The Q&A Archives: Growing dwarf oranges in containers

Question: I have had a dwarf orange tree in a large barrel for several years. I always lose the fruit when it becomes the size of a marble. This is the first year that I actually harvested one orange and it was delicious! I never quite know when to feed and how much water to give my little tree. Do you think this is part of the problem? Sharon Bradley Claremont, CA

Answer: First of all, you probably will get less harvest than in the field due to growing in a container. Container fruits are more exacting. Be sure your tree isn't subjected to any cold drafts -- these can cause flower and fruit drop. Also, lack of pollination may be a problem -- pollinate flowers by hand with a small paintbrush. Be sure to keep soil moist, especially during flowering and fruiting. And make sure the plant gets plenty of sunshine. During flowering and fruiting, fertilize your tree every other week with a balanced liquid fertilizer at about half strength.

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