Stephanie’s Corner: Orangerie

Apr 10, 2010

Brian + Calamondin = Orangerie

Citrus trees are wonderful house plants, oozing clouds of sweet fragrance when they bloom (right about now!) and cheerfully sprouting fruit soon after.  Here in Los Angeles they can live outside year-round, and they are one of my favorite things to put in a pot, especially by the front door.

This Variegated Calamondin Orange, from Monrovia, is my new favorite.  It has tiny round oranges that are juicy but sour and perfect for marmalade and cocktails.  The light green leaves splashed with yellow add drama and color.  Just the thing for Brian.

If your hometown is less tropical, you can move your trees outside for the summer (after frost danger is past), then bring them indoors for the winter.  Make your own orangerie in front of your sunniest South-facing window with a few lightweight Islands (big Brian is best for this).  Thinking he’ll get lonely? A Variegated Pink Lemonade lemon and juicy Mexican Thornless Lime will also be happy wintering indoors, rounding out your new citrus grove nicely!

Happy Gardening!
Stephanie
Materials:
1 x Brian
1 x Calamondin Orange Tree (5 gallon)
Potting Soil

monrovia

Instructions:
Unzip Brian and add 2” of potting soil.  Remove plant from its plastic pot and gently massage its roots.  Place on potting soil base.  Zip Brian up, adding more soil around the edges as you go (don’t stuff – go for a relaxed fit).  Don’t cover the top of the plant with any extra soil – citrus trees like to have their root crown (the very top part of their roots) exposed to the air.  Enjoy!

Upkeep:
Citrus need lots of sun, so if you don’t have a sunny South facing window (or if there’s a tree or tall building in the way), consider investing in supplemental full spectrum lighting.  Water weekly, or more often if its extra dry inside.  Brian will “sweat” extra water out the sides, so you’ll know if you’re overwatering.  Don’t water if he feels damp.  Citrus are also heavy feeders, so use a good quality organic citrus food, and follow the instructions.

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