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Calamondin, a delightful cross between a mandarin orange and a kumquat, is not just a plant; it’s a journey into the world of gardening that resonates with the ethos of simplicity and sustainability. This small, bushy evergreen, with its enchanting orange-scented blossoms and tangy fruits, is more than just a decorative piece; it’s a statement of lifestyle, a nod to urban gardening, and a step towards self-reliance.

How to grow Calamondin

To grow Calamondin, plant in well-drained soil with full sunlight. Water moderately, allowing the soil to partially dry. Maintain warmth and humidity, especially indoors. In the UK climate, cultivate Calamondin for its small, tangy citrus fruits, adding a delightful touch to your indoor space with minimal care.

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Calamondin Basics: A Citrus Gem

Calamondin citrus trees, known for their resilience to cold (hardy to 20 degrees F), are a charming blend of mandarin orange and kumquat. Originating from China and introduced to the U.S. around 1900, these trees have found a special place in both ornamental and practical gardening.

Calamondin Basics: A Citrus Gem
Characteristics of Calamondin:

  • Height: Grows 10-20 feet high, usually shorter.
  • Fruit: Small, orange, 1 inch in diameter, seedless, and acidic.
  • Blossoms: Orange-scented, leading to fruiting.
  • Hardiness: USDA zones 8-11, one of the hardiest citrus varieties.

Selecting the Right Environment

Calamondin is adaptable but prefers certain conditions to thrive. Whether you’re planning to grow it indoors or in your backyard, understanding these requirements is key.

Climate and Location

  • Ideal Temperature: Thrives in 70-90 degrees F.
  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun but can tolerate shade.
  • Outdoor vs. Indoor: Suitable for both, with care adjustments.

Soil and Potting

  • Soil Type: Well-draining, fertile soil.
  • Potting: Suitable for container gardening, especially in colder regions.

Planting and Propagation

Starting your calamondin plant can be an exciting venture. You have a couple of options: growing from seeds or using cuttings.

From Seeds

  • Preparation: Choose healthy seeds from ripe calamondin fruits.
  • Planting: Sow in well-draining soil and keep moist.

Using Cuttings

  • Time: Late spring to early summer is ideal.
  • Method: Choose new stems, not yet flowered, and pot them in a suitable medium.

Initial Care and Growth Stages

The early days of your calamondin plant are crucial. Here’s how to ensure a healthy start:


  • Frequency: Allow the soil to dry to a depth of 1 inch before watering.
  • Method: Deep, infrequent watering is better than frequent, shallow watering.


  • Winter Care: Use half-strength, water-soluble fertilizer every five weeks.
  • Spring and Summer: Apply a slow-release fertilizer in early spring, then switch to full-strength, water-soluble fertilizer monthly.

Sunlight and Temperature

  • Sunlight: Ensure it gets enough sunlight, especially if grown indoors.
  • Temperature: Protect from temperatures below 55 degrees F.

Pruning and Training

Pruning and Training

  • Pruning: Remove dead or overcrowded branches to encourage growth.
  • Training: For indoor plants, rotate for even growth and exposure to light.

Tables of Facts: Calamondin at a Glance

Aspect Detail
Origin China, introduced to the U.S. around 1900
Fruit Type Small, orange, acidic, similar to tangerines
Use Ornamental, culinary (marmalades, drinks)
Propagation Seeds, cuttings, grafting
Watering Deep, infrequent, allow soil to dry slightly
Fertilizing Half-strength in winter, full-strength in growing season

Advanced Care and Maintenance

As your calamondin tree matures, it requires more specific care to ensure healthy growth and abundant fruiting.

Pruning and Managing Growth

Regular pruning not only maintains the shape of your calamondin tree but also encourages healthier fruit production.

Pruning Techniques

  • When to Prune: Late winter or early spring, before new growth starts.
  • How to Prune: Remove dead or overcrowded branches, shape the tree.

Pest and Disease Management

Like any plant, calamondin trees can face their share of pests and diseases. Being proactive is key.

Common Pests

  • Mites and Scale: Keep leaves dust-free to prevent infestations.
  • Natural Pest Control: Use organic methods like neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Disease Prevention

  • Regular Inspection: Check for signs of disease like leaf discoloration or spots.
  • Good Hygiene: Remove fallen leaves and debris to prevent fungal growth.

Harvesting and Utilizing Calamondin

Harvesting and Utilizing Calamondin

The joy of growing calamondin culminates in the harvesting of its tangy fruits.

Harvesting Tips

  • When to Harvest: Pick when fruits are fully colored but still firm.
  • Method: Use clippers or scissors to avoid damaging the stem.

Uses of Calamondin

  • Culinary: Perfect for marmalades, drinks, and as a lemon/lime substitute.
  • Decorative: Use as a fresh, aromatic garnish.

Tables of Advanced Care

Aspect Detail
Pruning Time Late winter/early spring
Pest Control Organic methods preferred
Harvesting Period When fruits are fully colored
Culinary Uses Marmalades, drinks, garnishes

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about growing calamondin, answered to help you on your gardening journey.

Yes, calamondin can thrive indoors, provided it gets enough sunlight and is kept at a suitable temperature.

Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid overwatering.

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season, and reduce strength in winter.

Regularly check for pests, keep the leaves clean, and use organic pest control methods.