The Q&A Archives: Orange Tree

Question: Husband planted an orange seed from an orange he ate into a houseplant and it grew. This was about ten years ago and the tree is now 10 years old and about ten feet tall. We put it outside for the summer and bring it in every fall to a room with cathedral ceilings and skylights. We were told it would never bear fruit. We just discovered three large oranges (green) growing in the back of the tree where it sits in the corner. We are ecstatic. We hope to have them ripen and hope for more in the future. What can you tell us about the rarity of this and how we can take care of it and what can we feed it in the future. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Answer: First of all, congratulations! Your tree has finally matured enough to produce fruit. It will be interesting to see what shape, size and flavor the fruit will have. All types of Citrus make wonderful indoor plants, and while they can be quite finicky about flowering and fruiting, their fragrance makes them worth the effort. To encourage flowering, keep your plant where temperatures remain between 50 and 60 degreesF at night, fertilize once a month, alternating between a 20-20-20 and a high-phosphorus fertilizer, and maintain about 50 percent humidity around the plant. Since you can move your plant outdoors in the spring and summer, the bees can help with pollinating the flowers. Otherwise it's up to you to hand pollinate by removing the pollen with a soft brush and dusting the center of the flowers. I hope this works for you.

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