I’ve been fiddling around with citrus the last couple of years, that I could get decent fruit off of, growing outside, passively. No greenhouses or electric assist, taking them indoors, etc. I’ve had a few problems ( such as moles) which have made it difficult to verify, but I’m getting a clearer idea of good varieties.
Fresh eating is good, but I also value sour mixing juice for such things as alcohol. I’ve also had success using sour fleshed fruit candied with granulated sugar for kids.
I think I’m in zone eight or nine-ish. We have hot humid summers, with a longish winter where we get a bit of snow. I find most of my citrus do pretty well until mid February. We get a few overcast days in a row, and my theory is that the sun can’t heat the ground up enough to get them through the nights. That’s when most of the leaves will drop off the tree, of course that stunts it for the following season.
I’ve been experimenting a bit with breathable fabric covers, and water tanks next to the trees when possible. But the trees a list here have been able to make it through the snow without. They also all start to ripen in September, well before our first frosts which will damage the fruit quality.
Anyway, my top producers do far:
Mikan ( Will try to find the variety name, as there are many): This is the only real eating fruit I’ve had success with. It’s actually the first one to ripen enough to use this year in august. Last year much larger, but this year due to some issues they all look about the size of golf balls. Very good tree, the only one that lost almost no leaves all winter uncovered. Here’s a picture tonight:
Shikwasa: Hands-down my favorite. Very juicey tropical tasting with a hint of salt.
Yuzu: very stout, perhaps most cold/pest resistant. fruit make good sour juice if picked green.
Sudachi: very good lemon like sour juice, but not abundant producer for me so far.
Kabos: very large beautiful juicy fruit with good aroma, good producer, but I find it too mild for mixer, and not sweet enough for fresh eating.
Those are my favorite so far that I’ve had success with. I have a few more varieties that havent produced yet, and a few that were washouts for me for various reasons.
Eureka lemon: babied with a black 150 gallon water tank for passive warmth. Very pest sensitive, very few lemons, and they take a long time to ripen.
Mikan (Nastu): Very thick skin with the Dry woody fruit. I don’t know why people even bother to grow them.
Navel orange: Even worse than the Eureka lemon. Severe winter dieback to stalk.
Kinkan (kumquat): extremely cold/pest hardy, very big producer, but it flowers so late (last month) none of the fruit get past green before frost.