Grow Dwarf Mandarin Oranges in Containers
Mandarin oranges are one of the most expensive types of citrus fruits and they are not available fresh-picked in many parts of the world. However, you can change that and grow your own dwarf mandarin orange tree in a container no matter what part of the world you live in with these easy to follow planting and growing instructions.
Look for a dwarf variety mandarin orange tree to grow. This variety will remain 6 feet or shorter and will live for many years in a container when properly cared for. Trying to grow a traditional sized citrus tree in a container will result in an unhappy tree that will produce little to no fruit and die at a young age.
Start with a small container and work your way up to an extra large container as the tree grows. It’s easier to maintain proper soil moisture in a small container than in a big container. A new citrus tree will grow fine in an 8-inch diameter container to start. Two to three year old trees will need a 10 to 12 inch diameter container. Eventually, you’ll need a 16 to 20 gallon container or one-half whiskey barrel-sized container for long term growth.
Any container will suffice for growing a dwarf mandarin orange tree, as long as the container has several drainage holes in the bottom. Plastic will have the lightest weight and is the best choice if you plan to move the citrus tree around. Wood, terra cotta or concrete will work fine too, but will make moving the tree more challenging.
Mandarin orange trees need well draining soil in which to grow. Commercial potting mixes that contain peat moss, perlite, vermiculite and compost are perfect to use. Garden soil or top soil is too heavy and will not allow proper drainage.
Plant the tree so the roots are just below the soil surface, but the crown is just above it. If transplanting an existing dwarf mandarin tree into a larger container, gently remove the old tree from the container and examine the roots. Cut off any dead, broken, and circling roots and repot. Water well.
Water, Food and Pruning
Water when the soil is dry to 6 inches deep, and water tree deeply. Fertilize in spring with a citrus plant food that contains double the nitrogen compared to phosphorous and potassium, such as a 20-10-10. Prune for shape and balance in spring, removing leggy branches and any new shoots that arise from below the graft union.