Cold Tolerance of Cara Cara Navel Orange and Blood Orange

I’m thinking of adding another orange to my orchard. I have one last spot next to my house on the South Side. I’m trying to decide between a regular Washington Naval, a Cara Cara Naval or a blood orange. I know that folks have had some luck growing navel oranges in the area with about the same amount of protection that I give my Lemon Frost lemon. But does anyone know how cold tolerant cara cara or blood orange can be when grafted onto trifoliate root stock? Thanks for any advice you can give. I’m in Hardiness Zone 8b. Most years it really doesn’t get much colder than 26 F. Last year it got down to 22 F. It got down to 16F in 2014 and 2013. That gives you a sense of what I might have to try and protect an inground tree against. God bless.


I’d be surprised if a Washington Navel survives long term in your location without serious protection. Here in 9B they start to take some foliage damage at about 27F. But my tree is 20 feet high and about the same wide with about 200 lbs of fruit on it atm, and can withstand our worst winters. And I’ve never protected it at all. But the closest commercial growers are about 50 miles south of us. If you hit 16F again it will get killed to the ground and probably never recover.

But, if you’re willing to protect it during the odd cold spell until it gets some size, who knows, might be doable.

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I can protect them until they get about 8 to 10 feet tall, then it becomes a lot harder. An advantage to trifoliate rootstock is that it slows growth down and helps to prevent winter newgrowth on account of the rootstock going dormant. The dwarfing characteristic helps to maintain the tree at a small enough size to protect. When I say protect I put incandescent Christmas lights in the branches, through a large cotton painter’s tarp over the tree and sit a large outdoor trashcan full of water next to the trunk. So far this has been adequate for my satsumas, Lemon Frost and cumquat. But then, we have not gone below 22 since I got my trees.

That’ll certainly help. They are way more frost tender then my Meyer Lemon, but once you get a nice think mature canopy they become much more bullet proof. With the exception of some frost burnt leaves on the crown, that they recover during the spring flush. But our all time record low from 40 years ago was 18F. Since I’ve lived here 25F for about 4 hours was the toughest it’s had to endure.

Good luck!

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I live about 20 miles outside of 8b. I am in zone 8a in Georgia and have blood oranges, cara caras, and about 50 other citrus trees planted out in ground for the last two years. I cover my smaller trees when it gets down below mid twenties with frost cloth. I have 55 gallon barrels of water next to all my trees, but have never used any other source of heat and have not lost any trees…yet. Some of mine are on FD, but many are on regular trifoliata, ie. Rubidoux. Some are on other rootstocks, as a test. Some have had slight damage, but mainly just to the last flush in the fall. This winter so far, our coldest night has been 26°f, but last year, and the year before, we had 14° f on a few nights. So far so good.



That sounds promising.
Thank you.

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Check out Franklin Farms in Statesboro Georgia.


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I know one of the partners with that operation well. He owns the nursery that will be ordering the cara cara for me. He can get it on flying dragon which will add some heartiness. He told me that he knows of several Washington Navels in the area that are mature and producing, but he wasn’t nearly as sure about cara cara. He was the one who ordered Lemon Frost for me but did not get any for himself because he wasn’t confident that it would take our climate. LOL. So far Lemon Frost has experienced a lot less cold damage than it’s supposedly much more frost resistant series sister, Arctic Frost. It’s also more productive and in my view a better tasting, more interesting fruit given that it’s intermediate lemon-tangerine flavors and sweetness with just enough tartness to make you pucker just a bit. I rub it in every time I see him, especially now that the company that owns the patent has gone out of the citrus business. LOL! Thanks and God bless.

Superior quality Oranges.


Where do you live in 8b? 8b in Seattle area is much different than 8b Georgia. Cold hardiness depend much more than rootstock and lowest temperature. Important is the weather before the freeze and duration of freeze. If you get 20F freezes every year I’d say good luck. Satsuma can tolerate a few hours of 20F easily.

Removed by poster.

I’m in the Middle of 8B. Most years it does not get below 20F, but about once or twice a decade it will go down to 16 for a few hours. Winter weather in Georgia is very erratic. It can bounce from 80F to 20F over a three day period. But it almost never stays below 20 for more than three or four hours. So far I haven’t had any problem with satsumas or even my Lemon Frost. I’m going to attempt cara cara and blood orange. I will plant them about 2 ft from the South facing wall of my house. They will be flanked on both sides by established satsumas. I’m going to plant young satsumas cattycornered in front of them to the SE and SW to serve as wind breaks for them. I have done something similar to my Lemon Frost which is hardy to 20. I have a sasanqua bush southeast of it. It’s actually in a corner where the house protects it to the South and West. I wish I had saved that spot for my blood orange, but oh well.

In my Zone 8 be, I can generally count on getting about 600 chilling hours, but we haven’t gotten 800 very often lately.

I am on border of 8b/9a in Houston area. Cara cara and blood orange should work with minimal
protection. Here is how I protect: CitrusFreeze - mrtexascitrus

Blood Orange



I think long term you would be disappointed unless you can add some sort of protection. Oranges are less hardy than satsumas. It is the length of time below 25 degrees that hurts the most. If it dips to 16 but took several hours in the low 20s they will not survive.

It will take about 3 to 4 years before the first harvest and the first good harvest is usually of very poor quality. I was going to pull up my navel orange. First year was mealy and not fit to eat. I ate someone else’s second year harvest that was very good. They told me their harvest the year before, their first harvest, was as bad as mine.

All this to say it will probably be 4 to 5 years for first good crop, and that leaves time to get the really cold temperatures that can kill the plant.


The Washington Navel oranges we grow here in Cali is as sweet as orange soda, and produce 100’s lbs per tree every year. But to repeat, we only get down to 26/27F for a few hours per winter, with an all-time recorded low back on January 5, 1961 of 18F. With 100% of our winter days reaching the mid 50’s and above. I wish the OP luck, but low 20’s will not produce very good sweet fruit long term without serious protection and a great micro climate.

In my slightly warmer 8b/9a location I used to bank the trunks with dirt. Haven’t had to in many years as the freezes haven’t been bad. This example is a low 20s freeze on tarocco blood orange. CitrusFreeze - mrtexascitrus

As I said, they probably will survive. But a defoliated Navel Orange tree year after year will not end well.

I agree. Cara cara survives where I live because defoliating temperatures are uncommon. You then miss a year of fruit as well.

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