Oranges grow on trees

How to Identify Orange Trees

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The orange, sometimes also called the sweet orange, Citrus sinensis, is the most widely grown type of citrus around the world. It grows in warm climates, thriving in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 and 10. While it’s relatively easy to pick out an orange tree that’s laden with fruit, it can be hard to identify it at other times. Looking at the tree’s size and shape, as well as its leaves, can help to identify an orange tree.

Basic Characteristics

  • Size and Shape: An orange tree typically gets about 25 feet tall, but a very old tree may reach up to 50 feet. When viewed as a whole, the tree’s overall crown shape is rounded and consists of slender branches. Orange trees are evergreen, so they normally always have leaves present.
  • Branches: The immature branches are angled and twisted, and they often have thin, relatively blunt semi-flexible spines where the leaf’s petiole – the small stem that holds the leaf – attaches to the branch.
  • Leaves: Orange tree leaves sometimes have small “wings” on the petioles. These may be very conspicuous or quite faint. The leaves themselves are essentially elongated ovals anywhere from 2.5 to 6 inches long and 1 to 3.75 inches wide. They are pointed on both ends and may or may not be lightly serrated along the edges.
  • Flowers: The flowers of an orange tree are about 2 inches wide. They sometimes appear singly but they may also show up in small clusters of two to six blooms. Each calyx — the green part that holds each flower — has five points on it. Each flower has five white, oblong petals. Within the flower are between 20 and 25 stamens topped by very obvious tallow anthers.
  • Fruit: The fruit of an orange tree is generally rounded and from 2.5 to 3.75 inches across. The rind of the ripe fruit is typically orange, but it may also be yellow. It has tiny oil glands over the entire surface. When cut open, the inner layer of rind is spongy and white. The fruit inside can range from yellow to red and consists of approximately 10 to 14 wedge-shaped sacs, each filled with pulp and juice. Each sac may contain up to four seeds, though some varieties are seedless.

Other Oranges

Other types of orange trees have similar characteristics in terms of general shape, flowers and leaves, but the size of the tree and the fruit are different.

Mandarin oranges, Citrus reticulata, also known as tangerines, can tolerate a somewhat wider range of temperatures than sweet oranges, and thrive in USDA zones 8b through 11. They have the same general tree shape as oranges but typically don’t grow over 20 feet tall. The fruit is typically smaller, about 2 to 4 inches across, and it has a very loose skin that makes it easy to peel.

Blood oranges, Citrus sinensis ‘Moro’, get their name from the dark red color of the fruit as well as the occasional red spot on the outer rind. These trees grow in USDA zones 9 and 10 and have an appearance similar to that of the sweet orange tree, but they grow only about 12 to 15 feet tall. The fruit makes this tree easy to identify, not only for its blood-red color but also because it often grows in clusters of three or more.

Orange Tree Care – Learn How To Grow An Orange Tree

Learning how to grow an orange tree is a worthwhile project for the home gardener, especially when your growing orange trees begin producing fruit. Orange tree care is not complicated. Following a few basic steps when taking care of an orange tree will keep your tree healthy and possibly increase fruit production.

How to Grow an Orange Tree

If you’ve not planted an orange tree yet, but are thinking of growing one, you may be thinking of starting one from orange tree seeds. Some orange varieties may come true from seeds, but most often commercial growers use trees that are grafted through a process called budding.

Seed grown trees often have a short lifespan, as they are susceptible to foot and root rot. If seed grown trees survive, they do not produce fruit until maturity, which can take up to 15 years.

Consequently, growing seedlings are best used, as the scion of a graft union between them and a rootstock that

tolerates adverse growing conditions. Fruit is produced from the scion and develops more quickly on grafted trees than on trees grown from orange tree seeds. In areas where oranges grow, local nurseries may be the best place to purchase a grafted tree.

Taking Care of an Orange Tree

If you are taking care of an orange tree that is already established, you may have questions about three important aspects of orange tree care: fertilizing, watering and pruning.

  • Water – Water needed for growing orange trees varies by climate and yearly rainfall totals, but as a rule of thumb, orange tree care involves regular watering in spring to prevent wilting and withholding of irrigation in fall. When taking care of an orange tree, remember that water lowers the solid content of the fruit. Depth of planting also affects how much water you provide during orange tree care. Growing orange trees usually need between 1 and 1 ½ inches of water per week.
  • Fertilization – Fertilization of growing orange trees depends on the use of the fruit. Extra nitrogen fertilizer results in more oil in the peel. Potassium fertilizer decreases oil in the peel. For high productivity of edible oranges, 1 to 2 pounds of nitrogen should be applied yearly to each tree. Fertilizer should include potassium and phosphorus as well as a range of micro-nutrients. If your older orange tree does not produce fruit in abundance, take a soil test of the area where growing orange trees reside to determine what fertilizer ratio is needed. Additional fertilization is often applied by spraying the leaves of the tree once or twice a year.
  • Pruning – Pruning the orange tree for shape is not necessary. However, you should remove any branches that are a foot or less from the ground. In addition, remove damaged or dying branches once they are noticed.

Ask Farmer Tony
*If you have any questions about caring for citrus or farming, please email me, I’ll be happy to try and help. Send it to: [email protected] Please remember to put me on your email “white list” or my response could end up in your spam folder.
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What is the origin of the Orange?
Some historians believe that the Orange was being cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. The Romans planted Orange trees across Africa prior to the fall of their empire in the 5th century AD. The Moors, whose conquest took them to Spain around the mid 8th century, are attributed to the spread of oranges around Spain. Eventually another group, the Saracens, took them to Sicily. The First time Oranges ventured across the Atlantic was with Christopher Columbus in 1492. He took them to Hispaniola, and within a very short time Oranges were found throughout the Caribbean. The Portuguese transplanted them to Brazil. Around roughly the same time, the Spanish took them to their settlement in St. Augustine, Florida.
Where did Navel Oranges come from?
In 1820, in a monastery garden in Bahia, Brazil, a hybrid of the Sweet Orange known as the Bahia Navel Orange was born. Brazil sent a dozen of these trees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. in 1870.
Mrs. Eliza Tibbetts of Riverside, CA wrote to the U.S.D.A. in 1873 asking for two of the new Navel oranges, never knowing that she would revolutionize the commercial Orange industry in California.
This new mutant bud stock called the Bahia Navel, was renamed the Riverside Navel, and then renamed again the Washington Navel after George Washington for a more national appeal. All new varieties of Navel Oranges can trace their roots back to the Washington Navel.
California Navel Oranges are seedless and larger than the Sweet Orange. Its thick, bright orange skin was easy to peel and protected it for shipping. The sweet, full-bodied sections made for an excellent eating orange.
When are the Navel and Valencia Orange seasons?
Depending on the weather, Navel oranges are being picked as early as October to November through the end of May. The full flavor and color of the Navel Orange usually isn’t set until after Thanksgiving. Valencia oranges are harvested from April through September/October.
How long can an Orange tree produce fruit?
The productivity of an Orange tree can be practically endless. With proper care and irrigation practices, the Orange tree can continue to produce well up to 70 to 80 years.
How many crops a year do you yield from an Orange tree?
One. From blossom to harvest, it can take an Orange seven to ten months (depending on the variety), to come into full maturity. New varieties and growing techniques are constantly being developed in order to provide Navel Oranges almost year round.
What happens once a Pearson Ranch Orange is picked?
After being picked, these carefully grown Pearson Ranch Oranges are transported to the packinghouse. From here the orange is washed, waxed and sorted by size and grade. Hand selected for both their exterior beauty and delicious flavor each Pearson Ranch Orange is packed carefully into either our Pearson Ranch 40 or 20 lb carton, or our beautiful Pearson Ranch Silver Label Gift Box. From pick to pack to ship, we strive to deliver the best citrus fruit in the world to you.
Can I grow an Orange tree from an orange seed?
No, although something will grow, it will appear bush-like and dangerously thorny. This is known as a “Wild Sucker”. Oranges are typically grafted from a parent rootstock, and can generally be purchased at nurseries.
How do you keep Oranges safe during cold weather?
Although citrus trees do not require a certain number of chilling hours to produce that signature sweet-tart flavor, we must always ensure the fruit is safe from extreme cold or sub freezing temperatures. Oddly enough the best defense against extreme cold temperatures is well water. On nights when the temperature is going to drop below 28 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 4 hours, irrigation water is turned on until the sun comes up and the temperature once again starts to rise. How does this work? Insulated by the earth, domestic well water, or irrigation water comes out of the ground at an average of 54 degrees Fahrenheit. As the water reaches under the tree via sprinkler head, the water releases its heat under the tree’s thick, “leaved” canopy, in an effort to keep the fruit from freezing. Wind Machines also help with frost protection when there is a good inversion layer above the trees, by re-directing the warmer air that has risen (which was released by the earth) back down to ground level.
Are Oranges still harvested by hand?
Yes. This is a physically demanding and intense job. The skill and care of a good picker can make the difference between a gift piece of fruit or one that will not be shipped at all. We are very selective about the picking crews that work in our grove and we are very thankful for their great work and contribution to American Agriculture.
How much of the citrus distributed in the U.S. is grown in CA?
California is the largest producer of eating oranges. Florida is the largest producer in the U.S. for juice oranges. Combined they produce nearly 25 billion pounds of Oranges a year! And that my friends is a lot of Vitamin “C”.
Enjoy fresh, ripe Navel Oranges and Valencia Oranges today!

Grow Your Own Orange Tree. Breaking your garden fresh oranges and citrus fruits are enjoying. This seems to be possible. This is something you can do inside a house, on balconies, or on rooftops. It even allows you to grow fruit even if you don’t live in an appropriate growing zone for that fruit.

The trees can grow outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Seed-grown orange trees mature slowly, and most take seven to eight years to bear fruit. Tree grown from seed can take up to 15 years. If you have had a particularly cool winter with night time temperatures dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, portions of the tree may be damaged and can possibly die back. If the tree is potted and lightweight, move the orange plant into the home to keep it warm. After the tree grows into maturity, it will have more resilience during temporary freezing temperatures.

These are the basic materials you will need to begin:

  • Fresh oranges
  • A glass bottle with a cork or piece of wood for a seal
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Small container
  • Soil (soil mixed with compost is best)

Oranges need adequate moisture movement across the topsoil, as well as within the soil’s underground structure. Any water that can become trapped above or below the ground can cause disease within the orange tree. Sand and compost are perfect companions to the soil for good drainage, but these trees do not tolerate manure. The orange tree prefers full bright sun. In the spring when the temperature rises from 26 degrees Fahrenheit is appropriate for it. During the growing season requires regular watering and fertilizer.

Preparing the Seeds

Save your orange seeds. Immediately wash them in tepid water and begin the planting process. You can use the paper towel method for germination, but the soil method, is more effective. Orange seeds begin losing viability as soon as you remove them from the fruit, so make sure you’re prepared before you cut open the orange. Take seeds from a fully ripe fruit with a solid orange color and no hint of green. Use at least four orange seeds to increase the odds of successful germination.


Next, you will need to peel the seeds. This takes a little practice. Use a sharp blade to gently peel the seeds, placing them on a paper towel. When all the seeds are on the towel, gently mist them with water from a spray bottle. Fold the paper towel (gently roll) and mist the paper towel again. Do not overdo it. You want it to be moist but not dripping wet. Place the paper towel in the bottle and seal the bottle and let it process for seven days. Orange seeds need temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit to successfully germinate.

Transplant and Aftercare

Prepare a container with sterile potting soil. Before filling it with soil, create drainage holes. Paper cups tend to dry out sooner, so if you are punching holes in the bottom of the container for drainage, do about four for plastic and two for paper. These are tropical citrus plants. So keep these plants in the sun. Fungus can destroy your young plants, so make certain that you eliminate as many possibilities of mold as you can, including using only sterile soil. Transplant to a more permanent container when the seedling is large enough. Orange trees can be sensitive to transplants. It is imperative that you do not disturb the root system while moving the tree to a permanent planting position. If you use a slow and careful digging action around the roots in the pot, you should be able to move the orange tree to a better position for optimum growth.


Orange trees produce two different types of seedling sprouts: genetic sprouts and vegetative sprouts. The vegetative sprouts share the same traits as the mother tree, so they will eventually produce quality fruit. Genetic sprouts possess genetic variations due to cross-pollination, so they may not produce the same quality of fruit and should be removed. Snip off the genetic sprout at the base using small scissors and discard it so the vegetative sprouts can grow without competition for nutrients. Small containers, large containers help maintain moisture is expected. For new planting orange trees, 8-inches diameter container is enough, but the plant is 2 -3 years old, and his roots are spread out, then 10 to 12 inches diameter larger containers should be transplanted.


The citrus plant required double nitrogen than the potassium and phosphorous. Slow release fertilizer longer needs to. From time to time on the micro nutrients, such as organic manure are good choices. Fertilize the orange seedlings every two weeks with 1/2 teaspoon of 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted in 1 gallon of water. Stop fertilizing in autumn and winter.

Citrus plants prefer deep water, deep water encourages deep roots. Instant water when the soil dries out 1 to 2 inches deep. The frequency of watering depends on the atmosphere and soil porosity.

Fruit production demands full sunlight for peak photosynthesis action. A south facing area of the home’s property is perfect for an orange tree to flourish. Orange trees respond well to being grown in containers, but they will perform best if planted outdoors within their preferred climate range.

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Navel Orange Tree

Tasty, Seedless Oranges and Quick Growth

Why Navel Orange Trees?

Healthful and delicious, the Navel Orange is one of the most popular varieties at the grocery store. But you won’t believe how much better they are when you grow them yourself: Extremely sweet, these oranges will quickly become an addictive snack. And you’ll love them because they’re simple to peel and they’re seedless.

Plus, these Navel Orange Trees don’t require much attention. They’ll reward you with plenty of juicy, seedless oranges, effortlessly. Simply plant them wherever you get full sun. Another beneficial aspect of our Navel Oranges is that they have a long shelf life – longer than most other oranges. So, there’s no rush to eat, bake or cook them before they go bad. You can store them for months!

Why is Better

Our Navel Orange Trees have been groomed to perfection, so when you receive your very own, it’s ready to produce an abundance of fruit right away. We’ve grafted and greenhouse-grown our varieties, so you get a healthful, well-developed root system and branching once the Navel Orange Tree arrives at your door.

We’ve done the extra work at our nursery so you reap the rewards of easygoing, fast growth – and oranges of your own in just one year.

We expand our crop each year because of high demand. So why wait? Order now to ensure you receive your very own, healthy Navel Orange Tree!

Planting & Care

1. Planting: Choose a location where your tree is going to get plenty of sunlight, 6 to 8 hours per day is best. Potted plants do enjoy a daily misting for humidity but placing a tray with rocks filled with water under the plant will feed humidity to the tree as the water evaporates.

A planter with built-in casters is a good choice so it can easily be moved. Choose a pot slightly larger than what it was shipped in that has plenty of holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. Be sure to plant in well-draining potting soil, preferably recommended for acid-loving citrus plants.

2. Watering: After watering (generally, about once weekly), allow the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil to dry out completely before watering again. For potted Navel Oranges, stick your index finger into the soil down to about 2 inches.

If there is moisture present, hold off on watering until it feels drier at that depth. When ready to water, stop once you see it escaping the drainage holes at the base of the pot.

3. Fertilizing: Feed your Navel Orange Tree during the warmer spring and summer seasons with a citrus-specific fertilizer, like the one included in our Citrus Care Kit, once every six weeks. During the fall and winter season, ease back to fertilizing once every 2 to 3 months. Make sure to follow the application instructions written on the fertilizer bag.

4. Pruning: Make 45-degree angle cuts to remove dead or crossing limbs and also to thin out the tree to allow more light to flow between the branches. After the tree fruits, remove any dead wood and ventilate the center of the tree. Remove suckers as they form/grow from the base as they will steal away nutrients from the primary trunk of the tree. Pruning can be done at any time of the year for the potted Navel Oranges.

5. Pollination: Our trees are self-fertile, but you can pollinate your indoor trees by hand since most people do not keep a healthy bee population within their home. Simply take a small, dry, fine-tipped paintbrush and stick it into the center of the bloom. Swirl it around and collect the pollen on the brush. Go to the next bloom and repeat the process until every bloom has been treated. Do this once daily and don’t wash the paintbrush until after the blooms have been pollinated. The bloom will fall off naturally and the fruit will begin to form.

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