Have you been thinking about adding an orange tree to your outdoor garden (or a dwarf orange tree to your indoor/outdoor garden)? That’s a great idea! But what kind of orange tree should you get? There are many types of oranges available, but a great place to start is with two very popular orange varieties: the navel orange and the Valencia orange. Which type you should go with will depend on how you want to use the tasty fruit you grow.
Valencia vs. Navel Oranges
Navel oranges and Valencia oranges are similar in flavor and appearance (as are the trees they come from), so how can you distinguish one from the other?
From the outside there’s one main characteristic to tell them apart: the navel orange actually grows a second, “twin” fruit opposite its stem. That second fruit remains underdeveloped, but from the outside it resembles a human navel (hence the name). Navel oranges are part of the winter citrus family. They are seedless, easy to peel and one of the best-tasting oranges available. They taste sweeter than Valencias and are great to munch on fresh out of hand or tossed in a salad. Navels are best eaten rather than juiced, as the limonin found in their flesh turns the juice bitter within half an hour of juicing.
Valencia orange season typically begins in March and continues through September, making the Valencia orange part of the summer citrus family. Valencia oranges are named after the city of Valencia in Spain (although the variety is believed to have originated in China or India). Valued for their high juice content and availability outside of the typical citrus season, Valencia oranges are usually thin-skinned and have a few seeds. They’re considered to be one of the best oranges for juicing. Valencia orange juice has a perfect ratio of sweet-tart flavor.
Are oranges good for you? Which are healthier, Valencia or Navel oranges?
Both navel oranges and Valencia oranges are nutrient-rich citrus fruits that make them suitable additions to a well-rounded, healthful diet. Despite their juice content and flavor differences, each variety of orange benefits consumers in a similar way nutritionally. Comparably sized oranges have nearly identical caloric contents, ranging from 60-90 calories.
Valencia and navel oranges are rich sources of vitamins and nutrients, providing more than 100 percent of the daily-recommended value of Vitamin C. Each type of orange also offers about 5% of our daily need for vitamin B-6 (or about 0.25 mg), and between 4 and 7 g of dietary fiber, a nutrient critical to healthy digestion. Folate, or vitamin B-9, is also present in both navel and Valencia oranges, averaging between 40 and 50 mcg per medium-sized fruit. Valencia and navel oranges are both fat-free foods, and neither is a significant source of cholesterol or sodium.
Looking for a Valencia orange tree for sale? Consider going small!
A Valencia orange tree and navel orange tree look similar to one another and to most orange tree varieties. Whichever type you end up getting, it (or they) is bound to be an attractive addition to your garden – citrus trees are commonly used as ornamental trees throughout Asia, and their trim shape, dark evergreen leaves, and bright fruit add interest to any outdoor space.
And to any indoor space – you don’t have to live in Florida to enjoy Florida oranges! If you live in a colder climate, you might want to consider getting a dwarf Valencia orange tree or dwarf navel orange tree. Easy to care for, these smaller versions of their larger cousins do well in a sunny spot and give you easy access to delicious fresh fruit, ready to pick and add to your favorite recipes!