Citrus is king

Lots of citrus starting to pop right now. Heading up the list are ‘Kishu’ mandarins:


Summer rains this year forced some large fruit, splits and early ripening on some of my ‘Washington’ navels. The little bit of chill (into the 40’s) last week is helping them color up:


Citrus is pretty fabulous, especially when you can’t grow it outdoors. I have four trees indoors, and they can’t wait to get outside every May. You’ve got a tree load of great fruit there and my Meyer Lemon produced about 8 - 10 a year. My Key Lime will have its first 30 limes this year. Now that is exciting for someone who lives in RI. Also just slicing open one Key Lime is an instant trip to the Bahamas and thinking of the hot sand and a rum punch!


Hats off to you @mrsg47! I wouldn’t have the patience to grow things that aren’t easy for my zone.

We have a family friend that overloaded us with key limes this year. No complaints at all. We call them Mexican limes here for the most part. It’s an exceptionally great lime when yellow ripe. Hard to believe that so much juice can come from such a small lime.

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Love those Kishus. I better go check my tree. It is hidden from view, now that my Mexican Sage is as big as a house, now, up on my front slope.

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I harvest ‘Meyer’ lemons from this tree 9-10 months out of the year:


For whatever reason, I’m horrible at growing citrus. I had a potted Dancy mandarin when I was living in Los Angeles that did well, but everything I’m growing up in Berkeley looks sickly. Bearrs lime, a new Dancy mandarin, and a Star Ruby grapefruit all had serious dieback in the last year.

Are they just hard to get established in ground?

Anyway, I love citrus and am very jealous MrClint. Looking good.


Citrus is almost bulletproof in-ground around here. I can’t speak to No Cal. We get heavy pest pressure & drought stress and they still bear heavily for the most part. Worst case can be a slightly off – or alternate bearing year.

Mr Clint,

Those lemons look swank. What luxury.


Mr. Clint where do you live such that you are able to grow citrus, Southern California? I’m just getting into the [addiction] hobby myself and so far have a White Grapefruit (shoddy labeling at the nursery on Volkamer Lemon, Meyer Lemon on “Improved” Carrizo, mystery air layer that’s hopefully some type of lemon, Persian Lime on its own roots and unidentified seedling that I think may be a Key Lime. I have some Calamondin seeds that I’m planning to use to try to grow one from seed, do you know if anyone has had success with these and how long they take? Our season is year-round. Again, beautiful trees! Navel are my absolute favorite orange, I only haven’t bought one because I’m not sure how oranges do in tropical countries (I don’t mind if they don’t color up without the cold but the sweetness development is a must). Keep up the good work!

I’ve wondered if it might be due to the cooler coastal temperatures we have here–I’m less than a mile off the bay. They do seem hard to actually kill though. I thought the grapefruit in particular was a goner but it keeps putting out (very) little shoots of new growth. Someone either on GW or GF said they lived around here and had similar issues but after a few years their citrus finally got going. Who knows.

It could also just be I’m not good enough at benign neglect. I hear that can be the best thing for citrus.

@BahamaDan, I’m in a marginal (commercialy speaking) citrus growing region of So Cal. As dooryard fruit citrus thrives on neglect here. They are almost bullet proof and that’s exactly what I like about them. Having great fruit all through fall and winter is a huge plus as well.


The Summer rains this year caused a lot of losses due to splits on ‘Page’ mandarin. As a result I have a small crop that is ripening early.

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‘Bearss’ limes are just about done. So good in drinks and to splash on just about any dish to finish.

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If there is any citrus that smells more wonderful freshly picked with the peel still on than limes, I haven’t experienced it, yet.

Sometimes I think that those who live in your area are more fortunate because you can home grow citrus in the ground and can have harvests much much larger than I will ever get from my much smaller container grown trees. But right now I feel very fortunate with my own growing conditions. The hot and humid growing conditions here cause citrus fruits to grow larger, juicier, with thinner, smoother skins, and the large day/night temperature swings contribute to deep coloration of both the skin and fruit. Also, I get no skin cracking in container grown fruit, because I control the watering. Another interpretation of that last statement is that I have to keep a careful eye on them and spend a lot of time hand watering them.

I might not get a tree full of Bearss at once. Instead, I’ve been getting a nearly perpetual supply, since they bloom and set more fruit every few weeks. I find that beneficial for my own purposes with the lemons and limes, since I can pick them as I want to use them on a close to year-round basis. Now, if satsumas could do that too, life would be nearly perfect on the citrus front.

I’ve been enjoying my satsumas for the past month or so. There are only a few left on the tree. I’ve had ripe Bearss since August. Each time they bloom I wonder if it will be the final bloom for this year, but they are still blooming and putting on new growth, even now. I’ve also recently been picking key limes. These babies are golf ball sized. There are smaller ones developing from more recent blooms, as well. It’s putting out its heaviest bloom so far right now. There are hundreds of flowers. Too many for me to count. I can see how your neighbor had an over-abundance from an in-ground tree! If these put out as much scent as lemon flowers, the entire yard or house would be perfumed.

Both the Meyer and Ponderosa lemons are in a flowering cycle, although nothing like the key lime.

Since I’m talking about citrus blooms, I might as well note that my pineapple orange is getting ready to open its blossoms. That excites me. I’m hoping my navel orange trees bloom this year, too. They’re putting on fresh new growth right now, but they were putting on lots of growth all summer, too.

Some of the kumquats are starting to get well colored. I’m not going to sample any for awhile, though. Kumquats picked too early taste like a combination of dish soap and sour to me. I don’t care to waste them on that sort of taste experience.

Tonight mine are all once again nestled indoors inside their mylar lined grow tent. Growing them is far from a carefree endeavor for me, but it’s worth the effort; not only for the experience of superior taste, juiciness, and appearance, but also because one or another tends to be blooming throughout the winter, often scenting the room. That helps keep the spirits up until the plums start blooming in about three months.


My hat’s off too you for making citrus happen outside its normal range. They are beautiful trees in their own right, the fragrant blossoms and tasty fruit are bonuses.

I’ve got to put peeling a kishu mandarin ahead of any lime. The perfume from a kishu peel will draw a crowd.

Thank you, Clint. Someone asked me today, when they saw me bringing me my daily raspberry pickings, why I keep growing things that are difficult here. One big reason is that there is extra enjoyment in every taste.

When I lived in L.A. (Torrance) People in the neighborhood had trees in their front yards. I think they enjoyed them more as easy care landscaping than for the fruit, because none of them ever seemed to be harvested. It bothered me to see the fruit go to waste.

Oh, and I made an error in my previous post. It’s not the pineapple orange that is starting to bloom. It’s a red navel that started opening its blossoms last night.

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I love citrus. Do you grow grapefruit? Blood oranges (moro?)? Isn’t it possible to have all types of citrus on one tree (lemons/limes/grapefruit/oranges/etc etc)?

I don’t eat grapefruit or blood oranges very often, so I don’t grow them. Haven’t really had one good enough (of either variety) that would send me directly to the nursery. I seem to gravitate to other fruit in those harvest windows. ‘Page’ mandarin has some grapefruit in its parentage, and a hint of the flavor comes through – in a very pleasing way.

As for Franken-citrus, Four Winds Growers suggests that closer spacing will achieve better results:

I eat large quantities of both…most of the grapefruit seems to come from Florida/Texas…at least this time of year. Moro oranges seem to have a short window in the winter when they are available…but they are my fav out of the citrus i’ve had. Not a huge fan of easy peelers…but maybe i just haven’t had a good one. Navels are excellent when in season.

If i had the means, i’d grow citrus up here. Need a greenhouse. A large greenhouse in Madison had a bunch of container grown citrus full of fruit one year that i visited…very cool.

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