Growing citrus in coastal California

Citrus is king here in the winter and there are a plenty of varieties to choose from. While Bay Area is close to ideal for growing citrus in-ground, there are limitations. The milder weather doesn’t ripen grapefruits or pomelos or even many of the oranges. Others need to be let hang on the tree for much longer compared to the Central Valley. While there is quite a lot of local knowledge among the citrus growers here, I wanted to start this thread to document my experiences. I am slowly getting obsessed with having a citrus collection in my small yard, now that I am getting decent success with grafting CCPP budwood.

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I will start with my Meyer Lemon. I am disappointed, not because we can’t grow it here. Lemons are the ones that are best suited for our area. I don’t like the fruit - not for cooking and surprisingly not for lemonades either. I prefer the Eureka lemon but I get tons of them whenever I want - from neighbors, friends, almost every backyard has way too many fruits and most are left to rot. Recently, I have started to become curious about kumquats, so I top-worked the tree with a few kumquat varieties.

Nordmann seedless - This is the only variety I wanted to graft and save my money on the rest, but got sucked into ordering others after reading about those varieties :slight_smile: I tried Nagami from the farmers market and they were good enough for a snack, but with pesky seeds. Hoping this seedless version can’t be too bad.

Meiwa - supposed to be the sweetest of them all. I saw two accessions in CCPP. Not sure whats the difference between these two, but I got the CRC 3833. This is supposedly tricky to graft but it was straightforward on Meyer Lemon (actually I didn’t have a problem with any variety so far). Need to wait and see if there are signs of delayed incompatibility

Centennial variegated - variegation in leaves and fruits. Supposedly a budsport of Nagami seedling.

Indio Mandarinquat - This one I am not too sure about. Many say this is way too sour. Given that I was ordering others anyway, I said why not :slight_smile: Again, vigorous graft

Fukushu/Changshou - Larger than Nagami, but its not clear if it tastes better. I’ll have to see. Graft is a slow grower so far. I only see spec of growth on 3 grafts.

Kaffir Lime - Not a kumquat, but I like this one. Leaves are fragrant and can be used in cooking. I don’t need a big tree, just a small graft at the bottom should do for my consumption. Even these first leaves are very aromatic.

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Planted Oro Blanco 2 years ago as it sounded exotic among the citrus available in Home Depot :slight_smile: We really like this one. Hoping to see much more fruits soon

Planning to graft a few Pomelo/grapefruit hybrids on this. So far, it has Melogold, Cocktail grapefruit (from what I read, not really a true grapefruit) and Valentine pomelo. Almost all the fruits are under the skirt of the canopy. All of them are OBs with one sole cocktail fruit on the right

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This weird looking tree is Owari Satsuma. It is on a dwarf rootstock. I see many complaining that dwarf rootstock runts this variety, but I don’t have any problem with the vigor. It puts out straggly arms, creeps on the floor, tricky to control. It produced 1-2 fruits for a couple of years, but this year I counted around 70. I mistakenly pruned late in the season, so only one side is fruiting (which hopefully means it can be very productive).

For some reason, this tree is by far the hardest to graft of any I have tried. I wasted so many CCPP scions on this one, but finally managed to get one of Okitsu Wase, Miho Wase and Xie Shan satsumas on it. The latter is still iffy but I see some fruits on Okitsu Wase. Looks like its earlier than Owari, which is great.

Owari

Okitsu Wase

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Nice looking trees. I wish there were a citrus repository in Georgia. We need certified budwood but there is no in state supplier somehow. California is not interested in sending budwood across the US…

I always wonder what our west coast growers do with all that citrus…

is CCPP budwood specifically restricted to Georgia? I know folks in Texas and PNW getting their budwood from CCPP (with a more expensive price)

I have gotten bud wood from CCPP in the past but decided I am better off just ordering trees from a vendor if I only need one cutting from one variety.
CCPP charges $15 per cutting, $25 shipping and $12 phytosanitary certificate for total of $52 for one cutting. Four Winds charges $32 for 1 ft tree plus $16 shipping for total of $48. Why order one budwood when you could get a tree for less than what CCPP charges?
Of course, if you want more than one cutting, then it may be worth ordering from CCPP but then again, you will get cuttings, not trees.

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I would not waste my time & money with CCPP. I wonder if they got their letter from Soviet Unions CCCP.

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This.

It’s way too expensive. I’ll probably be looking at Florida to see what their distribution looks like.

Folks in Texas supposed to order CCPP budwood thru the Texas Budwood
Bureau. Let’s see, $40 for budwood, $150 service fee, $35 shipping = $225 for one variety.

Paid it once and two varieties had 0 buds take, the other two, all buds took.

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wow, thats so expensive for budwoods! Here I am crying about California CCPP costs! My irrational cribbing aside, for CA, CCPP is indeed doing a good job at making so many disease-free varieties available while also helping to control HLB. Now that I’ve gotten a hang of grafting citrus (hoping it doesn’t go away next season), I am complaining less.

Okitsu Wase (left) and Owari (right) Satsumas. The size difference is real and not the camera angle. Okitsu was meh but its from a one year graft and slightly past its prime. Owari was better and from the 3 year in the ground base tree. It was still at 11 brix and I think it can hang on for a bit longer. Both have room for improvement.

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Cocktail grapefruit - Not really a grapefruit but Pomelo x mandarin hybrid. Only fruit from a few 2 year old grafts. I have seen pics from members here but somehow thought the fruit is on the smaller side. This one is definitely big, not sure if that because only one was hanging on. The size is larger than a typical Oro Blanco but very less pith.


The taste is closer to an orange, quite juicy, few big seeds and brix between 11 and 12. It nicely complements Oro Blanco in terms of ripening time, flavor and size of the fruit. I prefer this one to OBs available now, but OB in April/May at its peak here, is better.

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That looks good! I found it better for juicing, has an interesting tropical flavor to it!

Have you tasted Valentine Pummelo? I am curious to try them, will probably be available in some markets in a few weeks

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Nope, but planted one regardless :slight_smile: I never saw Valentine pomelo in super markets around here. However, I’m not regular as I used to be before Covid. Which store carries them?

Hopefully I get more than one next year so I can juice them

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https://youtu.be/tc9bIqkf1Fo - Sigona’s Market, they are in Palo Alto.

I am having a tough time finding a Valentine Pummelo tree. Four winds is always sold out. Where did you get yours?

Thanks, I have seen this video before. Just assumed this was in SF. My tree came from Fourwinds. You can call them and ask when they’ll have it in stock. I planted it in late 2020. Hoping it puts out few blooms this year.

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I got to try them today, post some pics on the other thread: “What fruit did you eat today”

There were rogue blooms on my citrus last winter and these have developed into fruits now. These are on Owari Satsuma


I wonder if they’ll even ripen up this summer. Mandarins/oranges generally need chill to turn orange color and ripen. Even summer-ripening oranges change their color from green to orange in the previous winter. My guess is these will remain green this summer and ripen only in winter along with fruits from regular cycle but become completely dry by then.

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Interesting thread, had you tried willowleaf/mediterranean mandarin. (like Avana mandarin)