. And by the time the tree is 8-10 years old, the fertilizer to be applied should be increased to 2 kilograms to 3 kilograms per tree.

Here’s one pointer when applying fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer properly by mixing it with the soil. Cover the soil around each tree with dry leaves to conserve moisture. Uproot weeds when necessary. Here’s another one. Apply fertilizer to producing trees three times a year. First, during the rainy season before flowering; second, two months after flowering; and the last, after harvesting.

To keep the calamansi trees healthy, they must be protected from pests and diseases. To control citrus bark borers, the trees arc sprayed with EPN 300 solution. Copper fungicide may also be used for the same problem. To prevent the disease from spreading, the infected parts are cut off and burned. Aphid is another harmful pest. To control aphids, the trees are sprayed with either Malathion solution (three tablespoons in 5 gallons water), Methyl Parathion (two tablespoons in 5 gallons water), or Diazinon (three tablespoons in 5 gallons water). If aphids have already attacked, the infected portions can be cut off and burned.

Citrus Production: A Manual for Asian Farmers shares this information: “Maintaining good sanitation in orchard is very important in citrus health management. Twigs and fallen leaves should be collected from under and around the trees, and either buried or burned. “Covering the soil surface with a grass or straw mulch is an effective way of reducing levels of disease, as well as improving the soil.. Covering the soil within 30 centimeters of the trunk with a layer of straw helps prevent infection of the roots with fungus diseases,” it adds.

In harvesting, Alimoane advises to detach the fruits from the branches either manually or using a scissor. “Take care not to damage the branches or the leaves,” he cautions. “You will hare better quality fruit if you leave a portion of the, stem attached to the fruit and do not tear the skin of the fruit when you harvest. You can sell the extra fruits in markets, hotels or restaurants.”

QD Friends- Philippines

Calamondin Tree

Calamondin – x Citrofotunella microcarpa

The Calamondin tree is a hybrid, x Citrofotunella microcarpa and it is one of the best small citrus trees for the home garden.

Readily available for sale at good nurseries and garden centres this is a tree with good glossy green foliage, fragrant flowers and attractive fruit that is used for a variety of purposes.

Sometimes called the Calamondin Orange, or Miniature Orange this is a little misleading, as the fruit is not edible unless cooked, and does not really taste like an orange either.

Landscaping uses

This is tree with both ornamental and culinary uses. The tree itself is attractive with the glossy foliage and colourful fruit.

The fruit is used to make jams, jellies, marmalades etc. It is also used to make and flavour piques and brandies.

Calamondin trees are often grown as standards when grown in containers. The top is pruned to a large ball shape by tip pruning a few times a year.

The Calamondin tree is perhaps the best indoor citrus tree of all.


Calamondin Tree in Flower

Before planting dig over the soil well and add some well rotted compost and aged cow manure.

  • Ensure that the Calamondin tree is planted at the same level in the soil that it was in the container.
  • Firm in and water in well with a liquid seaweed fertiliser to help promote good root growth.
  • Mulch around the plant to maintain moisture and a cool root run.
  • If planting in a container use a good quality potting mix with moisture retentive additives. Use a container that is of a good size, look for a deep container at around 70cm across.


  • Sunny position.
  • Well drained humus rich soil.
  • Look for a position that is not subject to strong winds.
  • Fertilise in spring and again in summer with general purpose citrus fertiliser.
  • When fertilising keep the fertiliser away from the base of the trunk.
  • Always water before and after fertilising.

Calamondin Tree

This little orange tree has both decorative fruit and fragrant flowers – sometimes both at once. It is a Calamondin – a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin, and is the easiest citrus tree to grow indoors. It can bring pleasure for years with the right care.

Citrus trees, like lots of light and a cool but not cold room. A light room near a window or a conservatory is ideal. In winter, try and keep your tree away from central heating and in the summer protect it from strong direct sunlight. In the heat of summer you can give your plant a holiday. Put it outside on a sheltered patio and it will enjoy the fresh air. Bring it back inside when there is a nip in the evening air. Your plant will start to suffer in temperatures below 8C.

Water thoroughly from the top once or twice a week (more in hot weather) and let the excess water drain away. The roots should not be left to stand in water. A citrus feed added to the water every couple of weeks can also help to maintain a healthy plant.

These dwarf trees can grow to a maximum of two metres, producing masses of fruit every year. The fruits of this tree are very tart. However they make a refreshing and unusual addition to cold drinks, they can be used in place of other citrus in fish and game dishes and make a wonderful marmalade!

Overwatering, underwatering and shock can all be the cause of leaf drop. One or two leaves is not something to worry about but more than 10 and your plant is not happy. However, in most cases, return to a regular watering routine and temperature will lead to recovery. If the new growth on your plant is very light in colour or has a mottled look, it is likely that your plant is lacking one of the trace elements. A good citrus feed added when watering should soon colour the leaves up.In the unlikely event that you find any pests (eg. aphids or caterpillars) on your plant use a soft soap or pest spray to wash off the offending creatures and pick off any damaged leaves to keep the plant tidy.

The fruit of this tree are very tart, so don’t try and eat them raw. However they make a refreshing and unusual addition to cold drinks and and add a great flavour to game and poultry dishes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *