"Cold Hardy" Citrus in Houston 2023

Dead unprotected 10 YO xieshan satsuma including flying dragon rootstock. This satsuma survived the 2021 freeze protected and bounced back within a year to pre-freeze size. Of 15 unprotected 10 year old inground citrus trees all dead including rootstock due to 16F freeze. I banked 5 trees with pine bark mulch, 2 or 3 grafts may have survived, the rootstock survived.

Whether citrus survive freezes depends not only on the low temperature and duration, it depends on the weather immediately before the freeze. The 2023 freeze had several weeks of spring weather before the freeze causing citrus to begin growing. Since 2000 I’ve not had a satsuma even drop a leaf in several 18F freezes. Not so lucky this year. Years ago I used to bank satsumas every year but after no killing freezes from 1989 to 2021 I stopped doing it except when a freeze was predicted. This year I was to busy to get the 5 yards of mulch necessary to protect.


I’m traumatized. From now on I’ll just have protection on hand for my citrus. I love growing it, but don’t have the wallet to keep replacing and I want it to get big enough to produce.

Do they have freezes in zone 9a?

I think I’m technically 9b and we have been getting freezes lately.

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The norm for Houston is a few light frosts during Winter. That changes typically every 10 or 15 years and we get one in the teens. Folks plant a lot of citrus in the warm years and then we get a bad Winter that kills the citrus back off.