If you’re searching for just the right citrus tree to grow indoors, you have several choices. Far and away the most common is the Meyer Lemon Tree, but there are several lesser known citrus trees that will thrive indoors. One such tree is the calamondin orange, which is not as well known by gardeners but is quite easy to care for and bears prolific crops of fruit.
Calamondin oranges are very well known in southeast Asia, where they thrive as ornamental varieties. Asian cultures have long regarded the calamondin as a useful and versatile fruit and rely on it for many health issues. Malaysian and Philippine cultures routinely use calamondin juice as a hair conditioner and as a cough remedy. Its juice is also commonly used to eliminate the itching and swelling of insect bites.
If you’ve never seen a calmondin orange, you might mistake it for a lemon. About the size of a lemon or lime and roughly similar in shape, a calamondin is yellow-orange in color and is usually over ripened by the time it turns completely orange. However, once you taste the fruit you’ll know it’s an orange. The juice is sweeter than most oranges and can be used as a beverage, marinade, or in recipes.
One of the best attributes of our calamondin plant is its fresh citrusy fragrance. With nominal care, the tree blooms often, more frequently than most indoor fruit trees. Our calamondin typically produces fruit in the winter and spring months in ample quantity.
One important tip with a calamondin involves how to pick the fruit. It’s best to use clippers to remove fruit from the tree rather than hand picking. Using clippers or scissors will prevent damage to the stem side of the fruit, thereby eliminating premature deterioration.
As for care of the tree, it’s really quite simple and in line with care for other indoor citrus varieties. Give it plenty of sunlight per day and don’t over water. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering, usually about every 10 days. Fertilize with a time release fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks.
Finally, a calamondin tree will really appreciate time spent outdoors during warmer months. Here in the midwest, our tree spends mid April through mid October on our patio. This really helps the tree flourish, as butterflies and bees find the fragrance hard to resist.
Calamondin trees will make a wonderful addition to any living space and are readily available from online sources specializing in container fruit trees. Their cost is nominal and you’ll enjoy many years of sweet delicious fruit!