Monday, February 10, 2014

Citrus Tree Update - Mandarin Orange Blooms

Back in December, my satsuma mandarin orange tree bloomed heavily for the first time.  It's had quite the recovery since last winter when, by early spring, the branches were stripped bare of all leaves.  In fact, all of my citrus trees were in pretty rough shape.  I knew I was doing something wrong since they were receiving an adequate amount of light at our old place.  I had kept them in a conservatory that received light throughout most of the day. 

The inside of our current house, on the other hand, receives little to no direct sunlight because of the tall oaks and maples that surround our property.  Admittedly, I wasn't very optimistic about their chances when I brought them inside to overwinter last November.  To my surprise, they have tolerated being indoors fairly well thus far.  Aside from odd leaf that drops, all three trees appear to be healthy, which is surprising considering none of them have received any direct sunlight during the past 2 1/2 months.  Instead, we have two skylights that provide our dining area (where they are) with a fair amount of indirect light. Two of my trees also have persistent scale issues, but nothing too major.  At the moment, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that by the time spring roles around, they will still have most of their leaves. 

About the flowers themselves, I have to say that they are fairly typical of citrus blossoms in appearance.  However, the fragrance is unbelievable and much stronger than that of my meyer lemon tree.  For three solid weeks, we were treated to the heady jasmine-like perfume of these flowers.  The scent is so amazing that it would be well worth it to grow these trees for the flowers alone.

 While about 90% of the young fruit dropped shortly after the petals did (which is absolutely normal for citrus trees), a few have hung on and are getting larger everyday.  I figure I have about eight viable fruit at this point.  Even if I only got one ripe orange this year, this would make me very happy.  It would be a nice change from the ripe yet sour mandarinquats and meyer lemons I've grown thus far.

And here is a picture of my very healthy looking mandarinquat tree, which is looking more like a bush these days.  It has several fruits on it as well.  Recently, I've started giving both trees a very diluted liquid feeding every other week or so.  I'm hoping this subtle feed will aid in fruit growth, but not so much that it stresses the tree.  I've deduced that over-fertilization was my major problem last year.  Going forward, I don't plan on feeding my trees at all beyond mid-summer.

My meyer lemon tree is also doing pretty well, but unfortunately, I didn't get any viable fruit from the mass of blooms produced last fall.  I'm expecting it to bloom again this spring so I still have hope that we'll get a few ripe lemons by the year's end. 

4 comments:

  1. I can close my eyes and imagine the beautiful aroma of that citrus tree! That's probably the thing I miss most about my Meyer lemon that had to be left for the new homeowner down in AZ. I hope she's taking good care of it! Your foliage looks so healthy! It's surprising how little sunlight the trees need. The sweet pepper I have growing in the laundry room in a north facing window, gets no sun at all, yet it is growing and leafing out and fruiting.

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  2. Oh I wish I had those flowers in my house. I'd never be able to keep them alive though. I tend to kill indoor plants.

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  3. Your citrus trees look so healthy! My lemon and lime trees lost a lot of leaves last year, when I almost killed them due to my new job and no water! They have been growing since then and have produced. But, they have yet to recover all their leaves. Maybe I should take them out of the direct sunlight and see what happens. My orange tree looks great but has yet to produce any blooms.....maybe next year.

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  4. Beautiful citrus trees you have there, I've given up growing them here but have my brother growing for me in southern CA, I visit my trees couple times a year, miss the fragrance flowers :P

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