We don’t think of anyone ever being able to grow oranges or ant type of citrus in zone 5. The idea seems ridiculous but its not as bad as it seems. Some people grow a small citrus plant in zone 6 called a trifoliate orange http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/m/#publication?id=HS221. I’m not going to say its perfect fruit as they are the size of golf balls and packed full of seeds. The fruit is closer to lemon they say than orange. I have grown a couple of plants from seeds outside in zone 5b/6 for the last several years. My idea is to acclimate them to this area and continue to grow the seeds every time they produce oranges. It will take years but it may someday make growing oranges in zone 4/5 possible. If you are a zone stretcher and you want to grow some trees and wonder where to get them here is a source Trifoliate Orange - Edible Landscaping. The winters have been warm the last 3 years but for the moment I’m growing oranges without winter protection.
@gregmartin in doing some breeding work on zone 5 citrus. Greg, how is it coming?
Clark. Who would ever think that you could grow an orange in your area. This gets the wheels turning on options to grow oranges in my area. Satsuma is a cold hardy orange that can be grown in my area with some limited success. When the temps get well below freezing it can cause die back in some years. I’m considering growing the Trifoliate orange and grafting Satsuma onto higher limbs. In the die back years you don’t completely loose your whole tree, just re-graft again without having to grow a new tree and completely start over. This sounds like a lot of effort for a few oranges so it probably will never happen. Bill
No problem. Grow them in a pit!
This is a good place to deploy one of our straw freeze shelters. Properly set up it can cheat your zone at least one and possibly two levels. Zone stretch can be done, how much work are you willing to put into it?
Trifoliate on it own is strictly ornamental as the fruit is about as tasty as turpentine. I have a few seedlings from a neighbors tree that I plan to plant for fun of it. It is cool to say you have a citrus outside the normal zones. There is a hybrid that I know of and know who is growing it that has shown to be a good fruit and pretty cold hardy. He is northern Virginia.
After all of the reports I’ve read in this forum about ‘Trifoliate’, it makes an ok marmalade at best. I have been growing citrus for years in zone 7a. Why not just grow the fruit you want in large pots or tubs and bring them indoors during the winter. If we have a winter like this past years winter, I doubt hay bales will help. They might, but why take the chance? Is the thought of taking this challenge just for ‘zone stretching’? Besides, you’ll miss the fragrance of the citrus blossoms in January. Also, don’t misunderstand, I love the idea of hay bales protecting trees. But did you see the tractor that Amadio has? Boy I’d give anything for one of those. Only my privet arches are too narrow for that tractor to fit through and I don’t have enough land to justify one! Darn!
Olbrich Gardens in Madison Wisconsin had a bunch of container citrus years ago loaded with fruit. Just need a greenhouse. In Europe/France they had/have “Orangeries” 100’s of years ago…
As many of you know I’m an extreme zone stretcher. My goal is to come up with an orange as terrible as it may taste that is consistently hardy in zone 5. The reason why is to be able to grow citrus without the extra work of containers , bales , etc.
I think the problem is long stretches of cold weather, not a nightly dip in temperature. Last winter in we had weeks of temps that didn’t break 30F, no amount of straw bales will help with that!
My dining room south facing exposure works just fine and my limes and lemons are loaded with fruit right now. Don’t need a greenhouse, just a southern exposure.
I had a lemon tree (bought from Home Depot/grafted) that had flowers…once winter came around it dropped every leaf…i have a south facing slider that gets a ton of winter sun. I think maybe it was that my house isn’t super warm (upper 60Fs). I ended up getting rid of it.
Straw bales will if there’s a heat source inside.
You are using your house as a greenhouse. There’s no difference and a greenhouse may be cheaper, certainly is per sq ft…
My house is never over 60 degrees in the winter unless we have guests. Fairly ‘yankee’. The trees are fine, now that I have all of the right fertilizers thanks to HQ, my trees are great. I only have to watch for scale. And yes, my house becomes a greenhouse. Not bad eh? Ever cost out a greenhouse? A pretty one?
I wasnt advocating straw as insulation alone. Heck thats not good enough even for here. We always use a heat source inside.
Us country boys don’t need pretty. Just something that works. People grow citrus in setups way cheaper than mine.
And when you add up all the sprays and critter controls nothings cheap or easy. My greenhouse isn’t that expensive when everything is factored in. Like ~10x greater yield than outdoors with little pest pressure and no critter issues. Around here for stone fruit production outdoors is so unreliable you can spend a lifetime just figuring out which varieties work and taste best. In my greenhouse I can evaluate a variety in three yrs from planting. 40 yrs outdoors and I still don’t know what works best except it’s not stone fruit. I basically have no favorite stone fruit varieties outdoors after all that time. Apples and pears yes because they fruit 2 yrs out of three not one in five.
Every so many years we go through rapid weather changes that like your weather always keep us guessing.
I’ve always been curious how they’re able to grow citrus. I did a semester abroad in college outside Berlin (in Potsdam) and the nearby palace had an old orangerie. At the time, knowing nothing about growing fruit and being from California it didn’t strike me as odd. However, since I’ve been having difficulty with growing citrus along the SF bay, it’s struck me as particularly curious that they had any success in Berlin’s frigid winters.
Then it was probably a water issue. I’ll probably buy another next summer when HD gets them in stock again. They usually have a decent selection.
My house (greenhouse) already exists and didn’t cost me an extra cent. My dining room has an aroma of heaven when my citrus is in bloom. And many people like pretty as an add on to their property. Fruitnut, have you been to farmers only.com? LOL