- Florida State Flower
- from our stores
- Tips for growing citrus in Northeast Florida
- What the Peak Bloom Predictions Mean
- The Blooming Period
- When to Visit DC to See the Cherry Blossoms
- Monthly Average Temperatures Leading into the Bloom
- Frequency of Specific Peak Bloom Dates Since 1921
- Frequency of Specific Peak Bloom Dates Since 1993
- Average Peak Bloom Dates by Decade
- Peak Bloom Dates
- Want to Help Support DC’s Cherry Trees?
- Citrus Blooming Season – When Do Citrus Trees Bloom
- Determining Your Citrus Blooming Season
- What to Expect After Your Citrus Trees Bloom
- Grow an Orange Tree
- or Grapefruit, Lemon & Other Citrus
- How To Grow Citrus Trees at Home in Arizona
- Arizona History Lesson – Citrus
- Weather Conditions – Sorry North Pole!
- When Should I Plant Citrus Trees?
- Should I Plant an Orange, Lemon, or Grapefruit Seed?
- When Should I Water my Citrus Tree? Can I Over-Water it?
- How do I Maintain My Citrus Tree?
- How Long Will My Tree Live?
- Citrus for All Seasons
Florida State Flower
Millions of white orange blossom flowers perfume the atmosphere throughout central and south Florida during orange blossom time.
The Florida State Flower is the Orange blossom (citrus sinensis). The orange blossom, like most citruses, is native to subtropical Southeast Asia. The orange blossom was designated the state flower on Nov.15, 1909. The orange blossom is one of the most fragrant flowers in Florida.
Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Sapindales Family Rutaceae Genus Citrus Species sinensis
Orange blossom is the waxy, white blossom of the orange tree. Orange blossom are very fragrant. The Orange blossoms bloom in clusters of 1-6 during in spring and result in oranges the following autumn or winter. Last year’s oranges often are still on the trees when the new Orange blossom are blooming.
Orange blossoms are perfect, with 5 petals and sepals. The petals on the Orange blossom are linear, sometimes curved lengthwise, and thick. The sepals fuse at base of the Orange blossom to form a small cup. Stamens on the Orange blossom number 20-25, and are arranged in a tight, columnar whorl around the gynoecium.
A globular, green ovary in the Orange blossom subtends a thin style, which terminates in a pronounced, donut-shaped stigma. The ovary on the Orange blossom is compound with 10-14 locules in most commercial cultivars. The position of the ovary is superior, and subtended by raised nectary disc on the Orange blossom. The Orange blossoms are borne in axillary cymes. Orange blossom is the only state flower from which a commercial perfume is made.
There are many online florists who deliver flowers to Florida. You can send flowers, plants of your choice to your loved ones living in Florida or from Florida to other locations across the United States of America through these popular Florida Online Florists.
from our stores
Facts About Orange blossom
- The sweet orange tree, which bears the orange blossom, is a compact evergreen tree, 20-30″ tall with a rounded, symmetrical crown spreading 15-20″ or so.
- The Orange twigs on many cultivars are thorny. The bark of the orange tree is greenish-brown color, having axillary spines on the branches.
- The leaves of Orange blossoms are shiny and leathery, oblong to elliptic, up to 4 inches long, and have narrow wings on their petioles (leaf stems).
- The Sweet Orange Fruit is a large, round multiple of drupes that is 4-5 inches in diameter. The fruit is roundish, golden-yellow or tawny, and several-celled, with a fleshy, juicy pulp. The Sweet Orange seeds are white and several. The cysts in the rind are convex (L.). The Sweet Orange fruit has a very distinctive citrus scent.
- Orange oil can be an effective grease cutter, and it has become popular in some commercial cleaners.
Facts About Florida
Florida is flamboyantly nicknamed the Sunshine State, Alligator State, Everglade State, the Orange State, the Flower State, the Peninsula State, the Land of Flowers. Florida’s official state flag was adopted in 1900.
- In 1513, Ponce DeLeon, was seeking the mythical Fountain of Youth, and discovered Florida , claiming it for Spain. Later, Florida was sold to the United States in 1819.
- Florida’s capital city is Tallahassee, which houses the state’s most eminent educational institutions.
- These include Florida State University, Florida A & M University, and Tallahassee Community College.
- Florida became the 27th state admitted to the Union on March 3,1845.
- Florida is suitably located on the southern tip of the U.S.
- Florida’s border states include Georgia on the north and Alabama on the west.
- Florida’s total land area is 170,451 square kilometer.
- Florida is also the hub for trade and agriculture. However, Florida’s largest city is Jacksonville, which is also considered the largest city in the South, outside of Texas.
- Florida’s Motto is In God we trust (1970).
- The production of orange juice became a multi-million dollar industry in Florida during the Second World War.
- In Agriculture, Florida leads the southeast in farm income.
- Florida produces about 75% of the total U.S. orange production and accounts for about 40% of the world’s orange juice supply.
- Florida is the 26th largest State.
- Florida’s largest cities include Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Hialeah.
- Florida’s world famous attractions are, Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Universal Studios and Florida Islands of Adventure.
- Other universities of Florida include: The University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, Warner Southern College, Webber International University, and the Yeshivah Gedolah Rabbinical College.
Tips for growing citrus in Northeast Florida
Nothing is more rewarding than going out into your home landscape and picking fresh citrus. It really is easier than most people think, but there are a few secrets I would like to share with you which should help you grow the best, healthiest citrus.
First, it is essential to choose the appropriate root stock. Citrus purchased from plant nurseries and garden centers are all grafted onto another citrus root stock. The top portion of the tree, the part producing the fruit we eat and enjoy, is called the scion. Currently, we recommend three root stocks for the Northeast Florida area that are known for their cold-hardy and disease-resistant qualities. Future research may provide us with additional choices but for now we suggest buying citrus trees grafted onto Tri-foliate, Swingle (hybrid) or Flying Dragon root stock. Sour orange root stock fell out of favor several years ago when it became susceptible to a virus and sour lemon root stock is not cold hardy enough for our area. There are many other root stocks available, but it is best to ensure your tree is grafted on one of the top three recommended root stocks.
The other important secret is to have sufficient sunlight. While citrus can grow in some shade, it will thrive in full sunlight. The soil should be well-drained; do not plant citrus in areas where water may accumulate and cause root decays. Keep lawn grass as far away from the tree as possible. Just like other tree varieties, grass and trees are terrible partners. Initially, when the tree is young, the grass gets first share of the nutrients and water. Plus, the things we do to lawns we should never do to citrus. Allow for a large area around the base of the tree to be just soil and air. You can apply 2-3 inches of mulch just outside the air/soil area but never allow mulch to touch the trunk of any tree or shrub, including citrus. Irrigate on a consistent basis, once a week should be fine if we receive no rain, but beware of overwatering, which can easily lead to root decay. Irrigate at the root only – never the leaves.
Never fertilize citrus with lawn fertilizer and NEVER use a weed and feed product around citrus. You can apply a slow-release citrus fertilizer in March, June and September or apply 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 starting in March once every six weeks through September. No fertilizer should be applied from October through February.
Regarding pruning, there’s good news: You really don’t need to prune citrus to increase fruit production, but there are times when citrus needs pruning. Always feel free to remove dead limbs; they often can be the source of disease. Any limb that is growing straight downward, rubbing against another limb, cracked or damaged can be removed. The best time to prune citrus is after the threat of frost is over, which generally is between late February and early March. You can make reduction cuts, which is a pruning cut to a lateral or side limb on the top of the tree to prevent it from getting too tall. Don’t be afraid to keep your citrus tree short to enable you to easily pick the fruit. In the summer, I often prune the tips of the citrus tree if they are heavily infested with aphids or psyllids. Like the diseased branches, I throw insect-infested limbs into a double bag and toss them.
To assist you in determining the best cultivar/citrus tree to select for your landscape, let’s review citrus trees by ranking them from the most cold-hardy citrus down to the least cold-hardy. All of these citrus trees types mentioned here require no accompanying pollinator trees. Calamondins are the most cold-hardy and are used in cooking, but they are too bitter for juicing or eating. However, calamondins make a great addition to the landscape as a showy citrus tree.
Kumquats produce small citrus fruit with sweet rinds and tart flesh. Meiwa kumquat have a sweet flesh and rind – my favorite. I just pop the fruit in my mouth and eat rind, flesh and seeds – yum. Kumquat makes a beautiful patio plant with deep green leaves.
Satsuma tangerine is one of the easiest of the oranges to grow here, it peels easily, and on alternate years, is a prolific producer. Satsuma does not have a strong acid content in the flesh and very few seeds. Navel oranges are my favorite of the oranges, easy to peel, few seeds and once it is established, a large, hardy tree. Hamlin oranges are sweet, small oranges that can be used for juice or eating. Parson Brown was replaced by Hamlin oranges as a favorite because it had too many seeds, although it is cold hardy for our area.
The best grapefruit for our area is the Ruby red; it has low seed count, with sweet pink flesh. Ruby reds are heavy producers of fruit so you really only need one tree for your yard. Meyer lemon and Ponderosa lemon are good choices for our area. Ponderosa, as you might expect from the name, is a very large lemon but both are sweet with few seeds.
The least cold hardy citrus are the limes, you will need to protect them from the threat of frost but if you can get them to survive, what a wonderful fruit for cooking and the occasional margarita.
There are many leaf and fruit diseases of citrus but most of them are caused by fungi, so keeping your citrus on a fungicide regime, alternating modes of action, is important. In general, spraying the tree with a fungicide labeled for fruit trees when the leaves first appear and again once the flower petals drop will help manage the disease, but we will never eradicate all fungal diseases from citrus – it is a work in progress. It is essential to follow the pesticide label directions for mixing and applying the correct amounts of pesticides to trees. Avoid using broad spectrum insecticides as they can harm our pollinating insects. There are citrus caterpillars such as the giant swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, which will eat the leaves of citrus. However, they are important pollinators so I just leave them alone and have never had a problem with citrus fruit production. The best pesticides to keep in your arsenal are insecticidal soap and horticulture oil to control aphids, psyllids and scale insects. Be sure to follow the directions on the label of any pesticide as “The Label is the Law.” You can always use less than the pesticide label suggests but never more.
Becky Jordi is the Nassau County extension director and horticulture agent.
Clear out weeds and grass approximately 3 feet around the diameter of your planting site. After planting your tree you should always keep the site free of weeds and grass. Mulch is not recommended because it can keep soil to moist! Ideally you want good air circulation at the tree’s base to avoid any fungal diseases caused by excess moisture etc.
Help the roots stay strong and healthy with beneficial fungi.
Planting your tree:
When planting from containers, dig a planting hole in a well drained area of your property. Choose a sunny spot. Your hole should be 4 – 6 inches wider than the root ball and approximately 4 inches deeper. Fill the hole half full of water. Take your tree and roll the container gently on the ground and squeeze the root ball out of the container. Keep the root ball intact. Don’t allow the root ball to fall apart. Position the tree in the center of the planting hole. Gently spread out any circling roots with your hands. Now, add more soil and water the soil and continue backfilling soil to remove any air pockets. The base of your tree should be about 1 inch above the ground. With your hands pack down the soil slightly. Now make a circular basin around the tree trunk to keep the water from running away as you water. This basin can be about 8 – 10 inches away from the trunk.
Planting your tree from a Citrus Pot: (see photo on right)
Here you will follow all the above instructions with only a few exceptions as described here. In this situation you cut away the container with a razor or sharp knife. Do not roll the long citrus pot on the ground as doing so will most likely damage the roots. Place the tree in the hole while gently shaking loose soil into the hole as you move the tree up and down and gently spread out the roots by pulling them loose with your hand. You should have some loose roots and the tap root. The long tap root should go straight to the bottom of the hole. Help the roots stay strong and healthy with beneficial fungi.
Young trees need water at least three times per week for the first two weeks. Water twice a week after the third week and keep in mind that during our rainy season you may not need to water at all.
Good Nutrition Keeps Your Tree Healthy!
This is the one thing you don’t want to ignore. We recommend you fertilize your tree about one month after it has been planted. Be sure to use a citrus fertilizer with minor elements. Spread a small handful around the drip line of the tree at least once a month in spring and summer. Fertilizing around the drip line will encourage the roots to grow out to seek the nutrients. Over feeding is worse than under feeding. Never, ever, ever, ever, use fertilizer spikes!
Vigoro 6-4-6 is a good all purpose granular fertilizer (not organic) for container and landscape grown fruit trees. Read the label prior to application! Espoma also has organic fertilizer see the link below.
Here are some organic fertilizers.
A. Espoma Citrus Tone
B. Cottonseed Meal (For acid loving plants)
C. Jobes Fruit and Citrus
A good compost tea can often be the only fertilizer you need. The tea is only as good as the organic material used and the biology in the tea. Compost teas are truly amazing and I recommend you use them on a regular basis.
Growing citrus is challenging and not for people that are too busy to care for the tree.
When to fertilize:
Fertilizer should be applied beginning in late February-early March and ends in late September
All your trees need as a minimum items 1, 2 & 3 below.
1. Citrus fertilizer monthly during spring and summer.
2. Citrus nutritional sprays once per month during fall and winter.
3. For young trees less than three years of age use a foliar spray applications of 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer every six weeks, spring and summer. Three year old trees and older can be provided with all the above but switch to a 10-15-10 foliar to decrease nitrogen and increase flowering and fruit production.
Container grown trees need to be rinsed at least twice a year to flush out salt residues. As you gain experience you can alter the formula as you see fit. Pay attention to your tree and it will reward you with delicious fruit.
News reports and cherry blossom watchers often talk about the “peak bloom” date. But that’s not exactly the same thing as what we might commonly refer to as “full bloom” or the “blooming period.”
Often the news reports themselves get confused. If the National Park Service issues a prediction that peak bloom will be April 8-12, it doesn’t mean that the flowers will start blooming on April 8 and stop on April 12, which is how some (but not all) news reports wrongly interpret it. It also doesn’t mean that they’ll even be in full bloom for that entire time.
So it’s useful to know what that means if you’re planning your own visit. The peak bloom date is an important milestone in the process, but it’s not the only day when you can see beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom.
What the Peak Bloom Predictions Mean
The official forecast for the peak bloom period is issued by the National Park Service. It is their horticulturalists that look after these remarkable trees. Their predictions are based on a mix of historical data, weather observations and forecasts, long experience in working hands-on with the trees (some of the NPS horticulturalists are at least second generation cherry blossom carers), and direct observations of a specific group trees. In particular, they look at the maximum temperatures in the weeks leading up to the bloom and convert those into a kind of point system–they’ve worked out that the blossoms need a certain number of these heat points to push them from their winter dormancy to full bloom.
The first, provisional NPS prediction of the season is generally issued around the beginning of March.
More recently, another group has joined the cherry blossom peak bloom prediction fray: the Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang. They rely heavily on detailed analysis of historical weather data and weather forecasting models.
When they issue their predictions, both groups put forward a date range. In 2013, for instance, one of the official NPS predictions was for April 3 to April 6. What that means is that they predict that at some point during the period April 3 to April 6 a threshold will be crossed of 70 percent of the blossoms being open. The day that the NPS arborists judge that that threshold has been crossed with then become the “peak bloom” day, and they announce that retrospectively either on that day or a day or two after. That usually falls within 4 to 5 day stretch when we might consider the blossoms to be in full bloom (and looking beautiful).
It’s important to keep a few things in mind about “peak bloom”:
- Peak bloom predictions change. It is simply a prediction, and lots of variables come into play. If the National Park Service is issuing a prediction in early March for the bloom in early April, they’re relying in large part on weather forecasts for the coming month. And we all know that a weather forecast a month out needs to be taken with a very large bucket-load of salt. It’s normal for the predictions to be revised in the weeks leading up to the blooming. It’s not until 10 days or so out that the NPS experts feel confident in their prediction.
- It’s a very specific point in the process. It’s defined at the point that 70 percent of the blossoms are open, a judgment made by the National Park Service arborists.
- It’s a day, not several days, on which it is judged 70 percent of the blossoms are open. A prediction of peak bloom being reached between April 3 and April 6, for example, means they expect it to fall on one of those days, not all of them.
- It’s a technical judgment, not an aesthetic one. The trees look beautiful at least 2-3 days before the peak bloom date and for at least 2-3 days after. I’ve put together a photographic guide of what to expect when.
- It’s an average. Some trees will naturally be a bit ahead of that and some a bit behind.
- You don’t have to be there on the technical peak bloom day to see beautiful flowers. You can think of the peak bloom date as centering a period of about 5 to 6 days when we might commonly call full bloom. For at least 3 to 4 days before the peak bloom day, you can still expect to see flowers coming out, and for several days after, you’ll still be greeted with floral fireworks as the flowers turned light pink before dropping off. Within a week or so of peak bloom (sometimes a little longer if conditions are right), the trees will have shed their blossoms and be a fresh green color as the leaves come through. So you certainly shouldn’t be disappointed if you miss the peak bloom date by a couple of days either way (actually, I personally prefer the way they look the few days after the peak bloom date). So if you’re planning your visit, by all means use the “peak bloom” as a guide, but it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get there on that specific day.
Wondering what to expect if you visit a few days before or after peak bloom? Take a look at this photo timeline, which shows the progression from about a week before peak bloom to about a week after.
The Blooming Period
If “peak bloom” refers to a specific day, the NPS also sometimes refers to a “blooming period,” which is probably much more useful for visitors. Because, after all, you just want to know when you can see the trees looking beautiful.
The “blooming period” is a span of several days, perhaps even a week or so, starting when 20 percent of the blossoms are open. It ends when the leaves take over and the flower petals have all fallen. In short, the blooming period is when you can expect to see the flowers. Unfortunately, the focus on the more technical “peak bloom” in news reports and forecasts has meant that “blooming period” hasn’t yet gotten much traction.
When to Visit DC to See the Cherry Blossoms
On average, the blooms come out around the last week of March through the first week of April, and that’s typically a good time to aim for if you’re planning on visiting. But precisely when peak bloom occurs depends on the weather in the weeks and months leading up to it. And there’s no guarantee it will even fall within that period–sometimes it’s earlier, and sometimes it’s later.
That’s because the date of the peak is heavily dependent on local weather conditions in the months leading up to it. Warmer, sunnier conditions through the late-winter and early spring bring an earlier bloom. Sustained cold, wintry weather delays it. Unseasonably warm and sunny conditions in 1990 helped bring an early peak on March 15, and very cold conditions in 1958 delayed the peak bloom until April 18, the earliest and latest blooms on record.
The average peak bloom since 1921 is April 3, but in the past decade or so the peak bloom has trended earlier than the overall average. But to give an idea of how variable it can be, the peak bloom date for 2012 was March 20. The following year it was April 9.1
Here are the official peak bloom dates for the past decade:
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is typically scheduled over about 3 1/2 weeks from late-March to mid-April. The hope is that the blossoms will come out at some point during that period, but it’s very unlikely they’ll be out for the duration.
Monthly Average Temperatures Leading into the Bloom
Average temperatures aren’t the whole story when it comes to when the cherry blossoms will come out, but they are a big part of it. Sustained warmer-than-average temperatures will bring them out sooner, while sustained colder-than-average temperatures will be delay them.
Here’s a breakdown of how much the average monthly temperature varied from the historical average for the months leading up to that year’s bloom.
Data sources: National Weather Service / National Park Service.
ˤ = partial month, in progress
* = up until peak bloom
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as averaging the averages to predict the bloom date. For the 2014 and 2015 blooms, for example, the peak bloom date was the same, but the averages across January and February are different for those years, as are the averages across January, February, and March. And the December temperatures don’t figure as much as February-March ones.
Frequency of Specific Peak Bloom Dates Since 1921
This chart shows how many times peak bloom has fallen on a particular day since records started being kept in 1921. The earliest recorded peak bloom was March 18 (2000). The latest was April 18 (1958). The most common dates for peak bloom are April 2, 6, 7, and 9. Since 1921, the overall average peak bloom date has been April 3.
Frequency of Specific Peak Bloom Dates Since 1993
And here’s the same thing but looking only at the past two decades. As you can see, the dates are weighted a little earlier in recent years. Over the past two decades, the average peak bloom date has been March 31.2
Average Peak Bloom Dates by Decade
Peak Bloom Dates
Here are the official peak bloom dates since 1921.2
- The National Park Service uses the date April 4 as the average peak bloom date. ↩
- Data source: National Park Service Historic Peak Bloom Dates. ↩ ↩
Want to Help Support DC’s Cherry Trees?
If you’d like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.
The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the history National Mall area. I’m not affiliated with the Trust–just an admirer of their efforts.
Warm sunshine brought out masses of wildflowers this summer, including many rarities such as the lesser butterfly orchid. Lime trees also did well in the heat – they need hot summers to flower and set seeds. Unfortunately, limes have a bad reputation for the sticky mess they drop on cars parked underneath them in streets, but the culprit is actually a foreign species of lime, and the sticky stuff is honeydew made by masses of aphids feeding on the leaves.
The native British lime, though, is one of our most ancient plants, dating back to the end of the last ice age, but is at its most northerly limits in the UK because of our cool climate. Without a hot summer, limes rarely come into flower and set seed but they have incredible powers of regeneration, by sprouting from toppled trees or branches lying on the ground. And as ash trees succumb to fungus disease, native lime trees growing in similar places may replace them.
Perhaps the best thing about limes in hot weather is their intoxicating sweet-smelling blossom, which attracts crowds of bees with nectar so sweet it sometimes leaves the bees punch drunk. The blossom can also be made into tea, which was used during the war as a mild sedative. And hot summers are also needed to make the pollen viable, fertilise the flowers and set seed, which eventually blows away using a bract like a helicopter wing, similar to a sycamore seed.
Have you ever wanted to grow your own citrus tree at home, but were stopped by their hulking size, or the fear that taking care of them would take up too much time? Who wouldn’t want to grow their own citrus tree in their backyard, patio, or inside the house so they could enjoy organic fruits? Well you are not alone.
Typically, lime trees can grow as high as 15 to 20 feet tall so it is out of the question to take them indoors. However, you will be able to find dwarf lime trees for sale in reputable nurseries. Dwarf lime tree height is just around 6 to 10 feet tall when planted in the ground but tend to be shorter when planted in a pot. As you can see even with limited space you can fit dwarf lime trees inside your home and be awed by the beautiful canopy, awesome blooms, refreshing citrus scent, and fresh lime fruits within reach.
Dwarf Lime Tree Care
Unlike other cultivars, a dwarf lime tree has very few needs and doesn’t require constant care and supervision. Just take note of the few things these trees need and you are all set.
- Being categorized as tropical plants, lime trees need a warm, tropical climate to thrive. They also prefer full sun but can tolerate some shade, and they do better in hot summers and mild winters planted in moist, well-draining soil.
- Lime trees do not like standing water so make sure that you plant the dwarf lime tree in a pot with many holes at the bottom. Also keep in mind that proper watering can ensure that the leaves does not fall off due to withering or turn yellow and start cupping due to overwatering. The technique is to deeply water your dwarf lime tree until the water runs from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Before watering your tree again make sure that the top 2 to 3 inches of soil has completely dried out.
- Part of dwarf lime tree care is pruning. Don’t worry though as it does not require elaborate pruning, just keep an eye out for suckers or shoots that grow below the graft union as they steal away nutrients needed by the main stem to grow. Make sure to cut out crossing limbs and dead wood to let the air flow freely and allow sunlight penetrate in between branches.
- Once you start noticing new growth on your dwarf lime tree it means it is time to start fertilizing. Use a fertilizer that contains 6 to 10 percent nitrogen, 4 to 6 percent magnesium, and some phosphorus pentoxide and potassium. Fertilize your lime tree once every six weeks during spring and summer. Reduce fertilizing to once every 2 to 3 months during the colder months of fall and winter.
Citrus Blooming Season – When Do Citrus Trees Bloom
When do citrus trees bloom? That depends on the type of citrus, though a general rule of thumb is the smaller the fruit, the more often it blooms. Some limes and lemons, for example, can produce up to four times a year, while the citrus blooming season for those big navel oranges is only once in the spring.
Determining Your Citrus Blooming Season
The answer to, “When do citrus blossoms bloom?” lies in the tree’s stress levels. Bloom can be triggered by temperature or water availability. You see, producing flowers and fruits is nature’s way of ensuring the continuation of the species. The tree chooses its time based on when the fruit has the best chance of maturing. In Florida and other subtropical regions where citrus is grown, there is usually a prolific bloom following the cooler winter dormancy. Rising temperatures in March signal the tree that it’s time to start developing seeds. This citrus flowering season lasts for several weeks. In more tropical regions, this citrus blooming season may follow the heavy rains after summer’s drought.
If you’re growing citrus in a pot indoors, it’s important to try to replicate these environmental conditions for your own citrus blooming season. You may want to move your plant outdoors in the spring when the temperatures rise and remain above freezing. If you’re growing your tree on a porch or patio, you might have to help with fertilizing the flowers of your citrus. Flowering season doesn’t guarantee fruit. While most citrus trees are self pollinating, trees kept out of the wind in a sheltered area often need assistance. All it takes is a little shake now and then to move the pollen from one blossom to another.
It’s not enough to ask when do citrus blossoms bloom in terms of seasons. You should also be asking in terms of years. Many people complain that their tree hasn’t bloomed when, in fact, the tree is still in its juvenile stage. Some oranges and grapefruit can take 10-15 years to fruit. Again, smaller varieties may bloom within three to five years.
What to Expect After Your Citrus Trees Bloom
When do citrus trees bloom and what happens next? Once the citrus flowering season is complete, you can expect three ‘drops.’
- The first drop will be the unpollinated flowers at the end of the citrus blooming season. This looks like a lot, but don’t panic. Typically, the tree will lose up to 80 percent of its flowers.
- The second drop occurs when the fruit are marble sized, and there will be a third when the fruit is almost full grown. This is the tree’s way of ensuring that only the best fruit survives.
- Lastly, when talking about when do citrus trees bloom, we should also mention ripening times. Again, the larger the fruit, the longer it takes to ripen. So, those small lemons and limes will ripen within a few months while the larger oranges and grapefruit can take up to twelve to eighteen months, depending on your climate.
These trees take patience and citrus blooming season is largely dependent on the trees environment, but now that you know the how and why of it, you can take advantage of it in your own backyard.
Grow an Orange Tree
or Grapefruit, Lemon
& Other Citrus
To grow an orange tree in your backyard is one of the perks of South Florida living. Here are all the basics you need to know about growing citrus trees.
This guide is can be used for all types of citrus and most other fruit-producing trees including avocado, mango, and litchi.
NOTE: Due to citrus greening, less and less nurseries are carrying citrus. You may have to buy from Rare Fruit sales and expos.
Citrus needs a sunny, well-drained spot to thrive.
Planting citrus 12 to 15 feet from the house and other trees is ideal.
Clear away grass from the area.
Dig a hole 1-1/2 times the size of the container.
Add composted cow manure to the hole. Do not add top soil or peat moss – they’ll keep the soil too moist. Citrus trees don’t like ‘wet feet’ and need to dry out between waterings.
Place the plant a little higher than the soil surface, fill in around the root ball and pack the dirt firmly. The top of the plant’s soil as it was in the container should still be visible.
Do not mulch. This holds in unwanted moisture.
Using leftover soil from digging the hole, make a “bowl” around the newly planted tree.
Water once a day for the first three to five days by filling the bowl with water and letting it drain. Repeat this three or four times until you’re certain the water has reached the bottom of the root ball.
After the initial three to five days, water the tree once or twice a week during winter, and two to three times a week in summer, depending on rainfall.
Keep grass from growing around the base of the tree.
To grow an orange tree successfully, fertilizing is a necessity.
After the tree has been in the ground a month, apply slow-release citrus fertilizer (4-0-8).
Sprinkle it around the drip-line (farthest foliage point).
For young trees, you can do a small feeding once a month. Use 1/4 lb. per foot of branch spread (the overall diameter of the tree).
Once the tree is established, fertilize three times a year – in spring, summer, and autumn.
For mature trees use 1 lb. per foot of branch spread.
Important: Always water well before and after fertilizing. Give the plant at least an hour to “drink” before applying fertilizer. Do a light watering afterwards to keep the fertilizer in place.
This is the part of caring for citrus that most people fail to do – but it helps the tree produce more and better fruit and fights off pests.
Neem Oil (2 TBSP. per gallon of water) in summer. Spring and fall use a mixture of Liquid Copper (2 tsp. per gallon of water) and 50% Malathion (2 tsp. per gallon of water), and add a miticide to combat mites.
Do this in spring, summer and fall.
In spring, spray when the first flowers open to help set the bloom. DO NOT spray if there are a lot of blooms already open as this may interfere with pollination necessary for fruit production.
In late spring or early summer, spray when the fruit is about 1/4 inch in diameter to help to set the small fruit.
In autumn, spray when the fruit is close to ripening.
Fruit is ready when it pulls easily from the branch but if it’s not completely ripe it will ripen off of the tree as well.
You can’t always go by fruit color to know when something is ripe.
Winter temperatures can affect the color of fruit. Some oranges turn orange during a normal winter – but if winter is unusually mild they may remain green on the outside.
Oranges and other citrus generally have a “season” for producing fruit. Lemons and limes, however, are considered “everbearing” and will yield fruit on and off all year.
When you grow an orange tree you want fruit to be accessible. Pruning branches as you harvest fruit keeps the tree shaped and gives it enough time to regenerate for the following fruiting season.
Keeping a tree smaller and more compact not only reduces the amount of fertilizer and pesticide you’ll need to use, but branches will also be stronger to hold more fruit.
What is grafted citrus?
Most types of citrus trees – other than lemon and lime – are grafted onto a fast-growing rootstock.
This allows a tree to produce fruit when young.
Plant nurseries sell grafted trees. The graft is a knuckle-like area on the lower trunk.
Remove any growth sprouting from below the graft.
Common citrus varieties
Navel – Nov-Feb
Red Navel – Nov-Jan
Hamlin – Oct-Jan
Temple – Jan-Mar
Valencia – Mar-June
Pineapple – Dec-Feb
Dancy – Dec-Jan
Murcott – Jan-April
Sunburst – Nov-Dec
Minneola “Honeybell” – Dec-May
Orlando – Nov-Jan
Ruby Red – Nov-May
White – Nov-May
Pink – Nov-May
Meiwa – Nov-May
Nagami – Nov-May
Lemons and Limes: 30-35 degrees (F)
Grapefruit: 25-30 degrees (F)
Oranges and Tangeloes: 20-25 degrees (F)
Tangerines, Mandarins, Calamondins & Kumquats: 15-20 degrees (F)
NOTE: Key Lime is cold sensitive and should only be planted in Zone 10.
Citrus trees can sustain branch end damage – but it’s mainly the fruit that’s more at risk.
Citrus can handle the temperatures listed below for 8 to 10 hours before suffering any branch end damage.
Freezing temperatures can make fruit dry and pithy. Cover your tree with a thick quilt or blanket – or use frost cloth, which is lighter and easier to handle.
Water the tree thoroughly early in the day before a cold night to prevent branch end and fruit damage.
If a tree is damaged by cold, don’t trim the dead branches until spring. (late March to early April). The damaged areas help to absorb the brunt of future cold spells.
- Grow Citrus
How To Grow Citrus Trees at Home in Arizona
Citrus trees that yield oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and tangerines are one great way to make a property look beautiful; and they even provide shade and snacks for homeowners who have them! The most popular citrus grown worldwide are oranges, with grapefruit not far behind.
States in the US with the most citrus trees are California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas. Florida’s trees produce mostly juice. These states are actually the ONLY citrus-producing states in the entire nation!
So what does it take to grow your own citrus tree in your very own backyard? If you aren’t in one of the four states mentioned previously you can give it a try, but it’s easier in the southern states. It’s not unheard of to get one to survive in other climates and regions, however! Most arid climates can grow beautiful citrus trees, just watch out for frost and cold snaps!
Arizona History Lesson – Citrus
Citrus production in Arizona began during the 1860s when Jack Swilling reconstructed the Hohokam Canals in central Arizona. This, coupled with the construction of the Salt River irrigation systems, helped crops like cotton and oranges grow in the desert. It was mainly miners and cavalrymen living in Arizona at the time, and they and their families needed any crop they could get in a place where most plants don’t take well to the drier soil and little rainfall. The existence of nearby orange and other citrus fruit trees became a matter of life and death when workers in the mines of Arizona and California got scurvy. And that’s how Arizona’s citrus industry flourished.
Weather Conditions – Sorry North Pole!
Citrus trees are sensitive. They cry, they laugh, they love… Just kidding! Not that kind of sensitive. Rather, they will literally die if they catch just one night of frost! So wherever you grow your trees, please cover your citrus with a blanket or sheet if you think there is even the possibility of freezing temperatures or lower. Veterean desert dwellers even know this is a risk in their climate. Some growers have recommended putting up strings of lights around the tree to keep it warm. This strategy also improves ambiance and adds to backyard beauty.
Climates like Arizona’s that are hot and balmy or that remain temperate and steadily warm are ideal for growing citrus trees.
FACT: Of all citrus trees, lemons are the most sensitive to frost. Lemons are SUPER picky trees and do best in well-drained soil to keep diseases and fungus away from the roots.
When Should I Plant Citrus Trees?
Technically, citrus trees are able to be planted any time of the year, but experts recommend the months of March, April, and October.
Should I Plant an Orange, Lemon, or Grapefruit Seed?
As kids, we all thought we could grow a tree from whatever we placed in the ground — paper clip trees, gum trees, money trees, tooth trees, you name it. Sadly, this is not the case with citrus.
The recommendation to grow a citrus tree is not to start one from seed, but to begin with a small citrus tree from your local nursery or a friend’s yard. Small trees are able to establish roots much better, especially in dry soil. When visiting the nursery, mention that you would like to a buy 15-gallon container of the citrus tree of your choice. Believe it or not, this size is considered small!
Trees in the citrus family are prone to transplant shock, which can occur when they are moved to a larger soil environment as they grow. Shock happens during the uprooting process and is a result of the tree being unable to absorb water through its roots. In order to avoid transplant shock, be sure to keep the roots wet during transport. It is also very important to be gentle with the roots of the tree. More of the roots that are torn away or damaged increases the risk of shock. It is important that your new tree can successfully grow new roots. Follow these instructions and you should have a great crop and a happy, blossoming tree!
When Should I Water my Citrus Tree? Can I Over-Water it?
Great question! Water every one or two weeks in the summer and three to four weeks in the winter (if there even is one in Arizona!). There is certainly a time when citrus trees are in danger. The few months of cold that Arizona sees is literally the most important time to watch and care for your citrus trees, young or old. The winter months are when they can make it or break it.
Citrus trees are one of a few plants that succeed when watered a LOT. But don’t give them constant water; be sure to give them time to dry out before watering again. If you don’t, you risk root rot. Water more often if you have rocky or sandy soil, as these soil media lend themselves to better drainage. Water less often if you have rich, clay-like soil as this holds water longer for the roots to access it.
How do I Maintain My Citrus Tree?
Ever notice the white paint that looks like socks on the trunk of citrus trees as you drive from neighborhood to neighborhood around Arizona? Believe it or not, that is done for mainly decorative reasons! The paint can also helps prevent bugs from invading the tree via its trunk and it keeps the trunk cool when the sun hits it. It also helps deflect the sunlight away from the large branches and lower leaves, or they will literally get sunburned. Consider it a sun tan lotion, SPF citrus. Experts can’t really agree if the paint is effective or not, but Arizonans swear by it.
If you’ve ever hired someone to prune or have been tasked with the project, make sure you’re seated before you read this! It is literally completely unnecessary to prune a citrus tree. Further, they grow best when not pruned! However, if you want your citrus tree to look neatly trimmed and nicely shaped or to bear fruit in certain spots, keep pruning.
Just as with painting a citrus tree white to avoid the sun burning the trunk or large branches, this is also the idea behind not pruning. Don’t trim back what the sun will hit, or you may have a fatality on your hands.
Fertilize your citrus trees three times per year. In the spring months of late February and early March are recommended. Be sure to read the instructions on the fertilizer packaging. Some experts suggest getting the kind specifically made for fruit and nut trees, while others highly say to assess your soil type and proceed from there. This would be good advice to get at the time you purchase your plant.
How Long Will My Tree Live?
Citrus trees have a lifespan of about 25 years. Some live longer and some not quite as long. Grapefruit trees have a tendency to outlive most other citrus trees and can become huge bush-like plants that produce fruits throught the year. And they require even less pruning than the other citrus plants.
Arizona Orange Company is proud to be a part of Arizona’s citrus history! With the very best quality tangerines, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and specialty treats that you can ship to loved ones or as a gift for yourself, we are a must for anyone who loves fresh gourmet at their doorstep!
Citrus for All Seasons
Everyone loves the feeling of growing their own food. It is our primal instinct that fuels the desire to plant and grow what we need and want to eat. Arizona, believe it or not, is a great place to grow nearly anything and everything for your dinner table. Citrus trees are a popular addition to our yards and produce fresh fruit throughout the year. The late summer and early fall are a great time to plant citrus trees so we’ve highlighted the times of year that they produce and why they’re a great addition to our yard.
Lemons/Limes: Eureka Lemon, Lisbon Lemon, Bearss Lime, Mexican/Key Lime
There are multiple varieties of Lemon and Lime trees depending on the size and taste desired. Lisbon Lemons are great for cooking and juicing while Mexican and Key Limes are perfect for your favorite cocktail. Lemons and Limes are closely related in terms of production and harvesting times and are two of the few citrus varieties that can be considered everbearing as they often produce two crops per year. Begin harvesting your winter production any time between November and March, and your summer harvest between September and October.
If you’ve lived in the Valley for any period of time then you know how popular Orange Trees are. From the East Valley to the West, Phoenix is populated with orange groves. Heck, there are even neighborhoods that mandate you have an orange tree in your yard! Here are four of the top orange varieties you can enjoy immediately.
Navel Oranges – considered an early producer and typically ready for harvest between late November through February.
Arizona Sweet Oranges – typically ready for harvest during the same time frame as the Navel but experience an extended harvest through March.
Valencia Oranges – considered to be late harvest oranges and are ready February through July depending on the area temperatures.
Tangerines – early harvest citrus and typically ready in late September and hold well on the tree deep into December.
Red Grapefruits are another tree that can be planted to increase the length of time you can harvest fresh citrus from your yard. These fruit are typically ready January through May and are again ready for harvest later in the year (September through December) depending on our weather patterns. Planting a grapefruit tree heading into the Fall could have fresh fruit hitting your breakfast table by Spring!
Tangelos are a great fruit to plant as they are a hybrid of the Duncan Grapefruit and the tangerine, offering a tart and sweet tasting flesh that many people enjoy for a variety of uses. These trees are typically ready for harvest November through February. For best production you can plant other citrus in your yard to get larger yields.
There are many types of citrus varieties available but these are the most commonly sought after because of their production of the largest and best tasting fruits in our environment. Planting different varieties of citrus allows you to prolong your harvest period and have fresh fruit throughout the year. There’s nothing better than sitting with your family and enjoying the freshest, safest and best tasting fruit right from your own backyard.