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How do I Plant an Orange Tree?

M.R. Anglin
M.R. Anglin

There are several steps to planting an orange tree, but none of them are overly complicated. Before planting, be sure you have chosen the correct tree for your garden. Orange trees grow best in areas that have an average minimum temperature of 20° to above 40°F (-6.6° to above 4.5°C). The specific type of orange tree you choose may also be determined by where you live because certain orange trees grow better in certain areas; do some research to find out what kind of orange tree grows best in your area. It is also important to note that different types of orange trees bear fruit at different times of the year, so consider one that will fruit at the time you want oranges.

Once you find the type of orange tree you want, it is time to make sure you have the right location for it. Orange trees grow best in full sun, but they can also grow well in partial shade. They also like soil that is arid, gritty, and drains well. To prepare the site, clear out all trash — old roots, twigs, stones — and be sure to weed the area and rake the soil. You should also make sure the area you have chosen will be large enough to accommodate a mature orange tree.

Cara cara oranges.
Cara cara oranges.

Now that the preparations are finished, you are ready to plant your orange tree. Before you start digging, take the tree and spread the roots. That will tell you how big you should dig the hole. You will also need to moisten the root system. The easiest way to do this is to place the tree in a bucket of water.

After this, start digging your hole. The hole should be deep enough so that the tree sits slightly higher than it did in the pot. This means that the hole should be slightly shallower than the pot the tree came in. When you place the tree in the hole, the bud union should be above the soil. It is now time to start filling in the hole.

Oranges will not grow in extremely cold climates.
Oranges will not grow in extremely cold climates.

Fill in the hole with dirt until the hole is halfway full. Then pat down the soil around the tree to get rid of the air. Next, fill the hole with water. Wait until the water drains and the soil settles. After that, fill in the hole until it is almost completely filled.

Pat down the soil again and then dig a water basin. Though orange trees don’t like to sit in water, they do like a lot of water. A water basin that holds about 7 to 10 gallons of water (26.5 to 37.85 L) will ensure that the orange tree gets all the water it needs. Once the basin is ready, fill it with water. If properly planted and cared for, the tree will start bearing three to four years after planting.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks for this information. in Uganda, we have some improved varieties like harmilin, valencia and washington navel which are widely grown in the country. please it is important to avail readers with specific steps on grafting/budding process and spacing. subsequent articles can detail benefits from orange fruits. -George


thanks for all the info on soil prep and planting, but explain the water basin procedure. PJD


I have also heard that orange tree pruning is an important part of the care of orange trees, though this article does not mention it much. If you do plant an orange tree, that is something else in its care you might want to study.


@hyrax53, while it would be hard to grow most orange varieties from seeds, you might be able to find an orange grower willing to sell you one; in some states where growing conditions are the best, you might even be able to find an orange tree nursery.


@sapphire12, I have heard that before and still think it's really fascinating that the art of grafting has become so advanced. At the same time, I think it's unfortunate that you cannot just buy orange tree seeds for your favorite orange varieties and expect them to be the same.


Most citruses you can buy in the store, including oranges, all come from plants that were raised by grafting. Nearly all citrus varieties start out as plain lemon trees.

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    • Cara cara oranges.
      By: andriigorulko
      Cara cara oranges.
    • Oranges will not grow in extremely cold climates.
      By: volff
      Oranges will not grow in extremely cold climates.
    • Orange trees can be damaged by freezing temperatures and do better in warmer climates.
      By: Stephen Martin
      Orange trees can be damaged by freezing temperatures and do better in warmer climates.