The Citrus Tangerina, or Tangerine, is a slightly smaller, sweeter, and easier to peal relative of the orange. Tangerines gets their name from Tangiers, Morocco from where they were first shipped. They are a hybrid of Citrus Reticulada and the Mandarin Orange. Tangerine trees are more cold resistant than their other citrus relatives, however, they are still very vulnerable to freezing weather. They thrive in warm, sunny climates. If you do not live in a tropical or subtropical area, you can easily find dwarf tangerine trees for sale online and grow them in a pot that can be brought indoors.
The tangerine tree is fairly small compared to other citrus, growing to about 10-15 feet high. It’s a self-pollinating plant and usually starts bearing fruit when it’s about 2-3 years old. This tree needs ample sunlight and well-draining soil for it to yield more fruits, so it’s best to plant it where it gets the most exposure.
There are many varieties of tangerines, so it’s best to make sure you’re getting the kind you want.
- Algerian tangerines, more commonly known as clementines, are a small, seedless variety of tangerine known for their sweetness. They are often used for cooking or to make marmalade because of their distinct sweetness. They are in season between November and February.
- Another popular tangerine variety is the Murcott or Honey Tangerine. This variety is a tangerine-sweet orange hybrid that produces medium-sized, reddish-orange or yellow fruits which contains some seeds. It is in season later compared to other tangerine varieties, from mid-winter to early spring.
- Temples, or Royal Mandarins, are another well-known tangerine variety. They grow on comparatively larger trees than other tangerines, and the fruits are noticeably larger as well. They are a tangerine-orange hybrid and some even prefer to classify them as tangors. Their peak season comes from December through March.
- One of the most common kinds of tangerines is the Sunburst tangerine. Sunburst tangerines are popular to plant in home orchards, because of the thornless tree that yields delicious medium-sized, loose-skinned fruit. It gets its name from the sun-shaped stem end. They are typically in season in the late fall and winter months.
There are some key points you need to pay attention to if you decide to buy a tangerine dwarf tree. As mentioned earlier, the plant thrives in the sun so place it outside, or directly in front of a window. If growing in a container, you may want to consider placing it outdoors during the summer but make sure to bring it back indoors before the first frost. For the first two years, just water it enough to keep the soil moist but not wet.
Indoor-grown tangerines also need to be pollinated by hand. A dry paintbrush is perfect for the job. Just lightly dab the brush on the center from flower to flower, simulating how bees do it.
Also, make sure to prune suckers and old branches from your plant when new growth starts around springtime. It’s usually necessary to re-pot your dwarf tangerine tree every three or four years. It may take some time and effort, but that just makes it tastier once your tangerine tree grows enough to yield fruit.