I have an orange tree I purchased in Florida 12 years ago. So far it’s doing good, but this year it decided to have small oranges, very bitter, and lots of blooms. I put it out in the summer and spring, and bring it in in the winter. I have cut it back and started two other trees from it, but the oranges are very small and very bitter. What can I do to make them sweeter? Also, if I wanted to sell it, what price should I ask and to whom should I sell it?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Jill: Your orange tree sounds very happy! If it was grown from a seedling or a cutting it can take that long for it to produce fruit. Is this the first year that you have gotten fruit? If so it is possible that you are growing a Calamondin orange. These oranges are much smaller than your average orange that you buy in the grocery store. They are more equivalent to the size of a kumquat. They are very sour and not the most palatable of oranges. If your tree has produced fruit in the past and this year was just not as sweet as you remember, this is likely due to inadequate ripening time and/or nutrients. Oranges require a certain amount of days with warm temperatures and high humidity to ripen properly. As for selling your tree, this is not something that a garden center would purchase because in most cases they only purchase plants from certified growers. Your fruit tree is quite large and as long as it is healthy it would retail for around $150.00. That being said you might want to just prune it in order to bring it indoors. Citrus can be cut back pretty hard so if you do not want to get rid of your tree this would certainly be an option. If you are serious about selling it you should get in contact with the master gardeners in your county or any of the gardening clubs to see if any of them would be interested in purchasing it. I hope this is helpful.