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Re: orange blossoms

It's a difficult [not stupid] question to answer, Kitty. Take the Valencia orange, for example. The Valencia is the most "popular" orange in the world. It is the orange that produces about 90 percent of the world's orange juice. Like most oranges, it produces only one crop in 12 months, but at this time of year, the tree may have both this year's crop, which can be harvested any time between christmas and, say, easter, and next year's crop of marble-sized fruit.

On the other hand, many lemons and limes, will flower and fruit year around. The Eureka lemon, which is one of the two or three major market lemons, flowers and fruits year around. It is also very finicky about temperature, tolerating neither heat nor cool. It won't grow here in Florida. Most production is on the Oxnard Plain, south of Santa Barbara, California, right along the Pacific.

The only lemon that does well in Florida is the Improved Meyer, which [as most know] is a lemon-mandarin hybrid, and not a true lemon. It is reported to have its lemon parent's year-round flowering and fruiting habit, but mine is more like the once-a-year mandarin parent [a mandarin is that loose rind fruit usually called "tangerine" or "clementine"].

I think my Key Lime has an interesting bloom-fruit cycle. It starts blooming in mid summer. The fruit mature quickly, and if you keep picking them, the bush [my pruning preference] keeps blooming and setting fruit--apparently until it overwhelms me and I quit picking.

My "Honeybell" Mineola tangelo [tangelo is a hybrid of mandarin and grapefruit] sets one crop a year and does not seem to bloom until the current crop has been picked. I think this is the best of all citrus to be eaten out of hand. Easy to peel, with the fantastic sweetness of the mandarin, and the tartness of the grapefruit.

There is another tangelo, the Orlando, which is juicier and seedier than the Mineola. It is used mainly for juice, which is quite good but probably not available north of Florida.

On Thursday, January 8, 2004, at 02:54 PM, kmrsy@comcast.net wrote:

Noreen - you mention citrus.
I have a really stupid question to ask you and Jim and anyone else who might know.
I think I read that some citrus trees crop more than once a year. Do
oranges set fruit more than once a year? If so, do they have blossoms at
the very same time that they have a big beautiful orange ready for

Kitty, don't' have to dig anything here at all since the ground doesn't
freeze. Do not have a problem here with pots freezing and breaking here at all
either...not even the water garden containers. The plants that I do bring in
all in pots. Many are succulents (caudiforms, bonsai), Plumerias, and such
that do not tolerate being wet or in some cases having moisture at all during
winter (dormancy). They will rot very quickly. These are usually plants that
one would grow in heated green houses in northern states, with the same
principles applying to refraining from watering during dormancy. Learned the
way. Other plants I either cover or bring in during an actual freeze are
young tropicals in containers that have not really had a chance to become
established. When I first get a plant I tend to be a bit more protective, but
once it
becomes established I find that I no longer need to feel that way. Now, mind
you, if we were ever to get a serious cold snap (down to the low 20's or
below) then I would probably protect a lot more than I have in past years.

We've had some dips in the past month down to the mid 30's, but yet Hibiscus,
Bougainvillas, Aristolochia vine, Roses, Phillipine violets, all the Salvias,
a few orchids, some bromeliads, and a few others are continuing to bloom.
For the most part, I've found the plants do better when they are left outside.
For instance, by not taking in or protecting the citrus, I have a better crop.
Before I would take in the young citrus which bloomed all winter then, but
ended up not setting much fruit.....probably due to not having the pollination
inside the garage or house. On the flip side, the Nectarine doesn't produce
as well since it hasn't gotten the low chill hours it requires, although this
variety was created by Texas A&M for this area.

I've never noticed any of the containers having problems in the summer months
with air circulation....plastic or otherwise. I do have to leave the saucers
off of some plants so they do not sit in water during our soaking rains, but
otherwise have not had a problem. Many of the plants that I've kept in
containers is largely due to the fact that I'd like to keep them to a certain
and so that I can move things around.....as in the citrus, shrub
bougainvillas, etc. Otherwise they could easily be put in the ground. When my
dream of
acreage comes true, maybe then.....HA! I wish.

zone 9
Texas Gulf Coast

 In a message dated 1/8/2004 11:03:09 AM Central Standard Time,
gardenchat-owner@hort.net writes:
When you refer to plants you take in, are these already in pots or are
they in the ground and you've previously dug up & potted to take in?

If you're concerned about cold and they are in pots, you could wrap the
pots with a bit of insulation. If in the ground, you could add a winter

I bet you're right about not wanting to be soggy. But would plastic heat
up too much under summer sunshine, not allow air circulation? Perhaps a
few perforations wouldn't hurt. I know nothing about Plumerias, just
guessing. Here, when I want to avoid sogginess, I use a rose cone which
insulates but does allow for air circulation. Burlap works too, or
netting that encloses leaves stuffed around the plant.

I'm not suggesting that zone 5 tactics would necessarily work in Zone 9,
but possibly some of the reasons behind these tactics would have
something in common with your situation. I agree, there comes a time
when hauling things in and out just gets to be too much.

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Island Jim
Southwest Florida
Zone 10

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