Can fruit be grown in the Pacific Northwest?

I have an insatiable appetite for lemons and I’d love to grow lemon trees. Pacific Northwest is having longer and warmer Springs due to climate change. Can I grow lemon trees and orange trees or any fruit tree?

“…or any fruit tree” Yes, but perhaps you meant any citrus tree.

Nurseries in this area have been selling Meyer Lemon plants for some years, but winter freezes here (we had over a dozen freezes last winter) will damage or kill citrus if planted out in-ground, regardless of warmer springs. Moving citrus annually from indoor to outdoor is tricky. A greenhouse or other shelter will work. Certain “hardy citrus varieties” may work with some protection, but they are not the quality of lemons.

Calamondin is your best chance for outdoors, but I would leave it in a large pot for garage storage some winter weeks.

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Which hardiness zone are you? I have read the Owari Satsuma mandarin on trifoliate orange rootstock is hardy to Zone 8. I am keeping my eyes open for one because I think it is the only good citrus that might survive on a South wall. It would probably require some protection during January, but I want to give it a shot
This is a guide to fruits that grow in W Washington.
http://figs4fun.com/Links/FigLink777.pdf

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Edible citrus can’t survive extended freezing weather. So called zone 8B in the PNW is a far cry from 8B in Texas. Where I live near Houston freezes last no longer than a few hours and my in ground satsuma trees have been freeze damaged only once in 20 years. We have 8 months of hot weather here. You have only a few weeks of hot weather in PNW.

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Trifoliate orange is a deciduous, dwarfing citrus rootstock that forces the tree into dormancy during the frozen months. I have lived in 8b N Florida, 8b Central Texas, and 8b PNW, so I am plenty familiar with the climate.
There are several places in the yard that are sheltered and barely freeze. I am not sure citrus requires as much heat as you think. By your logic, it would also be impossible to grow figs here.

Lived for 14 years in Seattle including 4 years at UW. Not citrus weather IMHO, couldn’t stand the rainy weather so I moved to the South. Not many citrus on trifoliate here near Houston anymore since last citrus killing weather was 1989. Most now on citrange which grows 5X+ as fast. I’ve got many on flying dragon, some on sour orange, citrange, and swingle. Swingle my favorite root stock. FD is way too slow IMHO. Wish I hadn’t used FD as root stock on my 7 year old trees and no bigger than 6 feet. I’ve seen figs in Seattle but no citrus. My brother there has large palm trees. Citrus really doesn’t like extended freezing weather and summers averaging in the low 70s.

Citrus doesn’t wake up here until weather is 60F+. Seattle has an average of 57F low in August the warmest month. Bark quits slipping(tree growing) after a few nights below 60F in November and doesn’t start slipping again until April. Satsuma not hardy to zone 8A which is 10-15F. 8B is OK which is 15-20F but not freezes lasting longer than a few hours. I am on the 8B/9A line with very few(not yearly) nights of sub 20F lows. This winter we were 10A(30-35F) but every few years we get a few 8B nights around 19F for a few hours. CitrusFreeze - mrtexascitrus

My “cold hardy” citrus site: ColdHardyCitrus - mrtexascitrus

Latest marketing gimmick here is “Frost” series of mandarin/lemon/grapefruit. Even better arctic frost! They market these in areas of Texas where citrus won’t survive reliably like Central Texas and Dallas. Great for repeat sales for the growers at least until the buyers wise up as they will only survive the warmest winters in Dallas. The frost mandarin is satsuma x changsha mandarin. It has proven at least in my area not any more cold hardy than satsuma. http://texassuperstar.com/plants/satsuma_arctic_frost/index.html

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calamondin i was curious becuase i saw some other locals just said their kumquat stay outside in zone 8b seattle without any protection. i didnt know which variety it was. thank you for info helpful!

The Kumquat is the hardiest Citrus.
Try a Mandarinquat.

Citrus is possible to grow in 8B PNW. But it isn’t easy.

You need warm microclimate, year round protection from rain, south or southwest orientation, a reflective wall for trapping heat and winter frost protection.

If you are motivated enough to provide all of the above, all citrus will produce here.

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I have Yuzu on Flying Dragon unprotected. It grows extremely slow, although I also don’t fertilize it much, trying to push harder this spring.

It’s been in the ground 4 years or so. Last year it produced 2 fruit. about 3.5’ tall. It kept its leaves this winter. Past years its lost most or all at some point.

Of course, not something you segment and eat fresh. I really like the flavor though. I’m looking forward to making some Yuzu flavored cheesecakes and quickbreads or pound cake.

Just got a Sudachi from One Green World to try. Need to get it in the ground.

OP may want to check out the Home Orchard Society for info and fellowship related to growing fruit trees in the PNW where we’re located. The Willamette Valley is a great climate for a wide variety of temperate fruits.

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The Kumquat is one of the hardiest citrus.
Lemons and Mandarin oranges next
Limes are not Hardy.

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Actually the 8b climate west of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon is excellent for several varieties of citrus. The sudachi and ichandrin yuzu do excellent. Also the frost satsuma, Ichang lemon and citramelo grapefruit all thrive. The Willamette Valley is virtually rain free from May until October and the average high is above 80 for 5 months. If you grow against a south facing wall you won’t ever have to cover it. If you cruise around Portland and Seattle there are literally hundreds of citrus thriving in the 8b climate of the Pacific Northwest. I came here from Southern California fully expecting that my citrus growing days were long gone. That didn’t turn out the be the case. While I can’t grow the classic citrus of my youth like key limes and temple orange, I am very pleased with the citrus I get to grow in an unlikely region. I literally have too much citrus fruit every fall. I end up composting some. There is actually a guy on Vancouver Island with a YouTube channel who has a phenomenal citrus orchard that would blow your mind. He is at 50 degrees N and has every type of citrus you could imagine. Do a search on YouTube for growing citrus on Vancouver Island. It will amaze you.

I’d love to see pictures your trees and hear more about what you are growing, and maybe get a chance to try some “locally” grown citrus. I’m just outside the Northern end of the Willamette valley. I have Yuzu that has fruited once in maybe 8 years, a relatively new sudachi, and have just grafted Shangjuan Lemon last summer.

I’d say June through September is nearly rain free here. Like Portland and Eugene, only July and August have average highs above 80 where I’m at.

I’m in the central Willamette Valley. From May 1st until October 1st there are only 17 days of rainfall. That’s the 30 year average. I consider that very rare, since most locations among this latitude get between 50-60 days of rain in that same time frame. If you really want to break it down further, the first two weeks of May and the last two weeks of September account for 12 of those 17 days. So it is accurate to say that from the months of May until October there is almost no rain. Sure there are some years with high variability, but in general the Pacific Northwest complies succinctly with a Mediterranean rainfall pattern.

The temperature pattern is also consistent with a cold variation of the Mediterranean climate. Where I live there is limited marine influence compared to several locations in this region. The high temps begin hitting 80 with regularity in May and continue into September. I am in a well defined valley at about 250 feet above sea level. The surrounding hills create a significant wind shelter and the temp here is almost always 5-7 degrees warmer than the readings in downtown Salem. Hence there are 5 calendar months when the average temp hits 80 for all or at least a considerable portion of that month.

In relation to my citrus there are three other factors that create the heat island which allows me to have prolific citrus yields. I have a property with 1/2 acre of unobstructed southern exposure where I do all my edible planting. I enclosed the garden space with a 7’ cedar fence. Lastly, I planted all the citrus in raised beds constructed at the base of a 20’ high south facing wall. The amount of heat generated in my growing area is outstanding and the reason I have great success with figs, feijoa, furry Hayward kiwi and of course the hardy citrus.

Ultimately, I am grateful to be able to grow whatever citrus I can. While not all microclimate regions of the Pacific Northwest are as well suited for growing citrus as my hillside, nearly anybody west of the Cascades and below 1000 feet should be able to successfully grow both types of yuzu and a few others that have great cold tolerance.

Indeed, in the near future, there will definitely be a winter with once in a decade low temps and I suspect my citrus won’t do as well as they have in recent memory. Yet they will bounce back and rebound to a high yield within a couple of seasons.

My argument wasn’t that citrus is easy to grow here, just that it isn’t impossible and in fact does well in the proper microclimate. The guy I was responding to claimed it is impossible to grow citrus in western Oregon/Washington and I know that is not a true statement. We have a climate akin to parts of northern Portugal and Spain, and these are also regions with the potential for growing citrus.

I would be happy to show you pics of the garden. In fact, I’d be even happier if you came and visited in October and took a bag of citrus home with you. That will save it from the green bin. Drop a line anytime.

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There’s a number of excellent fruits
that grow well
in the Puget Sound Lowlands.
Citrus
is not one of those.
Sure
you can manage to do so
with enough efforts
but
is it worth it?

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That not accurate. It depends on the type of citrus. If you grow either type of yuzu in a south facing location it requires no more effort than an apple tree. Now if you want to grow meyer lemon that’s a different story. My meyer lemon requires a stay in the greenhouse from December to March. But the yuzu is an excellent citrus and really has zero problems in this climate. Here is a guy with a very productive yuzu orchard in British Columbia:

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Here’s the guy up in British Columbia. He is a much better resource for teaching about growing citrus in PNW. I mean that’s his life and I’m just a hobbyist.

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Last year, with a low of 24F, my potted yuzu made it through the winter fine but lost all its leaves with the heat wave in June. (I should have paid more attention to black pot on hot deck! )
This year I brought the yuzu in for the winter. Since my low was a record-breaking 7F, don’t know whether bubble wrap and lights would have been enough protection. With that type of protection, my Lisbon lemon made it but is dropping its leaves. My Hamlin orange made it and will suffer only partial defoliation. So perhaps the Yuzu would have been fine.
Did anyone leave their yuzu outside unprotected? Was your low below 15F (-9C)?

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It hasn’t dropped below 18 in a few years. So they lost their leaves in that heat wave last June? Mine didn’t lose any leaves at all, and it got up to 117 for 3 days in a row. In terms of the cold issues, yuzu will get a little yellow in the winter and some leaves in the dead or winter. But they will bounce right back if they aren’t exposed to temps below 10f. If the forecast called for temps into the mid teens I would definitely cover them. But that is so uncommon down here in my part of Oregon that I haven’t had to do that yet. I think the fact that my yard is a heat island really helps them get through the winter without any significant leave loss. I’m sure the once in a decade temps are coming soon, so I am ready with the frost covers if need be. All in all I think growing yuzu is a pretty stress free and uncomplicated hobby on my property. I’ve also seen many other thriving yuzu in the Portland area. Originally I’m from Southern California so my expectations are tempered. I literally grew up surrounded by thousands of acres of citrus groves, so I’m a bit jaded. Yet I am still grateful that we can even grow any citrus up here since we are above 45 degrees north. The key is having a raised bed against a south facing wall. If you have that you’ll get a reliable yuzu crop. As for the the other more sensitive citrus I have a greenhouse that I heat to 45 degrees and keep my tender citrus in there from December until the end of March.

strong texthttps://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n5nbeHPjj2w

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If I remember correctly, Mr. Texas doesn’t think hardy citrus tastes good enough to grow. And in fact, he’s right that way because for people used to market citrus, it isn’t. My wife hates the taste of my citrangequat, and she turned her nose up at Sudachi as “tasting too orange like”. I have Meyer lemons, Sudachi, and Citrangequats outside and she still asks me to buy Lemons and Limes at the store!

For those of us who are happy to grow any citrus at all, then the yuzu, citranges, etc will work. But don’t give them to a regular person if you don’t want your feelings hurt. The only hardy citrus my wife is excited to eat is my UGA irradiated Changsha because of the flavor. And she still gets annoyed at the 3 or so seeds per fruit due to the meyer beside it pollinating.

The changsha is better than the garbage mandarins that are avilable this year, but I barely touch my citrangequat any more. The sudachi ripe has orange off notes, and green it is just sour with less flavor than the citrangequat. I yanked out my Yuzuquat because the fruit was just sour with no flavor, and the thorns were out of control as it grew so fast.

So yes, some citrus can be grown, but temper your expectations as to the quality. The yuzu was full of seeds, and the juice was just OK. The zest is highly fragrant but my UGA ichang has the same zest notes with more juice, and less seeds. I sold the yuzu to a friend after the Ichang started bearing.

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