How to Grow Blood Oranges?
Blood oranges (Citrus sinensis) originate from Asia and perform well in warm climates, although they are ideal for container gardening in cooler climates. Blood oranges thrive in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and 10. When grown in containers, blood-orange plants can be conveniently indoors or in another sheltered place in cooler areas or during cold snaps.
Blood oranges have been around for centuries and are used for pulp, juice, and sweet rind for culinary purposes. From the outside, it looks similar to most other oranges, but once cut, it reveals a “blood red” color. It is also sweeter than most other orange varieties. It has very few seeds and is easy to peel. Flowers of blood oranges are creamy white and have a mild fragrance.
Blood oranges are popular as an accompaniment to seafood, and of course, they are made into various desserts.
Published: August 17, 2022.
Blood Oranges: How to Grow Them
The grower should remember that blood orange trees require a warm climate, i.e., between 55- and 85-degree F (13- and 29-degree C) when grown outdoors and around 65-degree F (18 degrees C) when grown indoors with enough light.
When to Plant?
While planting outdoors, blood oranges should be planted in late March once the threat of frost has passed.
The planting location should receive full sun for most of the day. While planting indoors, the plant should be kept a minimum of 24 inches (61 cm) away from windows to protect leaves from burning. But they should not even be kept too far so that the plants get inadequate light.
Soil for blood oranges should be well-draining to avoid roots sitting in water. For this, equal amounts of peat moss or other organic compost should be added to the soil.
Once the best site is chosen, the grower should dig a hole in the soil and put only the tree's roots inside. Any of the trunks should not be put inside. Some varieties have spines. One should wear garden gloves while planting if one has chosen a spined variety.
Once planted, the plant should be immediately watered and should be watered every 2-3 days. The soil should be kept moist. The grower should continue watering until the plant is well-established and shows signs of new growth.
The area around the blood orange trees should be maintained free of weeds that may absorb soil nutrients.
During the winter months, the grower should keep blood-orange trees in a bright spot. If required, they should bring the plants indoors if there is a possibility of frost. If this is not possible, they should wrap the trunk with plastic or blankets.
They can also put a thick layer of mulch around the base of the tree to protect it from freezing temperatures.
Growers should remember that if they bring blood-orange trees indoors during the winter months, they may have to provide additional humidity to keep the foliage lush and pliable.
Growers should water blood orange trees once a week after they have been established. They should keep the soil moist but not wet. They should avoid watering during rainy periods.
Growers should fertilize the tree 3 to 4 times a year with an organic fertilizer. They should work the fertilizer into the soil around the tree and should water well.
They can even apply a liquid fertilizer following the manufacturer’s instructions and then water. Blood orange trees need a lot of zinc, iron, and manganese to bear healthy fruit. So, the grower should not skimp on feeding. Yellow leaves may be a sign of a shortage of fertilization or overwatering.
The grower should prune blood orange trees depending upon the container size or area of planting. These trees produce flowers heavily in the spring but may keep blooming off and on all through the year.
The grower can prune back the heavy growth at the tips to decrease the height of the trees. In the case of container-grown blood orange trees, the grower should remove them from the pots every 2 to 3 years and cut back about 1/3rd of the roots, and then repot them with new, amended soil.
This will keep this tree happy and healthy for many years to come.
Long Story Short: Blood oranges can be a great plant for any home gardener to grow - they can be very decorative, and the best of all, they taste excellent, especially when consumed fresh.