25 Citrus Trees: Planting, Growing Zones for Fast Growing, Backyard Citrus Trees

Woman wonders about growing citrus trees (indoor citrus tree) dwarf citrus trees, fertilizer for citrus trees, when to fertilize citrus, orange, lime, lemon trees.

Have you ever considered cultivating, maintaining, and growing your own citrus trees?

Growing your own citrus trees is not particularly hard to do, and can become a manageable maintenance task whether you are a seasoned or novice backyard gardener.

The price of oranges, lemons, and many other citrus-based products are always volatile and fluctuating. The state of Florida, recently eclipsed by California as the main producer of oranges in the United States, is routinely plagued by hurricanes, cold, crop diseases, and pests.2

These problems, along with worsening inflation, are causing the price of oranges and orange juice to skyrocket.

This guide explains how you can grow your own citrus trees and help reduce emissions by planting an orchard (or even one or two indoor dwarf citrus trees) to harvest the delicious and nutritious fruits.

Grow Your Own Citrus Trees

You can grow your own citrus trees to save money, grow a variety of fruits, and improve the landscape aesthetics of your property. And you don’t have to limit yourself to growing oranges.

Citrus is an ancient species of fruit and there are technically thousands of types of citrus fruit varieties that you can grow when you count specialty cultivars.

You could grow several species of oranges, like blood oranges, Mandarin, or navel oranges, kumquats, limes, lemons, tangerines, or grapefruits.

Graphic with texts and images that shows the different types of citrus trees such as mandarin orange, trifoliate orange, panderosa lemon, bitter orange, kumquat, citron, grapefruit, and tachibana orange.

In this comprehensive guide about planting and growing trees, you will learn about 25 species of citrus trees that you can plant and grow outdoors or indoors. Any experienced or novice gardener can grow their own citrus trees.

Still, there are several growing considerations that you must always remember when growing citrus trees. Citrus trees are not cold-hardy, but you could grow them in a pot indoors until the weather warms up.

You should also plant citrus trees in the appropriate soil conditions, near plenty of sunlight, and learn how to fertilize them properly. You’re probably better off buying a citrus tree from authorized tree nurseries to plant instead of trying to plant from seed.

Every citrus fruit in existence is a Frankenstein-like hybrid of spliced-together fruit species. Even the citrus trees you buy from a nursery are actually two different plant species grafted together to optimize citrus fruit harvest potential.

Don’t worry, you are going to learn everything you need to learn in this comprehensive guide. To start, here is what you first need to know about the basics of citrus fruit and the vast species varieties of citrus, how to plant citrus trees indoors or outdoors, a directory of 25 citrus tree species, and more information about citrus fruits.

Planting Tips for Citrus Trees

Once your citrus tree arrives, it will be highly stressed from the packing and transportation experience. You may even notice that it has dropped some leaves during transit.

If you can wait a day or two, you could set the tree in a semi-shaded portion of your garden that is still exposed to full sunlight during the day. A slight delay in transplanting could give your new citrus tree time to de-stress.

Water your citrus tree so that the soil is always damp but never soaked.

Don’t plant your citrus tree near other trees or plants, property boundaries with neighbors, buildings, sidewalks, concrete structures, or underground pipes.

The spot where you plan to plant your tree should have been prepped weeks or months beforehand. Citrus tree species prefer loamy, sandy soil that is well-draining to grow properly, but you need to ensure that the soil you plant in is well-draining.

Citrus tree species need a lot of elbow room to grow, especially when you consider that they start out as delicate Frankenstein-like hybrid grafts of differing scion and rootstock species. Make absolutely sure that the soil area plot you choose is free of weed infestation too.

Take time to strategically choose the best transplantation site before making a choice. The soil should be well-fertilized before you plant your citrus tree.

Citrus trees need a lot of fertilizer nourishment during transplantation and as they grow to grow optimally. So, make sure that the soil is well-mixed with fertilizer before you plant your tree. (More on that later)

The transplantation hole should be a foot wider than the diameter of the root ball of the tree and just as deep as the length of the root ball. Just make sure not to bury the root ball too deep.

Carefully remove the base of the plant so as to not remove the soil adhering to the root ball; get help to transplant the root ball to its new home if possible. Make sure that the tree is standing level as you plant it.

Tamp down the soil gently as you plant the tree; you can also use your foot if needed. Don’t put more than an inch of soil over the top of the root ball at the base.

Best Growing Conditions for Citrus Trees

As long as you plant your citrus trees when it isn’t cold or in frosty soil, they should grow despite your best and worst intentions.

Still, here are more additional tips on how to optimally grow your citrus tree under the best growing conditions.

Citrus trees manifest as small to medium-height trees or shrubs with evergreen leaves, spiny and spiky shoots, and alternately presenting evergreen leaves. Citrus tree flowers are usually white-colored and have a strongly pungent citrus scent.

Citrus fruit rind is called a pericarp and features two major layers; the first rind layer, the exocarp is an oily, outermost layer called the zest, and the middle, spongy layer is called the pith or albedo. Citrus fruit, the endocarp, is located under these two layers and is comprised of juices contained in segmented, pulpy fruit.

When To Plant Citrus for the Best Yield

As previously mentioned, the springtime months are the best time of the year to plant various citrus tree species depending on where you you live.6

You can also optimally plant citrus trees during the autumn months if you experience mild winters and the ambient ground temperatures never dip below 40 degrees.

How Long It Takes To Grow Citrus Trees

It can take anywhere between three to six years for most citrus tree saplings to grow mature enough to begin fruiting.

Most of the citrus tree saplings that you can buy from a nursery are probably going to be anywhere between 12 months to 24 months old.

So, you might have to wait several months to a year or more before you begin enjoying the fruits of your labor. Depending on the species, you could end up waiting as much as 15 months before your citrus tree begins to bear fruit.

Citrus Tree Growth Rate

The citrus tree is notorious for growing slowly, steadily, and meticulously based on the care you provide to it. As previously mentioned, a traditional citrus tree can grow anywhere between 15 to about 50 feet optimally and it can take about 10 to 15 years for a citrus tree to reach its optimal height.

A citrus tree can grow about six inches to a foot per year depending on the species.

Growing Zones for Citrus Plant (Where To Grow)

Citrus trees grow optimally within a temperature range between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So, your best option is to try to grow your citrus trees or plants within USDA Hardiness Zones 8,9,10, and 11.10

Can Any Citrus Species Be Grown Outside the Optimal Citrus Tree Growing Zone?

Some citrus tree species like tangors, yuzu, and tangerines can be grown in freezing weather, but it fruit won’t grow optimally.5

You can even grow the trifoliate orange species in sub-zero-degree weather conditions, but its fruit becomes inedible and must be cooked before being eaten.5

Citrus Tree


Photo of Citrus Tree in an oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Leaf: Citrus leaves are tear-shaped or feather-shaped, medium to dark-green-hued with a glossy sheen, and sometimes have serrated edges.
  • Bark: The bark of citrus trees can be a dull whitish-grey color, grey, brown, or dark brown.
  • Seed: Citrus seeds can be thick or thin in the center, oval-shaped, and white or grey-ish in color.
  • Blossoms: The flowers of citrus trees usually blossom for up to four weeks during the spring months and usually during the month of March relative to the species of the fruit. While some citrus species can flower throughout the year, this ability is mitigated by the fact that citrus tree species are not cold-hardy and highly susceptible to disease and pest invasion.
  • Fruit: While there are about 60 species of citrus fruit, thousands more are available as hybridized cultivars.
  • Nativa Habitat: South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.
  • Height: Citrus trees can grow anywhere between a height of a few feet to almost 50 feet tall.
  • Canopy: Some citrus trees can have a canopy of up to 14 feet in diameter, however, these estimates vary according to species.
  • Height: Citrus trees can grow anywhere between a height of a few feet to almost 50 feet tall.
  • Type: Citrus trees and their various cultivar species are usually evergreen.
  • Native Growing Zone: Citrus trees grow optimally in USDA Hardiness Zones 8,9,10, and 11.

The Economics of Citrus Trees

The state of Florida will produce over 70 percent less orange crops in 2023 compared to the 2020-2021 harvest season.1 The American orange crop harvest season will be the lowest one in over 80 years.1

Additionally, the price for one gallon of orange juice has surged by over 33 percent since October 2019.2 One gallon of orange juice cost over $9.18 in early October 2023.2

Most of the orange juice that you consume this year probably originated in Mexico or Brazil. Some economic experts speculate that over four out of every five cups of orange juice that you drank recently, probably came from Brazilian oranges.3

Another major factor attributable to the high cost of orange juice, along with hurricanes and inflation, is the greening disease plaguing Florida crops.2 Financial experts think that orange prices in the United States will surge and fluctuate for the foreseeable future.3

Citrus Plant Basics

You are much better off growing citrus trees bought from specialized nurseries than trying to grow them from seed. Trying to grow a lime tree or a lemon tree from seed, or any other citrus species for example, is technically possible but is also extremely difficult to do due to the evolutionary nature of citrus fruits.7

You can definitely grow citrus from seed if you know what you are doing, but it can take almost a decade to accomplish.11 Additionally, the fruit you grow probably won’t be of optimal volume, size, or weight relative to what you can grow from commercially sold citrus trees sold from a nursery.

Citrus fruits grown from seed don’t develop root systems optimally or effectively on their own. The origins of the citrus tree and citrus fruit are enigmatic and lost to history.

Citrus fruit has been selectively hybridized and genetically altered by human beings for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. Due to this fact, a citrus tree has to be specially grown as cultivars or cuttings and then strategically grafted to the rootstock of other plant species to grow optimally.12 (More on that in a moment)

The citrus tree and its fruit are a Frankenstein mix of hybridized fruit and endless combinations of selective breeding experiments going back millions of years. No one definitively knows where citrus trees came from, only that the fruit you take for granted today has always been hybridized.

The citrus tree species is probably over 15 million years old, but scientists are not exactly sure which prime evolutionary ancestor fruit it came from.5 Citrus fruit is technically a hesperidium, which is a modified variant of a berry but still not technically a berry.13

In other words, ancient proto-humans were experimenting with citrus hybrids long before beings recorded their own history, so the origins of the fruit are probably lost forever. Scientists surmise that the citron, mandarin orange, and pomelo are probably fundamental or prime species species of the fruit while every other example in the species is hybrid.5

Citrus fruits as they are known today were spread through Asia to the Mediterranean and Europe and finally Florida via Spanish colonists.5 The citrus tree is truly a Frankenstein monster that requires exacting conditions and specialized instructions that must be followed to grow it optimally.

Besides one or two cultivars, all citrus tree species are not cold-hardy, struggle to grow efficiently from seed, and need to be spliced with separate root systems to even grow into trees. Professional and commercial nurseries will grow a separate plant as a root system, known as a rootstock, strategically cut into it, and then graft a citrus cutting or cultivar onto that rootstock to get it to grow as one tree.12,14

The citrus tree graft that grows above the soil is known as the “scion” while the rootstock stays under the surface. So, while you will learn how to grow a citrus tree from seed in this comprehensive guide, it is recommended that you just buy a citrus sapling or young tree instead.

Unless you are an experienced home gardener with a green thumb, an arborist, or a botany scientist, it could take you months or years to grow a barely viable citrus tree from a seed due to the effort it takes. Before diving into a comprehensive list of 25 distinct species of citrus trees, here is some basic data on identifying and growing them outdoors or even indoors in pots.

How To Identify Citrus Trees

As previously mentioned, the citrus fruit is technically classified as a hesperidium, which is a type of ultra-modified species of berry.

Graphic with text and images that shows how to identify citrus trees using its flower, leaves, fruit, and seeds.

While the details of the types of ancient berries that were used to experiment with citrus have been lost to time, most people know what a citrus tree or fruit looks like when they see it.

Citrus Leaves

The leaf aesthetics of various citrus trees are basically the same from species to species. The is usually shaped like a widened teardrop or may be more slender in length and look almost like a feather.

Citrus leaves are colored medium to dark green and the evergreen color usually has a deep glossy sheen to it.

Citrus Flower

Citrus tree flowers can grow as a solitary four or five-petal flower or in small cluster groups called corymbs.5 A citrus flower can be just under an inch in length or about an inch and a half in length depending on the species.5

Citrus flower petals have an intense citrus scent just like the fruit too.

Citrus Seeds

The seeds of citrus fruits have a thickened withe or grey-colored outer layer. Some citrus seeds can be oval-shaped in length and circular at their widest width while others are flatter and thinner.

Citrus Tree Care

When you buy a citrus tree from a nursery, it will usually be packaged or wrapped in a wooden box, pot, or a breathable burlap sack. Your citrus tree will be in shock after being wrapped up and shipped to you to be transplanted in a new environment.

So, it is vital to follow some basic tips to ensure successful transplantation onto your property. You will also learn some basic citrus tree care tips if you want to grow a small citrus plant or bush indoors as well.

Indoor Citrus Tree

The main difference between growing a citrus tree indoors rather than outdoors is that you should probably use specific dwarf citrus tree species, like Bearss Lime, Meyer Lemon, Trovita Orange, Kumquat, and other such species than a traditional species. Dwarf citrus trees and shrub species are smaller in dimension and easier to handle indoors than traditional-sized trees.

Taking care of an indoor citrus tree basically requires the same preparation just on the scale of a potted plant. Keep your indoor citrus tree away from very cold breezes.

Graphic with texts and images that shows types of citrus trees such as meyer lemon, calamansi, persian lime, key lime, kiyomi, pomelo, australian finger lime, and buddha's hand.

The temperature range of where its place should stay in the range of 60 degrees to 86 degrees. You could grow your citrus tree indoors in pots or just grow it indoors temporarily during the winter and colder months and then transplant it outside as the weather warms.

Your indoor plant should always be in an area where it is exposed to anywhere between 8 to 12 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Do You Really Need Fertilizer for Citrus Trees To Grow Optimally?

Your citrus tree needs all the energy and nutrients possible to help its grafted rootstock grow optimally underground and for the scion to bear as much fruit as possible. Incorporate the fertilizer in the soil area right underneath and within the diameter of the canopy but at least a foot from the trunk base.8

Never allow fertilizer to touch the trunk. A bucket of fertilizer is probably enough to apply to each tree.

You can use garden compost, bonemeal, peat moss, rock phosphate, or animal manure as fertilizer. Make sure to store away and let animal manure rot for four to six months at least before you use it to allow dangerous bacteria and pathogens to die off.

When To Fertilize Citrus Trees

You should fertilize the soil days or weeks before planting the tree and then at least once per season as it grows. You could even adjust your fertilizing schedule and fertilize your citrus trees five times a year.

The more that you fertilize your citrus tree, the more likely you will harvest plentiful fruit.

Watering Needs for Citrus Plants

You can water your citrus tree twice a week or every three or four days.

You can also deep water your tree once a week and check it every other day to make sure that the soil stays moist.

Graphics that shows the watering needs for citrus plants.

The soil under your tree should always be moist but never soaking wet. You can also stick your finger into the soil to the second knuckle to make sure the soil is consistently moist.

If your finger hits layers of dryness, then add more water. Remember, overwatering your tree will cause root rot.

Underwatering it will cause stress, stunted growth, smaller and bad-tasting fruit, and even death.

How Far Apart To Plant Citrus Trees

Citrus species require as much water and fertilizer dedicated to themselves as possible to grow larger and good-tasting fruit. If you crowd your citrus tree and force it to share resources with nearby plants and trees, then you’re only limiting its future growth potential.

Traditional-sized citrus tree species should be spaced out at least 12 to a maximum of 25 feet apart. Dwarf citrus tree species should be spaced out about 6 to 11 feet apart.

How Much Sunlight Does Citrus Trees Need Each Day

Citrus trees need at least eight hours of direct sunlight exposure daily. Citrus trees need sunlight exposure, water, and ample fertilizer to Grow optimally.

When To Prune Citrus Trees

You should not prune your citrus trees unless absolutely necessary.9 Citrus tree species need every available branch and leaf possible to grow optimally and bear fruit.

How To Prune Citrus Trees

Prune or cut away diseased or dying branches or leaves as you notice them. Otherwise, you should refrain from pruning your citrus if only for aesthetic purposes.

25 Types of Citrus Trees

Technically speaking, there are about 60 species of citrus and thousands of cultivar variants. The type of citrus tree and want to grow depends on your preferences.

Graphic with texts and images that shows the types of citrus trees such as clementine, blood orange, yuzu, lemon, kaffir lime, hassaku orange, tangelo, and oroblanco.

Here are 25 species of citrus trees that you can grow indoors or outdoors.

A Word on Citrus Tree, Orange Tree, and Dwarf Citrus Trees

A citrus tree is an umbrella term that can refer to thousands of species and cultivars of citrus fruit, not just one kind. There are numerous species of “orange” fruit that you buy in a supermarket, like navel or mandarin oranges.

A dwarf citrus tree is really a plant that is suitable for indoor growing, like a lemon, lime, or kumquat, depending on the species. Semi-dwarf citrus trees are shrubs and small trees.

Traditional citrus trees are citrus trees that grow to the height of regular trees. If you see these terms mentioned in this list, you don’t have to worry about it that much.

All of the trees listed on this list are citrus.4 Any dwarf or semi-dwarf citrus tree grown indoors can be potentially transplanted outside.

Also, keep in mind that almost all citrus fruits are green as they grow and mature before they turn yellow, golden, or even red in some cases. Some citrus fruits, like the lime or calamansi, remain green-colored as they mature and ripen.

1. Meyer Lemon (Citrus × Meyeri)

The Meyer lemon is actually a hybrid cross between a citron, a fundamental orange fruit species, and a hybrid of a pomelo and mandarin orange.15 This citrus fruit is technically not a lemon and its fruit is actually sweet.

Meyer lemons are used for cooking and as ingredients in cleaning products. Many gardeners grow Meyer lemons for ornamental purposes because of the beautiful flowers that they bloom.

This is a dwarf citrus fruit species.

Photo of Calamansi in a basket.

(Image: michaelcuanico45)

2. Calamansi (Citrus × Microcarpa)

A calamansi is an economically vital and national fruit of the Philippines.16 You can call it a Philippine lime since it is a dwarf citrus fruit that resembles a tiny lime.

It is very sour and is added to various sauces, and drinks, and used as a marinade in cooking. In the United States, this fruit might be known as a calamondin.

3. Bearss Lime A.K.A Persian Lime (Citrus × Latifolia)

The Bearss Lime is a cultivar of the Persian Lime.17 It turns yellow as it ripens but it is always sold when it is green-colored.

Close up image of the fruit of Bearss.

(Image: Forest and Kim Starr46)

Bearss Lime is less acidic than traditional limes, less bitter, and is seedless. Its branches are also thornless as they grow.

4. Key Lime (Citrus × Aurantiifolia)

Key Lime citrus fruit is also known as Acid Lime and is a vital ingredient in the preparation of Key Lime Pie.18 Even though Key Lime is harvested when it is green-colored, it turns yellow as the fruit ripens on the tree.

5. Kiyomi (Citrus Unshiu × Sinensis)

The Kiyomi is a Japanese citrus hybrid that was named after a temple near the city, of Shizuoka, where it was created in 1949.19 This citrus fruit is extremely sweet, is less acidic than traditional oranges, and is seedless.

Photo of the fruits and leaves of Kiyomi.

(Image: Imuzak48)

Photo of Pomelo cut in half showing its inside.

(Image: Mariya Prokopyuk49)

6. Pomelo (Citrus Maxima)

A pomelo is a non-hybridized citrus fruit that is native to Southeast Asia.20 The pomelo is the ancient ancestor of the grapefruit; the only way to create a grapefruit is to cross a pomelo with an orange.

A pomelo looks like a grapefruit with the exaggerated aesthetics of a large pear and has a relatively sweeter-tasting pulp than a grapefruit.

7. Australian Finger Lime (Citrus Australasica)

Australian Finger Lime, also known as Red Finger Lime is a red, green, and deep-green colored dwarf citrus lime with the aesthetic shape of a banana or jalapeno pepper.21 It derives its name because of its small size, an elongated lime the size of a small pinky finger.

The fruit is a little more bitter than traditional lime and has herb-like flavor accents as well.

8. Buddha’s Hand (Citrus Medica Var. Sarcodactylis)

The Buddha’s Hand is an odd citrus fruit with eccentric aesthetics that is native to Asia.22 This citrus fruit has no pulp or juice and aesthetically resembles the weathered, curled hands of an older person.

At some angles, the Buddha’s Hand even resembles the shuttlecock used in badminton games, a misshapen carrot, or warped bell pepper. The rind of the Buddha’s Hand can be candied and used as an ingredient in recipes and drinks.

9. Mandarin Orange (Citrus Reticulata)

The Mandarin Orange is a dwarf citrus fruit that is oblate in shape and very sweet tasting.23 Many experts believe that the Mandarin Orange is one of the original and non-hybridized citrus fruit species that was later hybridized with other fruits to create other species of citrus fruit.

Close up photo of Mandarin Orange.

(Image: Siew Yi Liang52)

Photo of the fruits of Trifoliate Orange still on its tree.

(Image: Melissa McMasters53)

10. Trifoliate Orange (Citrus Trifoliata)

Trifoliate oranges are extremely cold-hardy but have unpalatable and inedible pulp that must be cooked to be eaten.24 The pulp of trifoliate oranges can be used in marmalades.

11. Ginger Lime (Citrus Assamensis)

Ginger Lime is a rather sour lime fruit that is native to Bangladesh.25 Its juice has an aroma that is very reminiscent of eucalyptus and ginger too.

Photo of the Bitter Orange tree.

(Image: Tony Hisgett55)

12. Bitter Orange (Citrus × Aurantium)

The Bitter Orange is also known as the Seville Orange and Sour Orange.26 While its fruit is inedible, it can be used as a flavoring agent in cooking, marmalades, compotes, and to make essential oils.

13. Kumquat (Citrus Japonica)

The kumquat is an umbrella term for multiple, thornless dwarf citrus tree species.27 Some kumquat fruit species can be as small as an olive and up to two inches long.

Photo of Kumquat fruits on a plate.

(Image: Miss Meister56)

May kumquat species are a little sour, tart, and sweet and can be eaten whole, including the rind.

Photo of Citron cut in half.

(Image: Frédérique Voisin-Demery57)

14. Citron (Citrus Medica)

The citron was the original name for “citrus” from which the modern name for the fruit is derived.28 The citron is probably one of the true, ancient, and unadulterated citrus fruits from which all hybridized citrus fruits are derived from.

The rind of the citron is leathery, wide, and has minimal pulp. The pulp can be used in candies, syrups, and cooking.

15. Grapefruit (Citrus × Aurantium F. Aurantium)

The grapefruit was probably an accidental hybridization of a sweet citrus orange fruit and the pomelo sometime in the 18th century.29

Photo of Grapefruit cut in half served on a plate.

(Image: Aubree Flink58)

Keep in mind that grapefruit pulp, while nutritious, is known to cause adverse reactions in combination with certain medications.29

16. Tachibana Orange (Citrus × Tachibana)

The Tachibana Orange is a cultivar and subspecies of the Mandarin Orange.30 While the Tachibana Orange aesthetically resembles the Mandarin Orange, it has a slightly bitter flavor accent.

Scientists have theorized that the Tachibana Orange is probably related to an unadulterated citrus ancestor from 2 million years ago.30

17. Ponderosa Lemon (Citrus × Pyriformis)

The Ponderosa Lemon is not really a lemon at all; it is a hybrid of the pomelo and citron.31 It aesthetically resembles a larger-sized citron but has the flavor profile of a lemon.

Close up photo of the Ponderosa Lemon fruit while hanging from a branch of its tree.

(Image: F Delventhal60)

One Ponderosa Lemon tree can yield up to five pounds of bountiful fruit. You can leave Ponderosa Lemons on the tree for months without the fruit losing its lemon-like flavor or potency.

You can stop buying lemons and use the Ponderosa Lemon as an alternative and never run out of a need for lemon flavor again.

Photo of Clementine fruit.

(Image: Sarah J.61)

18. Clementine (Citrus × Clementina)

The clementine is a dwarf citrus fruit that is a hybrid of a mandarin orange cultivar and a sweet orange.32 Clementines are smaller, oblate-shaped versions of the orange that are sweeter in taste, less acidic, and with an easier-to-peel rind that separates from the pulp with ease.

19. Blood Orange (Citrus × Sinensis)

The Blood Orange is a hybrid citrus fruit that is probably also a mutation of the traditional orange.33 Its rind is relatively tougher than an orange, its pulp is a vibrant red color, and the flavor is a mix of orange with raspberry flavor accents.

Blood oranges are sometimes called Raspberry oranges.

Photo of several Blood Orange fruits cut in half.

(Image: Dilip D51)

Photo of Yuzu fruits still hanging from its branch.

(Image: Edsel Little50)

20. Yuzu (Citrus × Junos)

The Yuzu citrus fruit is a national fruit of Japan and is used in many aspects of the country’s cuisine and cooking culture.34 Yuzu pulp is not eaten, but its zest, pulp, and juice are used in a myriad of cooking products and as a flavoring agent in vinegar, marinades, juices, and other products.

21. Lemon (Citrus × Limon)

The traditional lemon is an ancient citrus fruit that probably originated in either ancient Myanmar, India, or China.35 The lemon is very high in citric acid, which gives it its bitter and sour taste.

You can use the zest, pulp, and juice of a lemon in many culinary endeavors.

Photo of Lemon fruit.

(Image: Mike Mozart47)

22. Kaffir Lime (Citrus Hystrix)

The Kaffir Lime aesthetically resembles a wrinkled and puffy traditional lime.36 Its rind, pulp, and juices are popular for use as flavor agents in cooking in Southeast Asia, especially in countries like Cambodia and Thailand.

23. Hassaku Orange (Citrus × Hassaku)

The Hassaku Orange is a Japanese citrus orange variant that is as big as a grapefruit but maintains the sweetness of an orange along with extra tartness.37 Large swathes of Hassaku Orange harvest crops have been destroyed within the last 15 years due to disease.

Close up photo of a prepared Hassaku Orange for consumption.

(Image: Toshiyuki IMAI44)

Photo of Tangelo fruit.

(Image: Forest and Kim Starr59)

24. Tangelo (Citrus x Tangelo)

The Tangelo is a citrus hybrid that is very tangy and sweet in taste, juicy, and easy to peel its rind from the pulp.38 It is a hybrid of several citrus fruits like pomelo, Mandarin Orange, tangerine, and possibly grapefruit.

The Tangelo is aesthetically recognizable due to the knob-like protrusion that grows at the top of the fruit.

25. Oroblanco (Citrus Maxima x Citrus Paradisi)

The Oroblaco, or White Gold citrus, is an exotic cultivar hybrid of the pomelo and grapefruit variant species.39 The Oroblanco is seedless, less bitter, and relatively sweeter than a traditional grapefruit.

Photo of a cut Oroblanco fruit.

(Image: Marco Verch, Professional Photographer54)

Its rind is easy to peel but is thicker than a grapefruit rind too. The creation of the Oroblanco was patented by scientists at the University of California in 1981.

Citrus Tree Facts

Over 76 million metric tons of oranges were produced in the world in 2021. However, Brazil is number one in the world when it comes to producing citrus fruits; The United States comes in at number five.5

Ancient humans considered the citron to be the prime example of a citrus fruit. Today, most people might mention oranges, lemons, or lime if you ask them for examples of citrus fruit.

The citrus tree is a plant that does not benefit at all from pruning.

Citrus Tree Symbolism

As citrus fruits like oranges made their way to the New World in the 17th century, their presence impacted European culture significantly. Orangeries are greenhouse-like structures that were built and dedicated to growing and protecting citrus trees during cold winters in Europe from the 17th through 19th centuries.40

George Washington built an orangery during his presidency.5 During the Renaissance, a typical garden might have a citrus tree growing out of a tub as a makeshift growing medium.5

Companion Plants For Growing Citrus

Remember to keep any companion plants at least 15 feet or more away from your citrus trees. Plant some legumes near your citrus trees; legumes are naturally nitrogen-fixing and will make the soil richer.

Blueberries need the same growing requirements as a citrus tree, so you can grow them to maximize your fruit bounty at harvest time. Plant parsley, dill, lemon balm, marigolds, or petunias nearby as natural pest repellants to protect your citrus trees.

Growing a Citrus Tree From a Seed

As previously mentioned, it is not recommended that you try growing citrus from seed. Almost all citrus tree species sold from nurseries are created by grafting a citrus tree cutting or sapling to rootstock to optimize growing potential.

You could try growing from seed in a pot, but you may not be successful. It could take you months to grow an undersized plant or tree with non-viable fruit if you’re lucky.

It’s more likely that it could take you anywhere from a few years up to 15 years to grow a full citrus tree from a seed.

Growing a Citrus Tree From a Cutting

Unless you understand how to graft a citrus tree cutting, or a scion, to a rootstock, you are better off buying a citrus tree from a professional nursery. A citrus tree cutting must be strategically grafted to a rootstock to grow optimally.

Growing a Citrus Tree From a Seedling

You will encounter the same problems trying to grow a citrus seedling on your own as you would with a cutting. If you are determined to try, enlist the help of an arborist or citrus tree expert before proceeding.

Common Pests of the Citrus Trees

Whiteflies, aphids, California Red scale, Asian Citrus Psyllid, leafminers, moths, and butterflies are some of the common pests of the citrus tree.5 Citrus tree species emit powerful aromas and secrete oils that naturally attract such pests.

Natural Pest Control for Citrus Trees

You’re committed for the long run when you plant a citrus tree, so you might as well hire and consult with an arborist to preemptively assess whether your citrus tree is in danger of pest infestation now or in the future. As previously mentioned, you can plant dill, petunias, marigolds, lemon balm, and parsley as a natural pest repellent to protect your citrus tree.

How To Stop Citrus Trees’ Disease

Citrus tree species are ancient plants that have had millions of years to get used to diseases and blights that have eradicated other species of plant. Still, citrus is susceptible to plant diseases like Citrus Canker and Citrus tristeza virus.

Citrus canker causes unsightly lesions and blemishes to appear on the fruit and leaves of citrus trees.41 CTV is a communicable virus transmitted from pests to citrus trees that can potentially kill the tree.42

Citrus Tree Disease Prevention

Remember not to overwater your citrus trees which can cause rot. Have an arborist check out your tree relative to its species to assess which kinds of diseases it is naturally vulnerable to contracting.

You can then try to develop disease prevention strategies to protect it. It may even be a better idea to consult with an arborist about disease prevention strategies and to choose species least susceptible to disease before you plant the tree.

How Long Can You Keep Citrus Fruit on the Tree?

Citrus fruits are known as non-climacteric fruits.43 This means that once you remove citrus fruit from a tree, it stops ripening.

As long as you don’t notice any discoloration, bruising, or tell-tale aesthetic signs of disease then you can keep your citrus fruit on the tree and branches for weeks or months until you pick them. Most citrus fruits are green as they mature and only change into a brighter yellow or orange color when they ripen.

The only way to see how ripe a citrus fruit is becoming is via regular taste tests. A citrus tree is an ancient, Frankenstein-like hybrid of other fruits and the literal grafting of a citrus tree onto a rootstock designed to optimize its growth potential.

Unless you buy a citrus plant, you are better off buying citrus trees from a nursery than trying to grow one from seed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Citrus Trees

Is the Pineapple a Citrus Fruit?

The pineapple is a circular cluster of berries that are fused to a central stalk. It is not a citrus fruit.

Do Citrus Trees Need Pollinators?

The Citrus tree is self-fertile and does not need the aid of pollinators in nature. You can plant one citrus tree by itself and it will begin bearing fruit within 12 to 15 months without birds, bees, or insects cross-pollinating pollen from other plants.

What Are the Minimum Temperature Limits for Planting Citrus Trees Outside?

Almost all citrus species struggle to grow in cold and freezing weather. Don’t plant citrus outside if the ambient weather is less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, additionally, tend to the plant indoors and then plant it outside when the weather warms up.

What Citrus Trees Need the Warmest Conditions To Grow Optimally?

Lemon and lime trees never do well in cold weather and are probably the citrus species that need the weather to be as warm as possible to grow optimally. You should also consider planting any species variant of orange if your local weather is warm.

Read More About Citrus Trees


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44Thick-skinned grapefruit-like fruit. Photo by Toshiyuki IMAI. CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/matsuyuki/49298613871/>

45Calamansi. Photo by michaelcuanico. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelcuanico/10284848096/>

46starr-130504-4386-Citrus_latifolia-Tahitian_lime_fruit-Hawea_Pl_Olinda-Maui. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/24842928159/>

47Lemons. Photo by Mike Mozart. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/14948093680/>

48Citrus unshiu × C. sinensis’s tree Photo by Imuzak. Public Domain. Cropped and Resized. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Citrus_unshiu_%C3%97_C._sinensis%27s_tree.JPG>

49Pomelo. Photo by Mariya Prokopyuk. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/mariyaprokopyuk/12841532503/>

50Oberlin Fall – Yuzu. Photo by Edsel Little. CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/edsel_/4086589201/>

51Blood Oranges. Photo by Dilip D. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/leodnardo/16122904918/>

52Mandarin Oranges. Photo by Siew Yi Liang. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/sonictk/395044483/>

53Trifoliate Orange. Photo by Melissa McMasters. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/cricketsblog/19495535432/>

54Close up half Citrus Sweetie (Oroblanco ) on white background. Photo by Marco Verch, Professional Photographer. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/49236041961/>

55Seville Bitter Oranges. Photo by Tony Hisgett. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/hisgett/29287732068/>

56Kumquats 1. Photo by Miss Meister. CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/miss_meister/2458306925/>

57Citron. Photo by Frédérique Voisin-Demery. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/vialbost/9140288189/>

58Grapefruit. Photo by Aubree Flink. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/126121680@N04/14689938473/>

59starr-090224-3523-Citrus_x_tangelo-fruit-Laulima_Farms_Cafe_Kipahulu-Maui. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/24577324009/>

60Citrus Limon cv. Ponderosa. Photo by F Delventhal. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/krossbow/52120765575/>

61Clementines. Photo by Sarah J. CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. Cropped and Resized. Flickr. Retrieved January 15, 2024 from <https://flickr.com/photos/princessindisguise/4261239644/>

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