Posted on Dec 4, 2023 at 3:26 pm by James P
If you want to grow a citrus tree in open ground, you will have to move to the South! Indeed, the climatic conditions there are ideal for most citrus trees, whose hardiness does not exceed -6°C. However, other citrus trees can withstand temperatures as low as -10°C under good growing conditions.
How to grow hardy citrus trees?
Often originating from China or Japan, these so-called hardy citrus trees are capable of adapting to relatively low temperatures, down to -10°C.
When it has reached maturity, of course, as a young tree is much more sensitive to cold. However, in order for it to withstand the cold, it must be provided with optimal growing conditions:
- A light, deep and fertile soil, preferably moist during the growing season, neutral to slightly acidic, but never chalky. This soil must also be perfectly drained as excess moisture in winter would be fatal to citrus trees
- A sunny exposure without being subjected to scorching sun rays. The location must be well protected from cold winds and drafts. In addition, citrus trees do not tolerate sea spray
- Regular watering is essential, especially during the growing season
- Fertilization with a special citrus fertilizer is a guarantee of good fruiting
Citrus trees that can withstand frost down to -10°C
In addition to the yuzu and the trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata), which produces lemons that can only be consumed cooked, some citrus trees are less cold-sensitive.
The kumquat (Fortunella)
This citrus tree produces small oval fruits with orange color. Kumquats have the particularity of being consumed with the peel. They can be eaten fresh or candied, but they are also delicious for making jams, marmalades, or syrups.
It is also a beautiful small tree with its evergreen and leathery foliage, bright green and shiny on the top, duller on the underside. The flowering, which is melliferous and nectariferous, occurs from May to July. The flowers are white and highly fragrant. It does not exceed 2.50 m in height with a spread of 1 m.
The satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu)
Originating from Japan, this mandarin tree is the most cold-resistant of all mandarins. It also has a relatively early fruiting period, between September and November depending on the region, and is very productive.
Its fruits are juicy, and both sweet and tangy, and especially edible while still green. They have an excellent taste quality and are seedless. The tree does not exceed 2.50 m in height and 1.50 m in width. Depending on the varieties, it has an upright or weeping habit. Its white flowering is naturally fragrant.
The Ichang papeda lemon (Citrus ichangensis)
It is a very decorative spiny lemon tree with its sharp, shiny green foliage and its highly fragrant white-pinkish flowers. Originating from China, this tree, which measures 3 m in all directions, produces small round yellow lemons when ripe.
The pulp is fragrant, not very juicy, but acidic or bitter, quite similar to that of the yuzu. On the other hand, the zest, which is very fragrant, is ideal for cooking, especially in Asian or Creole dishes. It is a perfect citrus tree for open ground as it is not demanding.