Group of oranges on a tree

How to Grow Oranges in the UK

Orange trees, like many other citrus plants, can be grown in the UK. Although, as citrus fruit, they usually need hot climates in order to grow, it is still possible to grow your own batch in your garden, despite the irregularities of Britain’s weather, and this guide will show you how.

Why Grow Oranges?

There could be numerous reasons why you may want to grow your own orange tree. For one, it is something different and experimental to add something unique to your garden that is not flowers. Also, because it takes the average orange tree 3 – 5 years to grow, it is not something that can be rushed. If you are a big fan of oranges and buy them regularly from the shop, you can save yourself some money by keeping the seeds after you have eaten the fruit and then planting them in a sheltered but sunny area of your garden, preferably at the start of the summer.

Once the oranges become ripe, you may find they will taste different compared to shop brought ones, as they will contain more of their natural sugars and the appropriate seeds to grow more natural orange trees if you so desire.

Where Can You Find Orange Trees?

Your best bet to finding a place to purchase an orange tree is at a local farm shop or garden centre. However, if there are not any close to your vicinity, consider searching online for potential orange trees for sale.  

Oranges: single orange hanging off branch.

The Best Ways to Grow Orange Trees

As growing an orange tree is your own little project, you will want to ensure you get the most out of the oranges you produce. These tips will assist you as your oranges continue to grow over the years:

  • Watering: Watering plants is always imperative to get the best results, but orange trees will need water the most during the beginning of their cycle, usually about one inch a week. The soil should therefore be moist but not overly soaked. It would be best if you also kept the tree inside a suitable pot for drainage.
  • Soil: Although orange trees can grow in most types of soil, your soil will need to be fresh in loam (a mixture of silt, sand and clay) and have a good pH radio between 5.0 and 6.5. The soil will also need organic produce like fungi and minerals, found in compost, as it will need similar fertilizers to keep them fresh. (DO NOT USE MULCH)
  • Pests: When pruning your tree, it is likely to be susceptible to insects. To prevent the oranges from being manifested by them, you will need pesticides to irradicate them, or alternatively, make one yourself. If larger animals are a danger to your tree, a more physical deterrent like a fence or net around the perimeter of your garden will be required.
  • Weed: Weeding should be a regular routine during your gardening, preferably in the morning when the soil is still damp, making weeds easier to be removed. This process can also prevent citrus cankers infecting the plants.

Problem Solving

When you begin growing your orange tree, your primary concern is the weather. Growing an orange tree from May onwards in the south of the UK will not be too strenuous, but in the north, more than likely, you should wrap the orange tree in a fleece material to prevent it from frosting. After all, it is better to keep your tree warm than cold.

Another problem you may face after purchasing a tree from a shop is what condition it is in. If the tree is contained indoors, it will be dry, and its leaves may look a pale green. To adjust this, you can prune the tree to rejuvenate it, but only when the tree is in healthy condition. In the meantime, you can remove the top layer of soil and add in a small, fresh batch, as well as using plant food, such as organic fertilizers, to give it plenty of nutrition.

Ideally, you should keep your orange tree in a pot (e.g., terracotta), as this will make it easier to transport it inside or outside, depending on weather conditions and will help with drainage.

Time to Grow

Overall, growing orange trees in the UK can be a simple process, but also a steady one and should not be rushed. So long as you regularly keep them in contained spots of sunlight in the summer and warm in the winter, you will get great results once oranges begin spawning towards the third-year period, if not earlier, and you will find that your efforts will not go to waste.

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