The Q&A Archives: Valencia Orange Culture In The Northwest

Question: My daughter gave me a Valencia orange recently and, knowing that my climate is unsuitable for year-round outdoor culture, I'd like some information on how best to take care of it; i.e. soil, water, temperature, fertilization, and pruning requirements. It's in a 1-gallon pot, shrubby in shape and about 3 feet tall.

Answer: Citrus trees can be grown as container plants year round. You will need to bring yours indoors each winter to either a cool greenhouse or another cool, bright, and humid location because they can't handle temperatures below 26 degrees. If your tree is grafted onto a dwarfing root stock, expect it to reach a size of five or six feet and need a rather large tub or similar container. Use regular potting soil and transplant your tree into a 3-gallon pot. During the growing season, keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet and provide plenty of sunshine. Fertilize according to the label instructions with a fertilizer containing micronutrients (particularly zinc, iron and manganese) as well as the usual nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium found in complete fertilizers. During the winter, reduce the watering somewhat when growth slows. Finally, be sure to acclimate your tree slowly when moving it from indoors to out and vice versa. Enjoy your tree!

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