You've enjoyed it in ice cream, in chicken recipes, as a morning drink, and every Christmas cake is incomplete without it...
Any guesses what it might be?
Hint: It’s a famous citrus fruit.
The answer is orange. Sweet, tangy, and sour, oranges are adored worldwide for their nutritional values. Packed with vitamins and minerals, oranges are often known to be natural immunity boosters. They guard the body against cell deterioration.
Not only that...
Do you know that an orange has the highest vitamin C content of any citrus fruit, at 100% or more of the daily required amount?
In this blog, we will discover how to cultivate oranges at home. We will cover the following: -
- Interesting facts about oranges
- Step-by-step process of growing oranges at home
- Care guide for orange trees
So, let’s dive into the world of oranges.
Interesting facts about oranges
- The word "orange" is derived from Sanskrit nāraṅga and the color is named after the fruit
- Brazil is the largest producer of oranges in the world
- In India, citrus fruits are the third-largest fruit industry, and oranges top the chart among citrus (after mangoes and bananas)
- In India, Maharashtra produces the most oranges
- Not only the pulp inside, but also the orange peel, is beneficial. The orange peels can be used to remove grease and oil spots.
- Oranges come in more than 600 different types
- You would be startled to learn that oranges are almost 10,000 times more acidic than the pH of our blood. This is more than tomato juice but less than lemon juice.
The step-by-step process of growing oranges at home
You should be aware that an orange tree grown from a seed might not taste exactly like the fruit it was sown into before delving into great detail about how to grow an orange tree at home. The tree may need between four and fifteen years to begin bearing fruit. Additionally, keep in mind that this tree, which you grew from an orange seed, can be more prone to diseases. Most young trees you purchase from a nursery are crosses between two different species. This tree will begin to bear fruit in a year or two after the branches are cut from a healthy, mature tree.
In this segment, we will discuss how to plant an orange tree by seed and by the stem-cutting method.
The seed method
Save the seeds
Once you have eaten the orange, save the seeds. Choose those seeds that don’t have any discoloration or dents. Remember that dry or withered seeds have a lower chance of growing.
Prepare the seeds
- You have to wash the seeds. Carefully hold them under running water and rub off any signs of pulp or other dirt.
- Don’t dry these seeds after washing them, as this will help them sprout.
- Take these damp seeds in a clean plastic bag and refrigerate them for 30 days before planting. Remember that a moist environment will help these seeds sprout faster.
- You are advised not to use dried seeds, as they can take months to germinate or may not germinate at all
Pot and soil preparation
Take a small pot and fill it with well-draining potting soil. Orange trees are not fussy about the potting mix. All you have to remember is that water should not collect around the tree; otherwise, the roots will rot.
Bring some citrus potting compost and add it to the existing potting soil. It will enhance the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and make the soil more acidic—just the way oranges love it.
If you find the soil to be poor at draining, mix some hardwood bark chips, which will allow the water to pass easily
- Place the seeds half an inch into the soil and water it
- You can put a plate under the pot for the draining water
Keep under sun
Orange trees love full sunlight. Keep the soil in the sun and wait for germination.
Although it is optional, to hasten the process of growth, you may add a small amount of fertilizer every two weeks.
Sprouts should appear in six to eight weeks. The citrus family has the peculiar ability to create nucellar seedlings, which are precise clones of the mother plant. In general, the first and second sprouts grow the fastest, and the third sprout, which is smaller and grows more slowly, should be removed in order to produce oranges of higher quality.
Move the seedlings to a larger pot as they grow. If you have space in your outdoor garden, plant the orange tree there. Just dig a hole deep enough to cover the roots and use the dug soil to cover them because potting soil holds too much water for orange trees, leading to rotting of the roots.
Allow your orange tree to enjoy full sun and a warm temperature. If the orange tree is exposed to high temperatures and scorching sun rays, hang a sun shade over the tree.
Watering in time
Orange trees require a lot of water, but they only need it once in a while. So, wait for the soil to fully dry up before you water again.
Application of fertilizers
When it comes to fertilizers, you have to fertilize according to the age of the tree. For orange trees, you have to opt for citrus tree fertilizers or any other fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. If the tree is 2-3 years old, 2 teaspoons or 30 ml of nitrogen-rich fertilizer is recommended 3 to 4 times a year. This has to be done immediately after watering. If the tree is beyond 4 years old, then 0.45-0.68kg of nitrogen a year is required. February, July, and September would be the most favorable times to fertilize.
- Remove dust from your tender plants regularly because that hampers their photosynthesis process.
- Keep an eye out for diseases and take good care of your orange plant at this stage because you have to wait for at least 4 years or more to get fruits.
The stem-cutting method
Time to plant
The ideal time to propagate orange trees from stem cuttings is late spring or early summer because this is the time when the growth of the current season has dried. Cuttings shouldn't be taken from branches that have a lot of active flowers or fruit.
Pot & soil preparation
Use a pot with a 6-inch depth and fill it with a 50/50 mixture of perlite and gritty quartz sand. Also take 6–10-inch cuttings from the tip of a healthy orange tree branch. Choose the one that is less than 1/4 inch in diameter and has a leafy tip. Cut 1/8 inch beneath a set of leaves using a clean knife.
Preparing the stem
Remove half the leaves from the tip and all the leaves from the bottom half of the stem, as well as any dry or new blooms. Then scrape off 1/8-inch-wide silvery bark at the base of the stem.
Now coat the end of the cut stem with 0.1% IBA, or indolebutyric acid. It is a rooting hormone that will promote the growth. You have to apply this powder with a fresh cotton ball or paintbrush. After that, tap the stem to ward off any excess powder.
Planting the stem
Make a hole in the soil you prepared for this stem with your finger or a pencil. Press the soil mix firmly against the stem.
Now place the pot in a lightly shaded area or near a large window that receives diffused sunlight.
You must constantly maintain soil moisture. But wait for the topsoil to dry first to prevent root rotting. Mist the leaves as well.
- About three months later, check for roots. Give the base of the stem a gentle twist to check if the stem is firmly rooted.
- As roots have developed, you can now grow the tree outdoors under sheltered and light shade conditions for the first summer. In early autumn, place it in direct sunlight.
Around late autumn, you can transplant the orange tree into a prepared soil bed in your garden or a larger pot
You have to patiently wait for the fruits. Meanwhile, take good care of your orange tree.
Care guide for orange trees
This vitamin C-rich citrus fruit, the orange, is loaded with essential nutrients. If you are growing this tree at home, you have to maintain certain key factors mentioned below: -
Orange trees grow best in a fertile, loamy, and well-draining soil. The soil pH should be acidic, between 6.0 and 7.0.
This citrus tree is thirsty and requires consistent watering, but it cannot tolerate heavy watering. So, the soil should not be soggy. About an inch of water per week is sufficient for the overall health of an orange tree. Other factors to consider when watering this tree include temperature, humidity, and the amount of sunlight. So use your judgment here. You should avoid watering when the sun is scorching. Also, remember that if your tap water is hard or high in minerals, then use filtered water or stored rainwater.
This tree loves sunlight, so choose a sunny spot in your garden once the tree has matured. If the sun's rays are too scorching, opt for a lighter shade too. For dwarf varieties of indoor orange plants, choose a sunny window.
To produce the best-quality fruits, orange trees would require plenty of sunshine. Make sure the tree receives at least 8 hours of sunlight daily.
The ideal temperature for a healthy orange tree is between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius.
The dosage of fertilizer would depend on the age of the tree. For younger ones below 4 years, you can apply 2 tsp or 30 ml of nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Citrus tree fertilizer should be used for orange trees, and once the tree is mature or has crossed 4 years of age, apply 0.45–0.68 kg of nitrogen per year. Also remember that orange trees need fertilizer every month or two during the growing season when cultivated in cooler climates.
Oranges support healthy physical processes in addition to promoting mental well-being. The energizing fragrance of oranges improves mood. Although it will take a lot of time to establish an orange tree in your yard or interior area, your efforts will be rewarded when you taste the pulpy fruit. So, use these tips and relish your time in the garden.
FAQ’s related to oranges
How long does it take orange trees to produce oranges?
Depending on how old the tree was at the time of purchase, how you care for it or the method of planting it, orange trees may take 3-5 years or even more to produce fruits.
What is the average lifespan of an orange tree?
An orange tree can live for up to 50-60 years if properly cared for.
Should orange trees be watered daily?
Always check the topsoil before watering. Depending on the age of the orange tree, the water requirement would also change. For example, a young tree would require watering every few days, but a mature one may require watering weekly. In the summer, watering should only be done frequently after the topsoil has been examined.
Which fertilizer is best for oranges?
Citrus tree fertilizer is generally recommended for orange trees.
How many oranges can I eat every day?
Every fruit or vegetable has some nutrients, but consumption in moderation is always advised. One orange per day is generally enough.
Are there any health benefits to eating oranges?
Yes, oranges are beneficial for health. It contains vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber, and calcium. They can help boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, reduce stress, impart a glowing skin, and help build stronger bones.
Meta Title: Know how to grow Vitamin-C enriched oranges at home
Meta Description: Oranges are loved because they are immunity boosters and protect us from various diseases. Learn how to grow and take care of orange trees at home in this blog.