Everything you wanted to know about tangerines

Citrus Tangerina, or tangerines, are one of the tasty hybrids of mandarin oranges. Tangerines get their name from their place of origin: Tangier, Morocco. Like other citrus fruits, proper tangerine tree care requires a warm, sunny climate for the trees to thrive. Although the fruit bears some striking resemblance to the common orange, it has distinct features that set it apart from its other citrus cousins.

What are the differences between a tangerine and an orange?

The most distinct difference between the two is in the size of the fruit. Oranges are noticeably larger than tangerines. Oranges also tend to be rounder, while tangerines are somewhat flattened. While both fruits have thin skin, tangerines are easier to peel since orange skin is tighter. Tangerines are comparatively sweeter than oranges while oranges are more tart.

How much space does a tangerine tree take up?

If you’re interested in growing your own tangerines, space is definitely something you should consider. The standard tangerine tree size is 10 to 15 feet high, but older trees can grow as high as 25 feet. You can find dwarf size trees though, if you’re working with limited space. You can buy potted tangerine trees that grow between 8-10 feet, but still yield the same quality fruit with proper care.

Which variety should I buy?

There are several kinds of tangerine trees for sale in your local nursery, which give you options to suit your preference. While you may want to learn how to grow your own tangerine from seed, it’s better to get a young tree instead. Here are some of our recommendations:

  1. Sunburst

Sunburst tangerine trees produce delightful, medium-sized fruits with a few seeds. It’s great to eat as is, use for salads, as a garnish, or bake into desserts. Its loose skin is easy to peel, and the size of the fruit is very handy, making it a great portable snack. It gets its name from the sunburst pattern at the stem end of the fruit. Sunburst tangerines are in season during the late fall and winter months.

  • Satsuma

The fruits produced by Satsuma tangerine trees are coined as “zipper skins” because of their loose, red-orange skin that can be peeled with little effort. The sweet, firm and juicy flesh is good for making beverages, to snack on as is, as a salad ingredient, as well as for baked or frozen desserts. You need to be careful when handling it though, since the fruit can bruise easily. The tree usually bears fruit between August and December.

  • Murcott

If you’re looking for a tangerine variety that’s great for juicing, then consider getting yourself a Murcott tangerine tree. It produces medium-sized fruits that may contain up to a dozen small seeds, though there are some seedless varieties. This is a late-blooming tangerine and is in season during the winter months.

  • Algerian

Algerian tangerine trees produce some of the smallest citrus fruits on the market. Its seedless fruit has an oblate shape and can measure as small as 2 ½ inches in diameter. This bite-sized fruit is great for snacking on fresh, due to its size and easy to peel skin. It is in season from mid-fall to winter.

  • Honey Tangerine

The fruit produced by honey tangerine trees does justice to its name for its characteristic sweetness. This mandarin orange hybrid is firm and heavy for its size. It’s perfect for enhancing dessert dishes and salads, or simply eating it out of hand.