Quintessential to a well balanced breakfast, the humble orange juice is a staple to many New Zealand breakfast tables. But it has so many other uses, too – orange and poppy seed cake, thrown raw in salads or used as a tangy glaze for hams; so it pays to grow your own for a fresh supply!  There are many varieties to choose from, including Valencia, Seville or Washington Navel - and many dwarf forms too which are ideal for small gardens or pots.


How to grow Oranges in a garden

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. If the soil is clay based, improve soil structure by adding gypsum and forking in well. In poorly drained areas, citrus can also be planted in a raised mound of free-draining soil.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots. 
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes. 
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like woodchip or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions.
  6. During the growing and flowering/fruiting season, feed with Yates Thrive Citrus & Fruit Granular Plant Food. Throughout the year, apply Yates Thrive Natural Fish & Seaweed+ Plant Food Concentrate.
orange-on-tree
orange-tree-in-pot

How to grow Oranges in a pot

When planting in a pot, choose a dwarf orange variety, such as Dwarf Valencia or Dwarf Navel.  

    1. Choose a pot at least 500mm wide. Position in full sun and fill with quality potting mix, such as Yates Nature's Way Organic Citrus & Fruit Mix. TIP: Consider placing the pot on wheels if you live in a cold area, so it can be easily moved inside or to a sunnier and more protected spot in winter. 
    2. Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots. 
    3. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well. 
    4. Water deeply, 2-3 times during the week, depending on weather conditions. 
    5. During the growing and flowering/fruiting season, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food. Throughout the year apply Yates Thrive Natural Fish Seaweed+ Plant Food Concentrate.

Growing tips

  • When planting in a pot, choose a dwarf orange variety, such as Dwarf Valencia or Dwarf Navel.

  • If you’re short of sunny spots in the garden, grow citrus in pots that can be moved to take advantage of changing patterns of sunlight.

  • In heavy clay soils, it’s best to put extra effort into soil preparation. To check if your soil needs work, dig a hole and pour a bucket of water into the hole – if it takes more than 30 minutes to disappear, then you will need to work your soil. Consider raising the level of the bed as much as possible, dig in gypsum and Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. Potted oranges should be grown in a good quality mix (such as Yates Nature's Way Organic Citrus & Fruit Mix) and moved into larger containers as they grow.

  • Remove any small fruit that develop within the first two years - thinning excess fruit when they’re small will encourage better sized and tasting fruit to develop in the coming years.

  • 'Valencia' (winter fruiting) are ideal for juicing.

  • 'Washington Navel' (summer fruiting) is prized for its incredibly sweet fruit which is easy to peel and great for eating fresh.
     
  • There are bitter varieties available that are used to make marmalade.

  • Some varieties produce fruit all year round, some are seedless - check with your local garden centre or plant nursery. 
 

More Plants

Oranges

Oranges are delicious when eaten fresh, juiced or cooked. Trees can grow up to 6 metres so for small gardens or pots, choose a dwarf variety.

Apples

Apples can grow into large trees, but you can also find dwarf forms. Be sure to find a self-fertile variety or two which can cross-pollinate.

Strawberry

Strawberries happily grow in raised garden beds, in the garden, in pots or even hanging baskets. Eat them fresh, cooked or make into jams.

Passionfruit

Passionfruits grows on vigorous vines and need at least a 2.5m high support, so they’re ideal for growing up and across a pergola or along a sunny fence.


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