Orange trees (Citrus sinensis), with their fragrant flowers and showy edible fruits, add ornamental and practical value to plantings. Cuttings are the easiest way to propagate orange trees at home, as they consistently and faithfully reproduce the favorable fruiting characteristics of the parent plant. Let’s see how to grow orange from cuttings and its care.
Steps to Growing an Orange Tree from Cuttings
Take cuttings from orange trees in late spring or early summer, after the current season’s growth has hardened off and the flowers have faded. Do not take cuttings from branches that have many active flowers or fruits.
Before cutting orange tree cuttings, prepare a rooting container. Fill the 6-inch pots halfway with perlite and halfway with coarse sand. Create a pot for each orange tree you wish to propagate.
Cut 6 to 10 inch pieces from the end of a healthy orange branch. Choose those with a leafy tip and a diameter slightly smaller than that of a pencil. Using sharp, clean scissors, cut under a set of leaves.
Remove all the leaves from the lower half of the stem of the orange cutting and halve the leaves at the tip, along with any faded or newly formed flowers and berries.
Remove a piece of bark about 2cm from the base of the stem and cross-cut it to facilitate root growth.
Apply rooting hormone to the cut end of the cutting, although this step is optional, we recommend it for best results.
If you are using rooting powder, use a clean brush or a new cotton swab to apply it.
If you opted for a liquid rooting hormone, leave the tip of the cutting submerged for a few minutes. Watch: How to do homemade rooting for cuttings.-
Dig a planting hole deep enough to fit the bottom half of the orange cup into the perlite and sand mixture. Insert the end of the hormone-treated cutting into the hole and press the mixture firmly into the stem.
Place the cutting in a lightly shaded spot or near a large window with indirect sunlight and an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius.
While the orange cutting takes root, keep the perlite mixture moist at all times. To prevent rot and fungal infections, let the top two inches of soil dry out between waterings.
Three months after planting the orange cutting in a pot, check the roots. Pull gently at the base of the stem to see if it is attached to the mix at the roots. You will also know if the roots have grown by seeing new leaves growing on the cutting.
Once the roots of the cutting have grown and become established, you can transplant your new orange tree wherever you want.
Where to grow orange tree cuttings
The first thing to remember; the orange tree can only be planted directly in the ground in regions where it does not freeze in winter.
During the first summer, grow the rooted orange tree cutting outdoors in a sheltered, lightly shady spot. Allow it to gradually acclimate to direct sunlight in early fall, once daytime temperatures have cooled slightly.
When the weather is cool and moist, plant the orange tree in a prepared bed or large container in mid to late fall in full sun with daily watering in neutral to slightly acidic soil.
Place the trees in a small mound if the soil is not well drained to avoid waterlogging.
Maintenance and cultivation of the orange tree
Give the tree a balanced fertilizer a few weeks after planting and for the first few years (before growing age).
It provides nutrients to newly born trees not only to continue the development of branches and leaves, but also to replenish nutrients lost during fruit formation. A citrus blend would be perfect.
Watering the orange tree is very important, especially if it is in a pot, because it tends to dry out much faster.
Orange trees hate having too much water. Thus, watering, although necessary in summer, should not be abundant, but reduced and regular.
Generally, they should be watered every one to two weeks, depending on weather and soil type. Hot weather and sandy soils require frequent watering. Wet, soggy soils and standing water can kill the tree.
It is best to water at dusk so that the water is not lost so quickly through evaporation.
Orange trees are pruned when the tree no longer produces flowers or fruit, usually in winter.
Orange trees only need pruning to remove dead branches and those that cross or touch the ground. Removing inner branches allows light to enter the tree and promotes air circulation.
Remove branches that grow inward to provide as much light as possible inside. Also remove intersecting branches.
It is necessary to remove suckers or “water shoots”, especially those that arise from the roots or under the graft of the tree. Pruning can be done at any time, but pruning after fruit harvest prevents crop reduction.
Prolonged below-freezing temperatures quickly damage young trees, flowers, and fruit; but mature orange trees are cold hardy down to minus 3 degrees Celsius or less.
During periods of severe frost, trees can be protected by covering them with a tarp or blankets, but should be removed immediately when the weather warms.
The fruits begin to turn orange in the fall, but don’t fully ripen until later in the winter, depending on the variety.
Color is not the best indicator of when to pick fruit, as ripe citrus fruits often have green spots.
It may also be interesting to read: How to grow a lemon tree from cuttings.
Orange trees ripen during the winter and benefit from remaining on the tree until they reach full sweetness. Flavor is the best indicator of ripeness. Fruits left on the tree too long are overripe and dry out. Frost also damages fruit.
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