Calamondin or gentle citrus (Citrus mitis) is a member of the Rut family. The birthplace of culture is South China. Calamondin is a highly decorative plant, also known as citrofortunella or “golden orange”.
It is believed that this is a hybrid between kumquat and mandarin. From the mandarin, the fruit got its appearance and aroma, and from the kumquat – resistance to frost and sweet peel.
So, the fruits are bright orange, smaller than tangerine, up to 4 cm in diameter; average weight 11-13 g, sour inside and with bitterness, with an easily detached peel, green seeds.
Calamondin as a citrus is considered an excellent fruit for making jam with good taste and a beautiful shade.
But in most cases, this plant is used as an ornamental. In room conditions, he feels great and bears fruit abundantly at a young age.
A small evergreen well-branched shrub with a dense crown, stems sometimes with sparse short spines.
The leaves are small, 4-7 cm long, oval, silky, dark green.
A bush at home often grows up to 1 m in height, while in nature this figure is an average of 5 m.
Flowering at calamondin lasts throughout March – June. The flowers are small, star-shaped, up to 1.5 cm in diameter, white, fragrant. With good care, it blooms and bears fruit all year round.
Can produce color even when fruit is present on the branches. The culture belongs to self-pollinating plants, but it is still preferable to cross-pollinate, done by the gardener with his own hand with a soft brush.
If the bush is low – no more than 25 cm, fruiting can still occur.
Varieties of calamondin and photos of flowers
In indoor gardening, only one type of calamondin is grown – tender ( C. mitis calamondin ).
The varietal diversity of domestic plants is extremely wide. Among the most interesting and common, the following varieties should be noted: “Variegata”.
The following is a brief description of these plants.
The first of the above varieties differs from the rest in foliage, decorated with milky smudges. This feature provides the plant with a high degree of decorativeness. Until the fruits ripen, they resemble striped watermelons in color, only their sizes are much smaller. But when they finally ripen, they acquire a bright orange color.
Homemade calamondin ” Shikinari ” produces citrus fruits that are considered the most delicious. This is a Japanese plant belonging to a number of large-fruited varieties. In the third of the previously listed varieties, the fruits are small, the leaves are very variegated – they can have both edging and stripes of a milky or golden hue. The variety ” Peters ” has unusually beautiful flowers, therefore it is considered highly decorative, and the fruits are very sour, although they are also eaten.
How different varieties of calamondin look like, look at the photos presented to your attention below.
How to care for calamondin and how to transplant it correctly The step-by-step procedure is as follows:
A drainage layer is laid at the bottom of the flowerpot.
River sand is poured over the drainage.
The top layer is laid with a previously prepared soil mixture (about 2 cm of earth is not filled up to the edge of the flowerpot).
A flower is planted, while the root collar does not deepen.
Citrus calamondin planted at home requires proper care, one of the aspects of which is its regular transplantation. The procedure is performed by transshipment into a new pot without disturbing the earthy coma around the root system. For plants up to 4-5 years old, transplantation is needed annually, and for adult specimens, this interval is several years, depending on the growth rate. How to properly plant and transplant calamondin, look at the video below – in it you can find detailed visual instructions that allow you to avoid many mistakes during this procedure.
How to grow calamodin and what to do if the plant sheds leaves
The very first transplant for the “golden orange” may end unsuccessfully – with the loss of foliage. If this happens, do not throw away the affected specimen, it is better to try to bring it back to life. If calamondin drops leaves intensively, cut off all the fruits from it and remove some of the shoots. Treat the cut points with pre-crushed activated charcoal and keep the flowerpot with the plant in a room with abundant diffused light. Purchase a medicinal solution from a specialized store and spray the bush with it every day. Moisturize the soil with care. Young shoots will appear in a few weeks.
The requirements for environmental conditions in citrofortunella are not particularly whimsical. The plant is photophilous, grows well on the windows of east and west orientation. The main thing is to remember that the light should be bright, but diffused. Direct sunlight on the bush is highly undesirable, because it can lead to burns and wilting.
In winter, it is kept in bright, cool rooms with a temperature of + 5 … + 10 ° C, on the southern windows. In the warm season, the permissible air temperature is + 22 … + 25 ° С. In summer, the plant can be taken out to the site or balcony.
Caring for calamondin at home also implies proper irrigation. Since Citrofortunella is moisture-loving, it needs abundant watering in summer. It is necessary to irrigate after the top layer of the substrate dries slightly. In this case, water should be separated and filtered from chlorine at room temperature or a little warmer. In especially hot times, the soil clod should not be allowed to dry out, it is advisable to spray the crown 1-2 times a day. This is due to the fact that the birthplace of culture is the subtropics, so too dry air is unfavorable for it. Citrofortunella also responds well to the shower, the main thing is that the water is a couple of degrees warmer than room temperature.
In winter, in a cool room, moderate watering is necessary, no more than 1 or 2 times a week. But during this period, when heating devices work in houses and apartments, in the context of caring for calamondin, it is important to more carefully monitor the condition of the soil in the flowerpot, and as soon as it dries slightly from above, immediately perform moderate irrigation.
Experts recommend using this method to determine the need for watering for a flower. You need to take a handful of soil from the container and squeeze it in the palm of your hand. If, opening your hand, you see a crumbling substrate, then it’s time to irrigate the bush. If the earth has strayed into a dense lump, this procedure should be postponed for the time being.
Both in winter and summer, despite the moisture-loving nature of calamondin grown at home, it is extremely contraindicated to allow water to stagnate in a pot. To prevent this from happening, a significant drainage layer should be laid on the bottom of the flowerpot.
From April to September, it is necessary to fertilize weekly with a complete mineral fertilizer for citrus fruits once every 10 days, and from September to March – once every 30 days. You can also use ammonium nitrate (5 g) mixed with potassium chloride (2 g) diluted in water (1 l). Such root dressing will have a good effect on flowering and fruit set.
To the question of how to properly care for calamondin, experts answer: it is recommended to alternate root and foliar dressings. The second type of fertilizer is sprayed on the crown, and the plant absorbs the nutrients in the cells of the foliage. You can buy special substances at any flower shop.
How to trim calamondin
Pruning for calamondin is a necessary shaping and sanitary procedure carried out every year. This is the only way to give the bush or tree the desired neat fluffy shape. It must be carried out before the active growth phase has begun – i.e. at the very beginning of spring. Attention should be paid to the formation of the crown – the removal of damaged branches, as well as those that have grown inappropriately. In general, you should get rid of 1/3 of the increase. The number of fruits in the current season directly depends on the number of new branches.
Regarding how to properly prune calamondin in the summer, experienced gardeners answer: you need to shorten excessively long branches, if any.
Reproduction of calamondin by semi-lignified cuttings and seeds
Reproduction is carried out in late spring – early summer in such possible ways:
The first and last of the listed methods are most often used at home, so special attention will be paid to them.
Reproduction of calamondin by semi-lignified cuttings is chosen by those gardeners who want their plant to begin to bear fruit as quickly as possible. But it should be borne in mind that cuttings are a very complex process: new specimens are hard to take root and need additional care.
It is necessary to cut off the shoot with 4 or 6 leaves and lower it into a solution prepared from Kornevin, idodyl-3-butyric acid (25 mg) and water (0.5 l) for 16 hours. Next, you need to plant the cuttings in the substrate prepared according to the technology described above. The copy should be covered with a glass container or a plastic bottle, which will increase the level of air humidity and create a greenhouse effect. You need to remove the mini-greenhouse when new leaves appear.
When propagating homemade calamondin with cuttings, phytohormones can be used to help stimulate the growth of the root system.
The landing procedure should be carried out at an air temperature of +23 … +25 ̊С, i.e., as indicated above, in spring – summer, if necessary, heating the soil.
If the young stalk has taken root – look at the photo, how it looks – at home, calamondin needs exactly the same care as an adult plant.
If seeds extracted from fruits are used for propagation, then a new specimen will appear very quickly and without problems. But the fruiting of the plant will begin only after a few years of growing up.
It is necessary to take the bones from those fruits that are fresh. If the fruit has dried up, then its seeds have already lost the ability to germinate. To obtain calamondin from a fruit stone, the seed should be planted at an air temperature of +25 to +28 ̊С.
Humidity should be high. The stone is deepened by 1 cm into a loose substrate consisting of peat, a fertile mixture and sand, the top layer of soil is abundantly watered, a mini-greenhouse is made using a glass or polyethylene container. After 1.5 months, sprouts with leaves often appear. When the number of leaves exceeds 4, sprouts can be transplanted into separate flowerpots with the usual substrate in which adult bushes are grown. How to grow a strong calamondin from a cutting and a bone, see the video. Experienced gardeners will share with you the secrets of craftsmanship.
Calamondin pests, viral and fungal diseases
If you do not comply with the humidity and temperature regime during the cultivation of citrofortunella, it can be attacked by pests, which include:
If their presence is noticed on a plant that also turns yellow, becomes covered with spotting, white bloom, cobwebs, withers, dries, sheds foliage, then you should immediately start fighting parasites. Otherwise, pests can completely destroy calamondin. To get rid of them, it is necessary to treat the crown with low-toxic preparations – acaricides, and also bring the environmental conditions in line with the existing standards discussed above.
Prevention will not hurt either – washing the foliage once every 30 days with an aqueous solution of laundry soap. It is necessary to prevent the ingress of this substance on the soil in the flowerpot, which is better to cover it with polyethylene beforehand. After washing, the plant should arrange a warm shower. For the same reason as in the case of pests, calamondin is affected by viral and fungal diseases represented by:
To overcome them and save the plant, it is necessary to carry out treatment with a drug such as Fitosporin, or alternatively, with a solution of potassium permanganate. In particularly severe cases of decay, a golden orange transplant may be necessary.
What to do if the calamondin plant turns yellow and leaves fall (with video)
One of the most commonly encountered problems is that calamondin gradually sheds its leaves. This situation indicates mistakes made in maintaining the temperature regime and lighting – the plant is too “hot” or it is standing in direct sunlight. To remedy the situation, you need to make the light diffused, as well as organize regular spraying of foliage in the summer or remove it away from the heater in the winter.
If the above factors that can provoke leaf fall are absent, the cause of this unpleasant process may be the presence of a flowerpot with a bush in a draft – on a balcony, window sill, in the garden. If, in connection with this, calamondin sheds leaves, to the question: “What should I do?” there is only one answer – to rearrange the pot with it in a place protected from drafts and wind.
Often, yellowness appears on the foliage of the plant, and then it begins to shed if excessively abundant watering is organized, accompanied by stagnation of water in the root system. In this situation, it is necessary to remove the yellowed parts of the plant, remove the roots from the ground, inspect them, trim the rotted areas, treat them with crushed activated charcoal and transplant them into another soil. The same should be done when the leaves fall intensively from the water of the calamondin.
Yellowness and shedding of foliage can also be a signal that the “golden orange” is suffering from a deficiency of nutrients. If you did not apply according to the feeding schedule described above, establish the correct fertilization regimen with root and foliar products. And your “green pet” will be able to get better, even if at the moment calamondin turns yellow too quickly.
Many gardeners face this kind of problem: after they buy another copy in a flower shop, bring it home and give it proper care, it still starts to turn yellow. This is due to a sharp change in the growing conditions familiar to the flower, which, unfortunately, is almost impossible to recreate with 100% accuracy. To put an end to the vagaries of citrus, it is recommended to put a plastic bag on the crown, tying it around the trunk. This will help raise the humidity of the ambient air to between 90 and 100%. The package needs to be untied 2-3 times a day to ventilate the mini-greenhouse.
If the leaves on the newly acquired calamondin not only turn yellow, but active leaf fall occurs, you should not be sad that you threw money away and get rid of it. Remove fruits from citrus, if any, since all the forces of the plant are spent on providing them with useful substances. Then, for 2 weeks, spray a bush or tree 1 time per day with a solution of either Espina, or Zircon, or Heteroauxin. After 14 days, citrofortunella will return to life.
If Calamondin doesn’t flower, the first thing to look at is the light level. This situation indicates its insufficient level. Move the flowerpot to another place, and if this is not possible, then take care of the organization of artificial light sources. Sometimes the lack of flowering is due to insufficient fertilizer. In this case, establish the correct feeding schedule.
If citrofortunella discards fruits that are not ripe, then there is a 100% nutrient deficiency, which can be replenished with fertilizers.
Remember an important rule: never move or turn, unless absolutely necessary, a flowerpot with a “golden orange” while it blooms or the period of fruit ripening on it lasts. The plant is very sensitive at this time to stress factors, to which it can respond with yellowing and abundant leaf fall. Watch an informative video about calamondin, which will reveal the main secrets for caring for it.
The plant is completely picky: if you organize comfortable conditions for it, you can enjoy both color and fruits all year round.