Growing Owari Satsuma mandarin indoors?

I want to try to grow mandarin tree in a pot. The idea is to get most hardy one and keep it outside on the deck as long as it possible, then move inside. I am in zone 5b, so first frost can easily be in the beginning of October and last one in the middle of May. Before I spent money on the tree I have bunch of questions I need to answer and sure, the sellers are not in any rush to answer them. So here I am :grin:.

  1. Does it need pollinator?
  2. How big I have to have it (width and height) to be productive?
  3. How big of a pot it needs? I prefer to plant it in the max size pot instead of transplanting it each year, unless I have to due to proper procedure(root trim?)
  4. Moving from deck indoors is kind of clear - move it before the frost( I know it can handle about 15 F, but I guess this is in the ground, not in the pot). What about moving it back to the deck in spring? I don’t think it will appreciate a jump from 70F to 40F. So I guess I have to keep it inside until outside temperature is around 70F?
  5. Lights when inside - would be a good growing lamp above enough or I need to add more lights on the sides, like vertically placed shop lights?
  6. Anything else I forgot to ask or didn’t think about? (Feel free to tel me - don’t do it at all - I don’t want to start that process unless there is a good chance of success.)
    Thank you, guys, you are the best! And have the best holidays ever, what ever it is you celebrating!
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Don’t think you need a pollinator
I have gotten 4 fruit off of a 3’ft plant in a gal .pot
So it’s productive at a small size.
Size of pot; the bigger the better, it’s really a matter of how big a pot can you move.
1/2 barrel would be ideal.
With a “lot of perlite” in the mix an letting them dry out befor moveing, large pots are manageable . Though still a project !
I believe Stan Mckinze will take the time on the phone or email, to answer about any citrus questions you may have. Known as a really great guy, and he is.! The best source of hardy citrus , and knowledge there of.
I keep my citrus in "large "south facing Windows for light.
I would bring in befor it gets in the mid 20’s


Thank you! And is it just enough light in winter? Or you have some supplement lighting? And can you give a link for Stan Mckinze web site?

The sun is my light.
My house is solar powered , so when there is not much sun (now) I would not have extra power to run things like lights on plants.
I believe in the winter the light requirements of citrus is relatively low.
Mine do ok.

Punch in ;
Mckenzie farm , citrus

I spelled it wrong the first time

Got it, thanks!

I think , assuming you have grid power,
In the fall when it starts to get cold ,you could do the cristmas lights and remay covers to get past those first few frosty nights, and benefit from an Indian summer.
Then when it looks like it is going to get cold ,and stay cold , bring them inside.
I have way to many potted plants to move,so I cannot wait until the last minute.

And when you move it inside - is it in the house, where temperature is 70F or some colder room?

Some 70deg. Some cooler
I think cooler is winter. Some people have a lot of leaf drop when they bring them inside, low humidity etc. I spay hort. Oil befor bringing them in ,I think it helps. There is some info I think on G.W. About citrus leaf drop.
I have 24 or so different citrus var… Many new / young plants. Trialing some in unheated high tunnel. Many I move in and out of the house, summer out side.
Just getting started with all this really , so if you want good advice ask me in 5yrs.

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I can’t help in the potted stuff, but I can tell you that Satsuma don’t need a pollinator. Here is a picture I took of one of my Owari’s today.


One big advantage of growing in containers is you don’t have to worry about cold hardiness, so I would get whatever variety you want.

  1. As said by others, they are self pollinating.

  2. I’ve had 1ft grafts make a flower and set fruit. I had a 3 ft tree with probably 50-100. My container mandarins have always over set for the size of the tree.

  3. I would use as big as you can move and store (eventually) but would recommend starting smaller and gradually increasing pot size over the years. Easier to move the first few years and watering is easier.

  4. I used to wheel mine in when there was freezing temps for more than a few hours and then back out when it was above freezing for an extended period, but it hadn’t gotten too large for that to be problematic. In spring, you should be fine once danger of hard freezes has passed.

  5. I usually kept mine in an unheated, dark garage but I was in 7b/8a so it wasn’t as long as you’d have to keep protected. Others who grow in colder climates might have better recommendations.

  6. They appreciate chunky, well draining media.


My owari has set it’s first fruit, and I have no other orange tree so I guess it definitely does not need a pollinator. Mine goes into the greenhouse around March 1st and stays there until Nov. when I bring it into my basement.

Along with my other citrus, it is under a two bulb florescent fixture. The light is on chains and is suspended about 1 foot above the foliage. I have found that I avoided loosing leaves on my citrus because of the lower light conditions, when I started keeping the lights on periodically for a full 24 hour period. A few days of the week I just leave them on all day.

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