Among the citrus plants, the cute little orange trees are considered to be the easiest to care for and are therefore very suitable for beginners. With good care and the right location, they conjure up a Mediterranean flair in your home. Orange trees present themselves with attractive foliage, fragrant flowers and, with a little luck and patience, also with fresh, ripe fruits.

Special features

The orange trees are affectionately called calamondini by the Italians. They are often offered in the trade in buckets as small, graceful trees. The glossy, dark green leaves are one of the characteristic features of the orange tree due to their oval, lanceolate shape. They are small at three to five centimeters, but look quite noble in contrast to the delicate, fragrant flowers. The pure white lovely flower beauties reach a size of up to three centimeters and appear as small works of art in spring. The orange tree pollinates itself and creates small green fruits. With regular fertilization and correct watering, the small fruits turn into shiny, large green fruits that harmonize wonderfully with the color of the foliage.

The care

As already mentioned, the orange tree does not make particularly high demands on the care. It’s straightforward and ideal for people who have just rediscovered their love for Mediterranean plants. As with all other potted plants, the right location, adequate watering and professional fertilization are crucial for optimal growth, beautiful flowers and fruits.


The orange tree feels most comfortable in a bright spot in the house or winter garden. If the nighttime temperatures rise above ten degrees Celsius, it becomes a real eye-catcher on the terrace or balcony. Then she prefers a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind and protected from drafts. Before the sapling is exposed to the blazing sun, it needs a short period of getting used to. Otherwise the leaves can burn. The calamondin orange adapts after a few days and can then stay in the sun all day.

So that the roots do not overheat in the warm season, care should be taken that the orange tree is not cultivated in a dark bucket. When the sun heats up the earth strongly, the citrus plant restricts the activity of the roots. Despite the damp soil, the leaves can wither because the roots cannot compensate for the loss of water.


The outstanding properties of the calamondin make it possible to overwinter it as a houseplant. The citrus plant is brought into the house after a nice summer. Ideally, the difference between the outside and inside temperature is not very high. So that the plant can get used to the new location in the house or winter garden, it should not be exposed to dry heating air immediately. A particularly bright place in the house or winter garden would be ideal. The cookie shouldn’t be too warm or too cool and temperatures shouldn’t fall below ten degrees Celsius.

For the best possible winter storage, the higher the ambient temperature, the brighter the location. If the temperatures are very low, the calamondin also needs less light and only small amounts of water. So it is enough to water sparingly every two to three weeks. In winter the top part of the ball can be dry without any problems. However, the root ball should not dry out. Anyone who occasionally ventilates the room in which the plant hibernates is doing something good for the orange tree.

Fertilization should definitely be avoided in the winter months. If the nights are frost-free and the ice saints are over, the warmth-loving orange tree looks forward to spending the warm months of the year on the balcony or terrace.


The substrate in the bucket should be air and water permeable if possible. To improve the soil conditions, you can mix perlite, expanded clay or other materials such as gravel, grit or coarse sand under the earth. The ideal soil is also only slightly acidic and therefore not exactly calcareous. Pure potting soil or humus soil is not suitable.


The orange tree should be regularly supplied with water. The best way to do this is to use water with little lime. The easiest way to get this is from the rain barrel. Alternatively, a water filter can also be used.

If you don’t water enough, you can expect the leaves to fall off. The same applies to the lime content of the water. If the leaves first turn yellow and then fall off, this is a sign that the water is too hard. If too little is watered, the plant sheds its buds and does not produce new fruits.

The calamondin can be poured twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, during the warm months. You shouldn’t be too frugal. Sometimes it also helps if some water remains in the coaster. Without causing waterlogging.

Like most potted plants, the orange tree does not tolerate waterlogging. A planter with feet is ideal. This enables the irrigation water to flow away.


Orange trees need special nutrients during the growth phase and should therefore be fertilized regularly. The first application of fertilizer begins with the first shoot. Either a slow release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer is used for fertilization. You should use high-quality so-called citrus fertilizers, which are composed of the following nutrients:

  • Nitrogen: ten percent
  • Potassium: seven percent
  • Phosphate: two percent

This composition of nutrients relates to about one liter of fertilizer. From March to October fertilization is carried out once a week. If the concentration of nutrients is lower, additional supplements may be necessary.

To cut

If you want your orange tree to be handy and beautiful, you should cut it back consistently. Over time, uncut calamondin can crack. If only the tips of the shoots are removed, the plant hardly loses its strength. In addition, a cut stimulates branching and growth, so that a beautiful stable little crown forms over time. If the branches are too long, they should also be trimmed. That can happen as early as summer. Larger crown corrections are usually made in late winter. If larger wounds occur after cutting, these are sealed with tree wax.


It is not necessary to repot orange trees annually. Except when the root ball has completely rooted the bucket. Then it is advisable to plant the plant in the next larger container with a loamy, nutrient-rich substrate. In addition, the citrus plant is happy when rotted horse manure or special long-term fertilizers are mixed under the ground.
If the earth is still too loose and not completely covered with roots, it is best to wait. The months before budding in March and April are suitable for repotting.


You can certainly grow orange trees with seeds. However, everyone should be aware that a calamondin so attracted will not bear fruit later. They get leaves and sometimes also flowers. Unfortunately not anymore. Growing with seeds means in most cases that the citrus plant will go wild. It gets thorns and the leaves and branches cripple. For this reason, one should try to acquire a grafted plant from the nursery. If you still want to try it, proceed as follows:

  • Take the stones from a fresh and ripe fruit
  • clean thoroughly and dry well
  • Fill the seed tray or flower pot with seed compost and insert the seeds
  • Cover about one to two centimeters with soil
  • then soak and cover with transparent film
  • this guarantees consistently high humidity and promotes germination
  • Place the container in a not too sunny, but warm place
  • Germination begins after six to seven weeks
  • Repot when three to four leaves appear or the plant is seven to ten centimeters tall
  • Earth must be airy and loose
  • Mix the potting soil yourself, half potting soil – half perlite or clay granules
  • ensure sufficient brightness and constant soil moisture
  • Put young plants outdoors in summer

Another option for growing orange trees is to use cuttings to propagate them.

  • Dip ten to 15 centimeters long ripe cutting in rooting hormone powder
  • Place the cuttings in a vessel with a moistened mixture of equal parts of sand and peat
  • Pull the plastic bag over the cutting
  • Place the vessel in a bright, warm and shady place
  • The ambient temperature should be 20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius
  • Remove plastic bag after rooting
  • Lightly water the soil until it shoots
  • Repot the plant when roots grow out
  • Substrate for repotting on a compost basis

Diseases and pests

If the humidity is too low, the red spider may appear on the underside of the leaf. In addition, orange trees are very popular with lice, which are easy to get rid of. Simply prepare a brew of water and fresh tobacco, filter after three days and spray the plant with it. Every now and then it can happen that the tree is attacked by sooty dew. Light sooty mildew can be wiped off with a damp cloth. If the pests on whose excretions the fungus grows are eliminated, the sooty mildew is also combated. Other pests are scale insects and mealybugs. Home remedies may help with a slight infestation. Heavily infested orange trees have to be treated several times with special pesticides.

The orange tree from Asia is conquering more and more living rooms, winter gardens, balconies and terraces. The plant adapts quickly and is a popular entry-level strain for novice citrus plants. The orange tree is not hardy, but can easily be overwintered as a houseplant. In addition, the plant forgives slight care mistakes. The attractive citrus tree is very blooming and delights all year round with its beautiful flowers and pleasant scent. It produces lots of small fruits that are edible.

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