HARDY ORANGE, TRIFOLIATE ORANGE

FAMILY: Rutaceae | GENUS: PONCIRUS trifoliata

TYPE
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • Deciduous
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Full Sun
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Moderate Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9

Plant Details

Native to China and Korea, this is the hardiest member of the citrus family, tolerating temperatures as low as 20F. It is also a formid- able barrier plant: stout, needle- sharp spines, 12 inches long, arm the length of its glossy green stems. Anyone planning to penetrate a hedge of hardy orange should line up blood donors first.

Dense, low-branched plant reaches 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Takes pruning and shearing into hedges very well; also good as espalier. Used as a dwarfing rootstock for many types of citrus. Glossy, dark green, 2 inches-long leaves are composed of three oblong leaflets; foliage turns yellow or yellow-green in autumn. Fragrant, 1- to 2 inches-wide white blossoms appear in spring. Sticky, aromatic (but inedible) fruit follows the flowers; it is green at first, ripening to yellowish orange in fall. Seeds from fallen fruit sprout prolifically. Easy to grow in just about any well-drained soil. 'Flying Dragon', to about one-third the size of the species, is a rather bizarre dwarf selection with twisted branches and curving, clawlike thorns.

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