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Successfully Cultivating a Clementine Tree

Citrus has a certain nostalgic effect, with the fruit associated with both sunny skies and cozy Christmases. Just a few generations ago, access to citrus fruits was a novelty for people in colder climates, but lemons, oranges, and the delightful clementine are standard fare in lunch boxes and kitchens across America today. In addition, more and more hobby growers are taking a second look at citrus. Trees like the clementine are easier to care for than you might think, and there's nothing quite like picking fresh citrus from backyard branches.

What is a Clementine?

Clementines belong to the mandarin orange family. They are small, sweet, lunch-box friendly fruits that peel easily for on-the-go enjoyment. The variety is sometimes referred to as a "Christmas orange" because they are in season right around the holidays and many people purchase them as a seasonal treat. Clementines are very similar to tangerines, with a bright, fresh flavor in a pleasingly poppable package.

Growing a Clementine Tree

Citrus gets a bit of a bad rap as being difficult to grow. Many home gardeners completely write off citrus trees as too cold sensitive. Though the clementine tree is considered a warm-weather-loving plant, they can be cared for in a warm environment. These fun fruits are ideal for USDA hardiness zones 9-11, they can actually do very well in greenhouses and in pots where moving them out of the weather is possible.
For growing zones 9-11 The Clementine’s ability to bear fruit consistently is greatly hindered by unexpected frosts during blossoming, so container planting is recommended if you try to nurture clementines in less than ideal climates.

Keeping Clementines Happy

When planted outdoors in a sunny climate, clementine trees resemble a standard dwarf fruit tree in size. However, container planting keeps them manageable as the tree can't outgrow the root structure in the container, and most will resemble a shrub or bush in their dimensions. A clementine tree in a container should always have sufficient drainage to avoid bogging down the roots, and it will do best when exposed to full sunlight as much as possible. In fact, it's ideal if you can move the tree outdoors when the weather is mild, only bringing it inside when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The clementine tree is perfect for budding citrus growers, as it is more forgiving than other varieties and can survive challenging growing conditions and inexperienced husbandry. With proper care and smart management, most people can successfully cultivate clementines in a temperature-regulated growing space or container, or, if you're lucky enough to live where it's warm, right in your own backyard. If you're interested in growing a clementine tree yourself, take a look at our website, as we offer many trees for you at great prices.

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