Growing citrus outside the citrus belt

Here in the coastal plains of South Carolina, we have recently been upgraded to climate zone 8 b. This is a picture of a lemon and mandarin tree grafted onto a single rootstock several years ago. It’s seen temps low as mid teens and still grows quality fruit.


what rootstock are you using? tell us more about your methods, please. do you cover for the winter?

I have several citrus, fortunella, and hybrids here, all container grown. Id love to plant them in the ground somehow. Id like to build an attached greenhouse someday. Ir shouid I say an orangerie


I mostly use standard trifoliate ( bitter lemon) for rootstocks. I use a cleft graft method that allows me to place several scions on a single rootstock. This particular tree is at my brother in law’s house. Years ago he bought a citrus tree in Florida and it died in the first winter. The rootstock grew back in the shape of a Y and I grafted the two different citrus types, one on each fork. The young tree was protected from cold for the first few winters, but no protection for several years now.


impressive. id think the fluctuating winter weather you guys surely see would cause mayhem with citrus- nice to hear otherwise.


This paraticular tree never gets covered or protected in any way. IT was protected when young but too large now to wrap or cover. TRifoliate roostock is used.


grafting citrus is a little more touch and go in cold places. id be glad to know your method and any insights youd offer.


go on Youtube and look for:Grafting Demonstration with Stan McKenzie… Should tell you what you want to know. Let me know if you have questions. Thanks


Hi Stan! Great to see you on this forum.

What variety of lemon and mandarin are these?


The mandarin is changsha… the lemon it taichang.


I have some citrus trees in 8A, elevation 4200, Mediterranean climate.

They are all relatively young trees, and all are in pots.

We recently had it dip to 22F suddenly.

I did have a little bit of die back on the Australian finger lime.

I have two Owari Satsuma mandarins on their own rootstock or at least, I believe that to be true, as it says CZO for rootstock.

I also have two Owari Satsuma’s on semi dwarf rootstock.

One of the own rootstock & one of the semi dwarf Satsuma both set a tiny bit of fruit this season. The one on its own roots did not protect the fruit very well, they turned solid black, but the one on semi dwarf rootstock that I think is a little older actually has untouched looking fruit.

The Moro blood orange, Palestinian sweet lime, kumquat, and Rangpur lime, are all still alive as well, and do not seem to be too badly affected by the drop to 22f, even though they are all very small.

They were lined up in a row outdoors and in the same amount of sunlight so this would be a fair comparison.

We now have them in a dome with kerosene lanterns for heating to keep them at about 32 at night whenever possible.

All of these citrus are on their second year here, except for the rangpur lime. And all were in the dome last winter, which seem to last forever, but still two set fruit, so it must not be that bad of a situation for them.

The only citrus fatality so far was a key lime, which I got because I love key lime pie. I bought the Rangpur to replace it and hopefully it will make a good pie.


I have 17 citrus trees in ground in Northeastern NC somehow we are now zone 9a but it’s been a cold winter so far and the weather predictions have been very far off. However I’ve never had any dieback here with minimal protection, a few trees from @Stanthecitrusman himself. Last year my namagi had a branch split at Christmas because it was loaded with fruit still. No damage on my two in ground avocados either, as long as you plant stuff in smart locations you can zone push easily. Also my Barbados cherry with zero protection has yet to be harmed at all and it’s taken 4 light frosts and one heavy one, the coldest we have gotten is 31 this year tho so far.


Nice, meanwhile, for me forty minutes inland from you, my ichang lemon is mostly defoliated and both my Keraji and Changsha appear to be dead or nearly so.

That early hard freeze we had a few weeks back really did a number on my plants. First hard frost is the year and is had to be all the way down to 22 F… I protected most of my trees to some extent or other, but didn’t have enough material to do all of them really well, the aforementioned damaged trees just got a bucket of water and a tarp thrown over them.

Really didn’t help that basically none of my trees were dormant. For whatever reason, they all refused to take a hint when the weather cooled off (haven’t been fertilized in months, so it’s not that). Heck, my Dunstan put on a good four inches of growth in late October like a madlad.


Well, Id say Im jealous of you Carolina guys but it sounds like youre playing a bit of climate roulette. Someday Ill build that orangerie. Meantime, most of my citrus is parked in my sunny but cool basement. I usually have one or two that get to bask in the glory and warmth of upstairs. Changshou kumquat gets to sit on the throne for now.


That would be Carrizo, I believe:




Sorry to hear of your citrus losses. 22F if pretty cold for a first freeze. Growing citrus in colder areas like ours involves a lot of hits and misses. Keep trying… dont give up!


mine is on Meyer lemon seedling rootstock that I grew out. I hadn’t realized at the time there are potential compatibility issues, but I have Changshou/Fukushu and Meiwa both grafted to it with no observed issues in 5 years or so. Id love to try some flying dragon though. An acquaintance has one planted in ground outside in zone 6 western MA, just an hr south of me


Thank you!

You have no idea how hard I tried to find what CZO stood for. I even called the nursery that was the source for the tree and they couldn’t tell me.

It does say standard on the tag, so this will be a big tree I guess. How big do standard size Owari Satsuma get?

I just looked it up they get to be about 15 to 20 feet.

The semi dwarf rootstock is C – 35.

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What kind of avocados are you growing? If grafted, do you know what type of rootstock they are on?

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I grow citrus in ground here in NE Oklahoma. I use C9s Christmas lights and cover them with frost cloth. Lights come on at 38F
I get 40-50 pounds of meyer lemons every December. This year I’m getting good amount of miho satsumas.