How to Grow Navel Oranges?
The navel orange is named so because of its unusual belly-button-shaped spot at the bottom end. This is a seedless variety and is very sweet.
It thrives in the USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11 (it can grow even in zone 8 with extra protection). In the USA, navel oranges are grown commercially in Florida, Arizona, and California.
Published: September 8, 2022.
When to Plant Navel Oranges?
One should plant navel oranges in early to mid-spring to allow roots to get established before temperatures go down in the fall.
However, those living in very hot climates should plant in fall when temperatures are cooler in their area.
The planting site should be in full sunlight. As far as possible, one should plant the tree on the south or southeast side of their house to protect the plant from wind and cold.
They should also ensure to keep a distance of a minimum of 12 to 15 feet (2.5 to 4.5 m) from sidewalks, walkways, and any structures.
The soil should be sandy or well-drained, offering roots a dry period between waterings.
Also, the grower should add plentiful compost, well-rotted manure, or other organic matter to enhance soil quality.
However, peat moss or mulch should not be added because they hold moisture.
One should not fertilize a navel orange tree while planting. They should rather wait for a few weeks till new growth emerges.
After that, they should feed their navel orange tree with a balanced fertilizer or citrus fertilizer every six weeks from February to September.
For the first couple of years, the grower should pick developing fruit. Doing so when the tree is young makes sure energy is turned towards a healthy growth of navel orange trees.
When it comes to pruning, navel orange trees don’t require much of it besides removing dead, damaged, or crossing branches.
This must be done every year before new growth emerges in spring.
Growing Navel Oranges in Pots
Navel oranges can be grown in larger flower pots and containers. Growing oranges in the pots have many benefits since it allows the gardener to tailor the soil in the best possible way, it allows the gardener to move the plants indoors when there is a danger of frost, it allows the gardener to position the pot on the best spot, etc.
However, growing oranges and other trees in pots also have some drawbacks, including limited root ball volume, which limits the amount of nutrients and moisture in the growing pot.
Thus, should You decide to plant the navel or any other orange in the pot, be sure to water and fertilize the plant(s) regularly.
Also, every few years, the orange tree should be taken out of the growing pot, have its root ball trimmed down, and the soil should be completely replaced - when trimming the root ball, it is also recommended to trim prune the orange tree a little bit more.
When deciding which pot to take, consider a large planter placed on the cart with wheels - this allows the gardener to move the plant around easily.
Depending on the tree's desired size, the pot's diameter may be in the 20-25 inches range, with the pot height in the 15-20 inches range - personally, the larger the pot, the better.
Fill the pot with the suitable soil mix that drains well and has a pH between 5.0 and 6.5, and plant the navel orange tree - Washington Navel Orange is a semi-dwarf variety suitable for pot growing.
After planting, water and fertilize the orange tree depending on the local temperatures, pot position, orange tree size, etc.