Calamondin Orange Tree Cold Hardy Citrus Plants

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.

Calamondin orange tree bearing a full crop of fruit.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.

Calamondin orange.

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.

Orange Citrus Bonsai Tree (

Buy an 8-year-old Calamondin Bonsai Here

I stumbled upon this tree in a local nursery. The jasmine scent of its pretty, white blossoms caused me to adopt it.

I didn’t know it would turn out to be 1 of my favorite citrus fruits. I just had to have that fragrance.

I kept it in its quart pot on my screen porch until it went out of bloom. By then, I had learned of its cold hardiness so into the ground it went.

Six years later, it had grown (with precious little help from me) into the 12 foot fruit factory it now is.

Another 6 years have passed since then and it has not gotten any taller so I believe this to be its mature height.

Growing Calamondin Citrus Trees

Calamondin oranges on the tree in our yard.

Buy a Small but Cheap Calamondin Orange Plant Here

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.Close-Up of a Myrtle-Leaved Orange Plant (Citrus Aurantium)
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    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.

    How to Get Lots of Fruit from a Calamondin Orange
    Buy a Dwarf Variegated Calamondin Fruit Tree HereThis is a simple trick but it works every time.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.
    Order a Dwarf Calamondin Tree HereIt isn’t a balanced fertilizer.Feed the tree at least 3 times per growing season with a balanced fertilizer (a food containing N, P & K in nearly equal amounts).Calamondin citrus is not as sensitive to nutrient deficiencies as other citrus varieties so you do not have to use a food labeled as a “citrus special” every time you feed it.That said, it is good to use a complete Citrus Food on it once in a while.Three meals per year and an occasional triple phosphate snack will give you a tree that flowers and fruits several times per season.Monthly feedings boosted by a bit of phosphate now and then will give you a calamondin orange that blooms and bears concurrently.Why do you want all of this fruit?To make calamondin juice!Once you’ve tasted homemade calamondin juice, you will want all the fruit you can get.

    Calamondin Juice Recipe
    Calamansi JuiceCalamondin juice production in my kitchen.
    1. Pick 2 cups of fruit.
    2. Rinse it off.
    3. Though the fruit is easy to peel, you’re not going to. Just slice each calamondin in half.
    4. Place the sliced fruit, seeds and all, into a Dutch oven. The fruit should just cover the bottom of the pot.
    5. Cover the fruit with water and simmer it on the stove for 15 minutes.
    6. Pour the juice into a gallon pitcher through a strainer to keep the fruit, pulp and seeds out.
    7. Add sugar to taste and stir the hot juice until the sugar dissolves.
    8. Fill the pitcher with water and chill the calamondin juice overnight before serving.
  • Preparation Tips:Calamansi juice is very tart. I add 1 and a half cups of sugar to a gallon pitcher.Because the skin of the fruit is involved, be sure not to cook it for more than 15 minutes or the juice will be bitter.Calamondin juice has a taste all its own but, if you want something to compare it to, its closest flavor-match would be grapefruit juice.I have also made calamondin marmalade by using an orange marmalade recipe.Some people will tell you they taste like limes but this is like saying that limes taste like lemons. They don’t and neither do calamondins.Each of these fruits has its own distinct flavor.

    CitrangequatThe fruit of this cold hardy kumquat hybrid is the same basic size and color as that of the calamondin. It differs visually in that it is more oval-shaped and sometimes has a neck.Citrangequat fruit does not peel as easily as calamondin fruit and it is more acid in flavor. The fruits have few seeds and hold well on the tree.They appear in as great profusion and are as ornamental as calamondins.The trees these fruits are borne on are, like the calamondin orange, upright in growth habit but more compact and rounded than Citrofortunella microcarpa.It is more cold tolerant than a kumquat tree.

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