The calamondin orange tree and its close relative, the citrangequat, are the most cold hardy citrus plants. Follow my tips for growing calamondins (also called calamansi) and your tree will bear almost continually.
I'll also give you my calamondin juice recipe.
The calamondin tree in our back yard bearing a full crop of fruit.
The calamondin fruit tree is actually not an orange tree but a kumquat hybrid. The 1-1.5 inch round fruits of Citrofortunella microcarpa look like little oranges so people call them calamondin oranges.
The plant hails from South East Asia and is a cross between Citrus reticulata, the mandarin and Fortunella species, the kumquat.
Most Americans think of it as an ornamental but, in its native land, it is a valued fruit tree. In the Philippines, it is known as the calamansi plant.
I have the plain green variety (there is also a yellow and green variegated calamondin fruit tree, Citrofortunella microcarpa variegata) which I think is a lovely ornamental evergreen.
The calamansi tree is handsome at all times but never more so than when holding a full crop of ripe orange fruit.
I adore citrus trees (all fruit trees, actually) and have been known to collect them. I have grown a fair number of different types over the years and the calamondin has my vote for easiest citrus plant to grow either outdoors or in a pot.
The calamondin orange has far fewer thorns than most other types of citrus.
It is 1 of the most cold hardy citrus plants you can easily get hold of. Temperatures in the low 20s F. do not harm it.
Its 2-3 inch long leaves stay dark green and handsome without being fed a "citrus special" fertilizer.
It is more drought tolerant than my other citrus trees.
Without regular water and proper feeding, my grapefruit and lemon trees start turning yellow and dropping their leaves. Not the calamondin. It looks great in spite of my negligence.
Just water it regularly until the plant has set down roots. After it has been in the ground for a year or 2, you can start letting it go longer between drenchings.
Here in Florida, we have a dry season and a wet season. My tree has adapted to this pattern and I no longer give it supplemental water.
Neither did I enrich the soil much before planting it.
There are 2 schools of thought on this subject. Some citrus growers feel that the trees should be planted into the native soil (sand, in my case) just as it is. Others feel that the soil should be amended first.
I took my half in the middle and added a few scoops of compost.
Propagation: Calamondin oranges contain few seeds. You can plant these and grow another tree.
The seeds sprout easily. A seedling calamondin orange can be expected to bear fruit in 3-4 years.
A grafted tree will typically bear in its first year.
You can also root a cutting taken from mature wood which has flowered. Your cutting grown calamondin orange will begin to bloom as soon as it gets its root system established.
If your tree is exposed to winter freezes, do this in the spring, summer and late winter. You don't want to encourage flowering just before a frost as the blossoms may be damaged even though the tree itself would not.
If your tree is protected from frost, you can do this at any time.
Sprinkle a handfull of Triple Super Phosphate on the soil around the tree's roots. Adjust the amount according to the size of the tree.
What you want is a light dusting of the white powder on the ground beneath the tree.
This will need to be watered in to get it down into the root zone. I usually wait for a rain. If you know it is not going to rain, use the hose.
In six weeks or so, your calamonin orange will be full of flower buds.
Now, super phosphate should not be the only food you offer this tree.