Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Friday, December 9, 2011

Calamondin Ready for the Holidays


Citrus fruit is a staple in our household. We use them in cooking, decorating, gift giving, beverages, as aromatherapy, and simply eating. A new addition to our palate is Calamondin, a citrus plant originating in China and introduced to the United States as an “acid orange” in the 1900's. Hybrids between citrus subspecies have been cultivated for so long it is sometimes hard to know the species exact origins but it is believed by horticulturists that the Calamondin is a hybrid of lime and either mandarin or kumquat.


We purchased our tree two years ago. We keep it in a pot so that it can easily be moved to the right location. The plant is hardy up to 20 degrees F so it does need to be brought inside over winter and placed in a well lit area. Ours started fruiting just before our first hard frost hit and we brought it indoors and keep it in our potting room in front of a large window.



In the United States Calamondin is grown mostly as an ornamental as it makes a great patio plant but the juice can also be used as you would lemon or lime...in beverages, to flavor fish and meats, teas, cakes, preserves, pies and sauces. It is deliciously tart!




During warm months we place it outside in direct sunlight or half shade. It grows best in temperatures between 70 to 90 degrees F.

 
The tree can produce blooms year-round in the right environment and it can be blooming and have fruit at the same time. The blooms are incredibly fragrant. The fruit is green to start and as it matures it turns orange. The fruit is most abundant from November to June. The bees and butterflies love the nectar and fragrance of the blooms too! 


The fruit also has some medicinal qualities. You can rub the juice on insect bites and it will stop the itching and irritation. The juice can be extracted and saved in ice cube trays covered with a plastic bag for later use. But for this year it looks like we will have ripe fruit for our holiday cheer!
 

9 comments:

  1. I grew this tree for a few years and housed it indoors in winter. One day I came home and they were all over my living room. It seems my Labrador liked them too! The tree was nibbled down to nothing also.

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  2. your tree is so lush and beautiful! i think the scent of citrus (both the flowers and the fruit) is just happy. when my daughter was out of sorts or irritable as a child, we put orange-scented bubble bath in the tub to make her feel better. i'm going to have to look for a calamondin -- sounds like a plant i would love to have.

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  3. I have never seen this tree or maybe I never knew what it was...looks yummy and what a great tradition...

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  4. Mmmm...brings back memories of my aunt and uncle's place in California. They have Lemon trees in the backyard, so when I lived there for several months I could have fresh lemonade whenever I wanted it. So refreshing!

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  5. I've never heard of this fruit, but it sounds wonderful. I would love to grow a citrus tree inside.

    Making worm compost is super easy. I use a worm bin called The Worm Chalet and keep it in an unfinished room in my basement. This keeps it warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I give them kitchen scraps layered between strips of ripped newspaper. Then I spray the newspaper with a spray bottle filled with water til it's moist but not wet. I don't give them banana peels, anything dairy or meat, or anything too acidic such as citrus or onions, although they do like tomatoes. At our house they get a lot of coffee grounds and fruit peels along with veggies. They also love anything starchy like stale cereal or pasta.

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  6. I also give my worms crushed egg shells. The shells help them break down their food, similair to the way grit helps a chicken. The compost is powerful stuff that makes a huge difference in how healthy the garden is. I also take the liquid that collects in the bottom of the bin and either pour it straight into the soil surrounding a struggling plant, or I dilute it into a big watering can. I've also dumped finished compost into my rain barrels and let it sit for a few hours to make compost tea. the initial cost of the worm bin is a worthwhile investment. However, if you're handy you can probably make your own bin. Just make sure the worms can move from layer to layer to find food. Air circulation is key. I bought my worms and bin at the online store Gardeners Supply Co. They can be a bit pricey so it's worth it to shop around. :o) Happy composting!!

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  7. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    I love the vivid orange color. Such a cheerful sort of tree to have in the house. I have never had a Calamondin tree. It must be wonderful to be able to have homegrown oranges during the holidays.

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  8. How nice to have fresh fruit right there through the winter! That is so interesting about the medicinal qualities, as well. I might need one for all the mosquito bites my kids get!

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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