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Many thanks - they arrived this morning looking very healthy - will be planted to-morrow!
Judith, LINCOLNSHIRE

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Many thanks - they arrived this morning looking very healthy - will be planted to-morrow!
Judith, LINCOLNSHIRE

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GI Citrus

    Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

    Image of the magazine article 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit' Following on from our popular feature on lemons, Simon Lindley takes a look at the range of other marvellous citrus fruits you can grow easily here in the UK

    Members of the citrus family – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and so on – are prized for their flavoursome fruits and vitamin C content. In fact, though, they contain no more vitamin C than most other plants, but this notion has stuck around since Georgian times when they were used at sea to ward-off scurvy.
    When you think of citrus fruit, oranges and lemons immediately spring to mind. But it’s possible to grow much more than this in the UK. Clementines, mandarins, satsumas, grapefruits, kumquats and limes, as well as bergamot – so you can make your own Earl Grey tea – all do well over here.

    Something In Common

    All citrus plants can be easily grown in the UK as long as you make sure you provide a frost-free environment in the winter months. Cold, wind and rain combine to make these plants miserable, meaning they need to be brought inside in the autumn. They are tolerant of cold down to around 5ºC, so an unheated polytunnel is the best. Try to keep them in the sunniest places, not necessarily for the heat it brings but because they’ll prefer it.
    Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that citrus plants are going to ‘sleep’. In fact, they actively grow during this period, and most of them flower in the winter too. An orange in flower on Christmas day is a lovely thing!

    Citrus Savvy!

    Whichever citrus plant you want to grow, they’re easy as long as you follow the rules:
    Keep plants cool but frost-free in winter – minimum 5ºC.
    Water freely, but ensure good, free-draining.
    Feed regularly in the summer, less so in winter.
    Prune and re-pot in spring.
    Keep the atmosphere humid by watering paths and, if kept inside year-round, ensure good ventilation during hot weather.

    Clearly, if they’re to be brought in during the winter, these plants need to be grown in pots. For preference, a large terracotta pot is best because it’s porous and provides an amount of air to the roots. In addition it will more readily allow for the evaporation of water, plus store heat for much longer than a plastic equivalent. As far as size is concerned, a 60cm pot for a small citrus tree will be perfectly adequate.
    Fill it with a soil-based compost (John Innes No.2) and incorporate some sand into the mix, say up to 25%. All citrus plants generally need the same regime when it comes to watering and feeding. They don’t like to stand in wet conditions, but do enjoy moisture. However, take care not to over-water; simply make sure the soil is slightly moist, and that the pots are positively free-draining.
    Use a good quality general fertiliser (making certain that it has all the necessary trace elements), at least once a month – possibly once a fortnight in the spring. Some people use winter-feed and a separate summer feed. But, as long as you use a good quality, all-round fertiliser, this expense isn’t necessary in my view. Feed less in the winter, just once a month or so.

    Propagation

    Most citrus plants will grow readily from fresh seed, but will take around a decade to flower and fruit, sometimes two. Plants can be grown by taking hardwood cuttings in the autumn; around half will ‘take’ and, after a couple of years, the trees might produce fruit. All citrus plants bought from garden centres and nurseries are grafted on to specialised rootstocks, and the vigour that this ensure means that they will grow to their full height very quickly. Most plants are propagated by budding; where a single bud is grafted on to a rootstock/scion combination.

    Re-Potting & Pruning

    This is best done in the spring. Trim your plant just above a fat, lush-looking bud, so the tree takes on a good, roundish shape and remains at the appropriate height for your tunnel.
    Re-pot yearly into the next size up. Take the opportunity to add some slow-release fertiliser and fresh, well-draining compost. Gently remove some of the soil and ensure there is plenty of crockery in the bottom of the new pot for drainage. Add new compost/sand mixture and firm well in. Give a good watering, and keep the plant out of draughts/wind for a few days.

    Citrus Vital Statistics

    • Habit: Small to medium tree. Kumquats are more bushy, clementines and satsumas are smallest tree, 1.5m.
    • Height: Up to 2m.
    • Spread: Decided by pruning. 
    • Foliage: Evergreen. 
    • Soil Type: Acidic as low as pH 6.5 (use a soil test each spring). 
    • Position: Sun. 
    • Min. temp 5ºC. 
    • Pruning: In the spring – make a good shape, keep height appropriate for fruit. 
    • Flowering: Winter .
    • Fruit: Ripe in November.

    Pests & Problems

    All citrus suffer from the same group of pests; aphids, red spider mite and scale insects. A weekly wash with soft soap will keep most of these in check. They drop their leaves regularly in the winter, but should not lose more than a third. Any evidence of yellowing leaves could be due to overwatering, lack of nutrients, low temperatures or insufficient sunlight.
    Keep plants well ventilated but out of strong draughts to avoid botrytis and other fungal infections.
    Above all, water well but don’t allow them to stand in water.

    Oranges

    Every navel orange is a descendant of a single mutant tree found in the early nineteenth century in Brazil. It was budded and the small plants sent around the world. They’re very heavy fruit and, consequently, the trees need to be large to take their weight. The fruits are seedless and have a small ‘baby’ fruit inside them.
    Blanco oranges are smaller and so can be borne on smaller trees. Most fruits can be harvested from November to December.

    Grapefruit

    Grapefruit first appeared in the West Indies – another mutation – in 1750, and were transported as buds all around the world. They were particularly prized by rich English landowners who grew them in hot houses, even though they can be dragged outside in the summer. The plants are larger than oranges, and bear larger fruits. Otherwise they can be treated in exactly the same way.

    Kumquats

    This is a fast-growing tree and the fruits can be eaten whole. They are also supposed to be good pickled in brandy. They grow to be quite large and, for this reason, are kept in a single position.

    Clementines & Satsumas

    These plants ripen around Christmas, most being ready after November. They can be kept quite small, even though they are vigorous plants. Annual trimming keeps them in check, but you can grow them up a wall or as a large bush.

    Limes & Limequats

    Limes tend to be easy to grow and can be restricted to a reasonably small tree of about 1.7m high. There are a number of varieties and each grows well in the UK – some turning yellow when ripening. A limequat is a cross between a lime and a kumquat.You can eat the whole fruit, and it tastes like a lime.

    This article first appeared in the August 2007 edition of Grow It magazine. To download a pdf copy of the original article click on the image below...Image of the magazine article 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit'


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    Blood Orange Tree

    Blood Orange Tree

    A citrus variety that produces amazing blood-red orange flesh with a tangy taste and the looks of a traditional orange. Self Fertile. Requires Winter frost protection.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Blood Orange Tree

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    Calamondin Orange Tree

    sq calamondin orange 003

    Citrus cross between mandarin orange and kumquat, with beautiful variegated, cream-edged leaves, highly scented flowers and edible fruit. Usually grown here for its ornamental appeal.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a pot grown plant approximately 2 feet (60 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Calamondin Orange Tree

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    Grapefruit Tree

    Image of  fruit of Citrus Grapefruit Golden Special

    A red fleshed grapefruit with few seeds (if any), juicy and full of Vitamin C and Potassium originally from Texas. Make a lovely healthy breakfast.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Grapefruit Tree

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    Lime Tree

    sq citrus lime bearss 001

    An excellent lime with a good tolerance to cold (but not frost). Produces hefty crops of green fruits - or can be allowed to fully ripen and sweeten to yellow.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Lime Tree

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    Mandarin Tree

    Mandarin Tree

    A medium sized mandarin fruit with seeds. Easy to peel, dark orange flesh with fine texture and sweet rich flavour, can be used to make marmalade.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Mandarin Tree

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    Orange Tree

    Image of Citrus Orange tree

    A lovely smaller variety of orange tree, producing early fruit with lovely sweet flavour. Self fertile. Will require winter protection.
    Available Now
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Orange Tree

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    Citrus Tree Selection

    Image of Citrus Collection

    Grow your own oranges and lemons in the UK with this collection. Easy to grow they just require Winter frost protection (a conservatory is great).
    Available from approximately early December 2018
    Supplied as bushy grafted trees approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pots. 1 Orange, 1 Lemon.

    More information about Citrus Tree Selection

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    Kumquat Tree

    Image of fruit of Citrus Kumquat

    A small but characteristic fruit. Orange, oval, sweet skin with a sour flesh that is best eaten together. Half hardy and evergreen.
    Available from approximately April 2019
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 2 - 3 feet (60 - 90 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Kumquat Tree

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    Lemon Tree

    Image of Citrus Lemon

    Beautiful white flowers with a delicate purple tinge and a rich Citrus scent are followed by juicy fruits. There's nothing quite like a home grown lemon in your drink!
    Available from approximately early December 2018
    Supplied as a grafted semi standard tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Lemon Tree

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    Mediterranean Sweet Lemon Tree

    Image of fruit of Citrus Sweet Lemon

    Produces rounded fruits of a light orange, yellow colour. Sweeter than a regular Lemon. Very popular in Italy.
    Available from approximately April 2019
    Supplied as a bushy grafted tree approximately 3 - 4 feet (90 - 120 cm) tall including pot.

    More information about Mediterranean Sweet Lemon Tree

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    Yuzu Tree

    sq yuzu 002

    Hardy citrus that is very popular in Japan and Korea. Commonly used in cooking and for it's healing proprieties. Self Fertile.
    Available from approximately April 2019
    Supplied as a grafted plant approximately 2 - 3 feet tall including pot.

    More information about Yuzu Tree

    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Blood Orange Tree

    Blood Orange Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    sq calamondin orange 003

    Calamondin Orange Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Image of  fruit of Citrus Grapefruit Golden Special

    Grapefruit Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    sq citrus lime bearss 001

    Lime Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Mandarin Tree

    Mandarin Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Image of Citrus Orange tree

    Orange Tree


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    Image of Citrus Collection

    Citrus Tree Selection


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Image of fruit of Citrus Kumquat

    Kumquat Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Image of Citrus Lemon

    Lemon Tree


    From £35.95 to £39.95
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    Image of fruit of Citrus Sweet Lemon

    Mediterranean Sweet Lemon Tree


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    sq yuzu 002

    Yuzu Tree