Citrus growing discussion - a few questions.

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by mr.shep, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I'll let this serve as my follow up for now.

    I have to think that most people are not growing a
    Kaffir Lime for the fruit. Very little is mentioned
    online about the fruit of this Lime, yet it seems the
    fragrance given off by the leaves, the oils from the
    crushed leaves and the rind used as zest for cooking
    and other uses such as for shampoos and adding
    fragrance to cleaning oils get all of the attention.
    It could be that the fruit is not ever sweet and it is
    that notion is what I want to work on and see for
    myself and experiment with. I have enough Citrus
    whereby going out and buying one tree just to say I
    have one is not a big deal with me any more which
    is one reason I've not ever had the Mexican Lime
    but I have bought that plant for other people in years
    past. I'd rather have friends or people I know well
    start a collection of Citrus and enjoy in the pleasure
    of growing them rather than me have every Citrus I
    know of and start afresh with newer introductions
    and add to my current Citrus forms. My favorites
    have always been, as a group, the fresh eating
    Oranges, the Blood Oranges and the Mandarins.
    Our Meyer Lemon was the only one of that sort that
    I needed or wanted but I have supplied others with
    all of the current forms of Lemons aside from the
    variegated Eureka.

    I do not believe at this time that other Citrus will
    produce as sparse a crop as a Kaffir Lime will
    being grown by itself. Even in the wild I believe
    this Lime does not produce bumper crops but
    as time goes on we may have ample crops for
    what we have planned to do with the fruit. Even
    though half of the world will not like this I still
    feel that a standard tree will produce more fruit
    per capita than most any dwarf form of Citrus
    will. For a long while the dwarf forms were
    not the same for quality of the fruit as compared
    to the standard trees. That is no longer true any
    more as the dwarf fruit can be just as good for
    quality as the standard Citrus trees are now.

    Grafting a section of another Citrus on the young
    wood of the host plant has had rather mixed results
    experimentally at a Field Station I know and even
    from growers nurseries. It is not something that
    people go out of their way to do any more as most
    of the time the grafted sections will not line up well
    with the host plants cambium. It is better to try to
    do that on older wood rather than one to two year
    old wood. Budding may work better for younger
    wood. Even then, will the graft or bud do what we
    want in that on one tree we can have a limb that is
    a Bearss Lime, one limb a Persian Lime, a third a
    Mexican Lime and the fourth a Kaffir Lime and
    have them grow at pretty much the same pace.
    I think that is something a hobbyist may want to
    try on their own but a nursery will not recommend
    doing it as it can almost be assured that some of the
    grafted or budded forms will not survive long unless
    we make many grafts or buds of each particular
    Lime, let say all four put on a Rangpur Lime host.
    The novelty of having multiple forms on one host
    tree has gone by the wayside for a few forms of
    other type trees in which it was thought the multiple
    grafts would lead to being quite popular which has
    not panned out over time. If it was me, I'd just have
    one variety per tree and go from there.

    In the winter of 1990 I lost several forms of dwarf
    Citrus that I had babied for over 10 years growing
    them in containers. I picked the wrong two years
    to plant them in the ground. After the initial freezing
    it took a while for me to get new growth on the trees
    that were hurt as none of them were killed off by the
    6-10 degree weather we had here for 4-6 hours for a
    week of it in late December. I got ample new growth
    but it came late in the year and then the next Winter
    with similar yet slightly warmer temperatures killed
    off about half of my collection. It is that hesitancy to
    go through a similar situation in Canada or elsewhere
    is why I would be reluctant to plant certain dwarf forms
    outside again as the standard forms of those trees have
    shown to have more resistance to the cold than the
    dwarfs forms of those Citrus seem to have.

    Jim
     
  2. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Jim, when planting citrus in planters what type of soil would work best and what type of planter? Ceramic or plastic? I have read mixing a planter mix with redwood shavings and
    some sand is good for citrus plants that need well draining locations
    When bringing the plants indoors for the winter, I have a unheated, attached (enclosed) garage - which does not freeze but is quite cool and a south facing window and supplimentary grow lights - would that work ? or should i bring them into the heated portion of the house (little direct sunlight but next to a window) with supplimentary
    light? Or do you have any other Ideas?
    Thanks, Greg
     
  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    In the old days standard scions were grafted onto dwarfing
    rootstock. It is still done today for Apples and Citrus among
    others. I like the semi dwarfs better as I like it when they get
    up to 10-12 feet tall and stop and then start to fill out. Easier
    to take care of and overall less dense of a tree than a standard
    which lets in more light into more of the tree (show a photo
    sometime of your goblet shape). For growing in a greenhouse
    I would go with a semi dwarf or a standard grafted on dwarfing
    rootstock and the Citrange is a good root stock for that. Even
    a true dwarf would work just fine. I think for growing in a
    home with artificial light and reflected light coming in through
    windows for much of the year the true dwarfs are real tough to
    beat. They are easily portable to place outdoors when the
    weather permits, bring back inside for the Winter and they
    are nice looking trees for most of the year. Whether they
    bloomed or not people seem to enjoy them and as a houseplant
    I find it a novel idea. The hard part I think will be getting the
    indoor grown Citrus to bloom for us but I think with some trial
    and error, moving the plants around inside if need be chasing
    the light with true varietals we have a much better chance of
    getting these plants to bloom indoors than people will that are
    growing plants from seed as some of the seedlings may never
    bloom for them.

    Junglekeeper, if you can grow Michelias you should be able
    to grow most any Citrus you want. You may not want to have
    Citrus that require heat to ripen though.

    Grow lights on Citrus, I have not done that but I do not have
    any real worries about it. A cool location would be better
    than growing the Citrus in a home as I worry about humidity
    and fungus diseases that can spread much faster indoors from
    companion plants than I would Citrus grown by themselves.
    I do not know the amount of light required for Citrus under
    grow lights. I guess that is an issue I'll have to check out
    sometime. For growing Lemons, Limes and even some
    Oranges in cool temperatures will not hurt them as those
    forms of Citrus are not as fussy as most any Grapefruit
    would be for wanting heat for the fruit to ripen.

    Citrus do not like their feet to be wet for long periods of
    time so planted in the ground we do not plant them in soils
    that will retain lots of water or will not drain well. I would
    go with ground Fir bark as my first choice rather than use
    Redwood shavings for my mix. Ground Fir and Pine tilings
    would work well if you can get them. I think you can use
    the Redwood shavings along with ground Fir bark but make
    that mix 3 to 1 Fir to Redwood. Some people like having
    about 10-20% fine sand, such as beach sand or better yet
    silt in their soil mixes for containers. I think you can get
    by with a nursery grade potting soil without peat moss
    in it, add in some silt to that mix and be just fine. Here
    now I am using a potting soil, added in some Fir bark and
    some silt to the mix and am real pleased with it. I get
    fast enough drainage yet I also get some water holding
    capacity so that I can go 3-5 days in between hose
    waterings. For a greenhouse that is going to be watered
    more often than I water then I would want some perlite
    in my soil mix. As long as we do not over water the
    Citrus and we do not use a lot of peat moss that has
    the ability to compact we should be okay but the
    key ingredients to me are the Fir bark and some silt,
    beach sand if silt is not available. A good sandy loam
    may be just as good as either soil but do not use a heavy
    clay if you are growing these plants indoors or in a
    greenhouse.

    For containers I would use either large wooden boxes,
    decorative or not or large standard black plastic nursery
    cans. Fancy ceramic pots are okay but many of them any
    more either only have one small drainage hole or they
    have none. We want more than one hole, preferably three
    of them for a ceramic pot to be used for Citrus. Even the
    dwarf and semi dwarf forms can stay in a 10 gallon to a
    15 gallon container respectively for several years. 10
    gallon Redwood tubs really make a nice statement with
    a good dwarf Citrus in it with some fruit on the tree.

    Jim
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I think the kumquat is the only questionable one in my collection. It'll be a good test though; if I can get that to flower and fruit, then I have enough heat to be able to grow just about any citrus. Ironically, if I'm successful with the citrus I may have to get rid of my Michelias to make room for them. Now if got rid of my couch...
     
  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Additions to the Four Winds Citrus Mandarins.
    These below are all hybrids I've seen available
    in the past from Four Winds. All of these have
    been seen offered for sale the last few days from
    various sources.

    Fairchild (Clementine x Orlando Tangelo)
    Fremont (Clementine x Ponkan)
    Honey (King x Willowleaf)
    Kara (King x Owari Satsuma)
    Kinnow (King x Willowleaf)

    In regards to the Murcott as listed in a former
    post it should be noted that the Murcott is also
    known as the Florida Honey.

    Jim
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Citrus varieties available at Logee's Greenhouses come in 2.5" and 4" pots. I assume they are rooted cuttings based on the small pot sizes. Are there concerns growing such plants as they don't have the benefits of a grafted rootstock?
     
  7. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think most of the liners being offered by nurseries
    are budded Citrus and came in from other nurseries.
    I just do not envision East Coast nurseries growing
    their own Citrus, as their doing that and growing their
    own Fruit & Nut Trees was never standard practice
    for them in the nursery trade. Grafted liners are still
    available from select nurseries here. I am not sure
    about Florida growing sources but still many of the
    grafted and budded liners are originating from West
    Coast nurseries and then shipped out to elsewhere.

    Cutting grown Citrus are not seen much any more
    for semi dwarf forms of Citrus, although some
    nurseries will still take cuttings for rooting certain
    standard forms of Citrus. In the olden days what
    was sold as being a dwarf Citrus was actually a
    semi dwarf form instead. I would be careful and
    mindful of buying liners grown from seed from
    any source as there has to be a guarantee somewhere
    that a seedling Kara Mandarin, for example, will ever
    retain the fruit quality characteristics of its parent.
    Then again, another concern is was the fruit of the
    parent any good? The seedling issue to me is a crap
    shoot and is the least desirable means to secure a
    tried and true, proven Citrus variety.

    Jim
     
  8. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Just a quick note:

    There is a Cocktail Citrus being sold.
    I saw it at a Lowe's in Merced that is
    a three way graft of a Pixie Mandarin,
    Lane Late Navel Orange and an Improved
    Meyer Lemon all on the same tree.

    The nursery where those trees came from
    is this one below.

    http://www.wncitrus.com

    Early last week I guessed right that
    some stores would be getting their
    Citrus soon. I visited three Lowe's
    in three cities, three Orchard Supply
    Hardware stores in three cities and
    four Home Depots in three cities after
    an e-mail back and forth from Four
    Winds telling me of some of their
    mass merchandizer nursery retail
    sources.

    We bought our trees for the misses
    at one Orchard Supply and two Lowe's.
    In a week she has gone from having
    no Citrus to having ten of them, two
    semi-dwarf Blood Oranges and eight
    dwarf Citrus. One Bearss Lime with
    four fruit on it, the only tree with fruit
    on it, one Mexican or Key Lime, one
    Improved Meyer Lemon, one variegated
    Eureka (I bought one for me also), one
    Honey Mandarin, one Kinnow Mandarin,
    one Murcott Mandarin and one Cara
    Cara Orange.

    I have not seen a Kaffir Lime or either
    form of the Persian Limes. Have not
    seen an Etrog either but have seen a
    Buddha's Hand at an Orchard Supply
    in Clovis. I'll visit some retail nurseries
    I know this week that may have some
    of the specialty Citrus that I want the
    misses to have.

    I have to backtrack a little as one of the
    soil mixes I've seen a lot of this last
    week had about 40% Redwood shavings
    (not Redwood compost) in the soil mix.
    I am not sure how this will work for cool
    weather areas but I've used it in the past
    in my mixes for plants when I wanted
    quick drainage when my Forest Humus
    supplier ran out and could not order any
    more for a while of the Sequoia brand I
    liked so well and have used for years as
    my main component for my potting soils.

    Hope all of you do get some Citrus to
    grow on and enjoy having.

    Jim
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Jim,
    You're killing me, telling me about the great selection and availability of citrus (not to mention other plants) down there. They're just a little harder to come by up here in the Great White North.
     
  10. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Junglekeeper:

    If it were a workable option I'd get what you
    wanted for you and send them up to you. I
    was not trying to "kill" you or anyone else as
    I realize the hassle some of you have but that
    will change soon enough. Just get a following
    going for some of these plants and they will
    find their way up to you.

    Citrus want to go to good homes and the Citrus
    nursery growers (are a little more caring in this
    regard) really want the same thing for their
    plants. Now the misses feels a little overwhelmed
    by it all but I solved her container dilemma today
    finding for her ten 15 gallon cans of mine that
    were doing nothing at the moment.

    Look at things this way, some of you are willing
    to grow these plants when so many others would
    not dare to try. Don't think for a second that your
    attempts will not go unnoticed down here. There
    are a few people rooting for all of you to succeed.
    We are not out of the woods either come Winter
    time as two Winters in particular in the past wiped
    out a lot of Citrus here, even in the zone 9 Western
    Garden Book
    thermal belts.

    Jim
     
  11. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    (You're killing me == You're making me laugh)
    I was amused by your unintended description of being 'awash in citrus'.

    I'm not complaining. Actually I feel rather fortunate since, with some driving around, I did find just about all that I wanted 8) You guys, being in the 'shopping center' of the plant world, have so much to choose from. Lucky b*stards!
     
  12. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Sometime tell us which 8 you have and
    keep us apprised of how they are doing?

    Jim
     
  13. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Jim, what you see as an '8' is me smiling (tilt your head to the left to see). By coincidence I actually do have 8 citrus plants, 10 if you count the two unidentified seed-grown plants:

    Calamondin
    Bearss Lime
    Kaffir Lime
    Eureka Lemon
    Improved Meyer Lemon
    Lisbon Lemon
    Ponderosa Lemon
    Nagami Kumquat

    They should do all right once they get established. The kumquat was losing leaves but I think it'll pull through. There won't be much to report this year. Next year should be much more interesting. What do you have in your collection?
     
  14. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Below is my list of Citrus that I have
    here. No new additions last week for
    the misses.

    Real glad you got a Kaffir Lime. We call
    it Kiefer Lime here. Have not seen one
    available yet.

    Marsh Pink Grapefruit
    Star Ruby Grapefruit (some people call it Texas Star Ruby)
    Meyer Lemon (old form)
    Cleopatra Mandarin
    Murcott Mandarin
    Nepolitana Satsuma Mandarin
    Sampson Tangelo
    Temple Tangor
    Ruby Blood Orange
    Tarocco Blood Orange
    Fukumoto Navel Orange
    Trovita Sweet Orange

    Jim
     
  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    What is your opinion of the Trovita orange? I considered getting one but for some reason it comes from Monrovia only as a patio tree.
     
  16. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    My Trovita Orange has been a good one for me
    for fresh eating or for juicing it. The nice thing
    about this Orange is that for you it may not need
    as much heat as a Washington Navel will want
    during the growing season. Mine ripens in the
    late Spring here, later than a Washington Navel
    will as we want them picked off the trees long
    before Christmas. I think for you that a Trovita
    will be a good choice if you want to have an
    Orange. The only other Orange I can think of
    that can handle as much indoor growing would
    be the Washington Navel and the Trovita is a
    seedling selection from a Washington Navel.

    For a patio tree an Orange, Sweet, Navel or a
    Blood, would be my first choice to have to be
    honest. The sweet fragrance liberated from the
    Oranges when in bloom is arguably the most
    aromatic and also the most pleasing of all the
    Citrus to most people.

    Jim
     
  17. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Do you actually detect a difference in the fragrances between citrus species (e.g. lemon vs. orange) or is the difference only in intensity?
     
  18. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Do you actually detect a difference in the fragrances
    between citrus species (e.g. lemon vs. orange) or is
    the difference only in intensity?


    I can detect the difference in the fragrances and so
    can bees. How much Orange honey do you see in
    Canada? We see quite a bit here. On the reverse
    side we do not see much Lime, Lemon, Grapefruit
    or Citron honey in the stores. I am not trying to be
    facetious as the fragrances given off by Oranges,
    around where I am, many acres of Valencias and
    Navels, will get your attention right now. If you
    are downwind or right next to the trees when they
    are in bloom the fragrance is quite sweet and is
    potent. The intensity is much more pronounced
    in comparison to Lemons, Limes, Grapefruits and
    Citrons. Essentially they all, Citrus, have their own
    fragrance but some are sweeter and stronger than
    others are but yes, there is a noticeable difference
    in the aroma other than the potency of an Orange
    and a Lemon fragrance.

    Jim
     
  19. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Interesting. Now I'll have to get a Trovita to experience the difference. Hope Monrovia will have one in bush form next year.
     
  20. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes it has been interesting reading your discussions!
    I too would be interested in this trovita orange too so if you find one who will bring
    one in for you let me know the particulars...probably a 5 gallon size would be more instant gratification....also I am still interested in a Owari Satsuma....

    Greg
     
  21. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Jim, have you ever smelled the flowers of 'Bouquet de Fleurs' sour orange? According to Sunset it is the most fragrant of all citrus and its flowers are used in making perfume. Unfortunately for me it does not appear to be a good candidate for indoors because of its higher heat requirement.
     
  22. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I do not know if the Bouquet de Fleurs is
    the most fragrant as the Sour Oranges as
    a group all are known for being among the
    most fragrant of all the Citrus. The Seville
    has been used as a street tree in areas of
    Southern California.

    Yes, I've smelled the Bouquet de Fleurs.
    Our next door neighbor has a Chinotto I
    found for them several years ago. They
    make marmalade from it.

    This link for the Bergamot lists some of
    the uses for it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange

    The Seville has its own uses as well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges

    Here is a link that will show the shape of
    a Bouquet de Fleurs tree.

    http://www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu/index2.php?content=citrus/sour_oranges.html

    You might be able to grow these indoors.
    I've seen the Bouquet de Fleurs grown as
    a houseplant.

    Jim
     
  23. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Growing it is one thing. Getting it to flower and fruit is another. Was the owner successful in that regard? I'll put this plant down as a 'maybe' for next year depending on how I do with this year's acquisitions.

    Collection Update

    The Nagami kumquat suffered a terminal setback when the weather turned hot; it eventually lost all its leaves followed by stem dieback. RIP. Its roots may have been compromised before I got it (which would explain its much reduced price).

    One of the two main stems of my Meyer lemon is dying from gummosis or from its treatment. I think the last spot I treated cut off much of the sap flow. I may have to amputate it in hopes of saving the other. It may be difficult since there's an infection just below the 'V' formed by the two stems. I'll scrape that area clean and paint with Bordeaux and hope for the best. Worst comes to worst I'll still have some rooted cuttings.

    The Lisbon lemon, which was quite wilted when purchased, is still sulking.

    The rest are coming along, all having put on new growth.
     
  24. Gregn

    Gregn Active Member 10 Years

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    I saw a Nagami kumquat and a Owari satsuma at Dykhoff nursery in N van a week ago.
    I was going to wait for my Owari unil next year. My meyer lemon has grape size fruit on it and lots of buds and blossoms. The eureka lemon has only one very small lemon on it.
    The calamondin is going crazy ( its the one I bought at home depot a month ago) it has grown about 5 inches in height has 25 mature oranges on it an 60 or so buds and blossoms. Now only if they were more palatable to eat.....
    What is gumosis? . How big is the Meyor lemon plant?
     
  25. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The Meyer is of the size that typically comes in a 3-gal pot - not too big. I don't know how it got infected since I didn't get the trunk wet or overwater the plant. Gummosis is a condition caused by a species of Phytophthora fungus (P. citrophthora or P. parasitica) which infects the bark and causes sap to ooze out. The condition of the tree deteriorates as the infection gets worse. Death occurs when the disease girdles the trunk. Hope I explained it right.

    My Eureka appears to be best of the recent acquisitions despite being the smallest; I think it, and its offspring, will do very well. I've also noticed a strong growth flush with my Calamondin as well. It's starting to bush out from all the pruning I did earlier in the spring.

    Did you end up buying the Owari? What can you tell me about the Nagami kumquat? Bush or patio tree? Size? Price? Grower? I'm not sure about getting a replacement since I suspect there won't be enough heat for it to flower and fruit since it'll be indoors all the time. If I decide to get another kumquat I think it'll be a Meiwa; it's sweeter and is supposed to perform better in cool conditions. Another one for the 'maybe' list.
     

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