Calamondin, a nice indoor orange tree


Calamondin or calamondino is an apartment orange tree very well suited to living inside our heated homes.

Core Calamondin facts

Name: Citrus mitis
Family: Rutaceae (Rue family)

Height: 3 to 6 ½ feet (1 to 2 meters)
Exposure: full sun outdoors, indirect sun inside
Soil: soil mix

Foliage: evergreen  –  Fruit formation: November to March

Planting and repotting, care, watering and pruning are all good habits that will help you to grow a very nice calamondin.

Planting and repotting calamondin

Calamondin planting for pots

Planting calamondin in a potIt is recommended to plant calamondin in a blend of soil mix eventually enriched with fertilizer.

  • The pot must absolutely have a hole at the bottom. Keep roots from wallowing in stagnant water.

An ideal solution is to pour in a layer of gravel, clay pebbles or rocks to ensure that excess water drains well to the bottom.
Make this layer about 1 to 2 inches (3 to 4 cm) thick.

Anticipate re-potting in a pot that is slightly larger than the previous every 2 or 3 years on average.

Planting calamondin directly in the ground

This small orange tree can only grow directly in the ground in Mediterranean-type climate (dry, warm summer and dry, mild winters), or tropical climates.

If this is the case, mix soil mix together with your garden soil. It’s very important to ensure that your soil drains well.

If it doesn’t drain well, dig a hole that is slightly deeper, and layer gravel, rocks, sand or clay pebbles along the bottom.

Propagating calamondino

Pruning and caring for calamondin

It isn’t really necessary to prune it. However, to rebalance the silhouette of your calamondin, prune lightly after repotting, in spring.

How to prune calamondino

The only rule for pruning is that you can give it the shape you want! For instance, style it like a tree with a tallish trunk, or a bushy round shrub! Pleating or trimming as flat espalier are also possible.

Best practices are to:

  • remove dead wood and dying branches
  • if two branches are crossing each other, select one of the two and cut the other off
  • you’ll have more flowering, fruiting and less diseases if you clear the center of the calamondino from time to time. Just remove a little growth to make sure the center of the tree gets light.

Repotting and topdressing

It is advised to repot every 2 years. This helps replenish soil nutrients that are depleted as the plant consumes them. Watering often washes nutrients out, too.

  • Best to do this at the end of winter or in spring after the blooming and fruit formation.
  • Otherwise, summer is fine, too.

If ever the pot is too large for repotting, you can go for topdressing. It’s a good enough alternative, but remember to use a richer soil mix than for regular repotting.

How to have nice fruits and magnificent leaves?

Adding citrus-specific fertilizer will greatlyincrease fruit and foliage quality.

Fruit drop occurs pretty often at the beginning, when the plant is young. As it gets older, remember to:

  • always give it fertilizer (citrus fertilizer),
  • proper watering,
  • and avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Is the air very dry in your home? Try to increase air moisture around the plant.

Together, these steps help avoid stress to the plant. It can hold on to its fruits until they’re ripe instead of dropping them on a whim!

Watering calamondin

Indoors, water, but not too much, as soon as the soil is dry.

  • You can increase the amount of water in spring and summer, especially in warm weather.
  • In winter, wait for the soil to have dried on a full inch (a couple centimeters) before watering again.

Learn more about calamondin

Calamondin treeCalamondin is a small fruit shrub that produces edible fruits, but they’re so acidic that they’re hard to digest. However, if you like the tart taste, you can even eat the calamondin peel together with the flesh! They’re a bit like kumquat in that respect, but aren’t as tasty. As a matter of fact, the beauty and fragrant flowers are usually the reason it is often chosen as an indoor ornamental plant.

If you can, it is good to bring your calamondin out after any risk of freezing has disappeared, from spring until the end of summer.

Indoors, simply set it in a well-lit spot but avoid direct sunlight during the hottest hours.
Also avoid setting it right next to a radiator.

Diseases and parasites of calamondin

Smart tip about calamondin

Plan on adding fertilizer for citrus plants regularly in order to greatly increase blooming and fruit formation.

Images: 123RF: Natalia Voropinova, Валентина Маслова; Pixabay: Michael Matera