The Clementine Tree is a small, easy to grow citrus that produces sweet, easy-peeling fruit that is juicy and seedless.
The Clementine Tree is a small, easy-to-grow citrus that produces sweet, easy-peeling fruit that is juicy and seedless. Clementine Trees reach a mature height of between 8 to 10 feet and a width of about 6 feet. These trees can be kept even smaller by pruning. The Clementine Tree is a moderately fast grower, and its tasty red-orange fruit matures from June through August.
Clementine Trees can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 8 – 11, or in a container that is moved indoors for the winters in USDA Zones 4 – 11. Their small stature makes them an ideal patio citrus tree and their fragrant white blooms, followed by smooth, bright orange fruit make them a decorative specimen in any home. If you live in an area where you can grow a Clementine Tree in the ground, it’s a great choice for a focal point in your garden.
Citrus Tree Care
Clementine Trees grow well in a range of tropical conditions. They prefer hot summers and mild winters and the trees are not particularly susceptible to pests. All of this makes the Clementine Tree easy to grow and maintain. They can be grown in a smaller area and kept to a manageable size with pruning. Their bright white blooms appear in spring and fill the air with their sweet fragrance.
When planting a Clementine Tree choose a south facing location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. A Clementine Tree will survive and even produce some fruit with less sunlight per day, but as a general rule, the more hours of direct sun, the better. Like other citrus, the Clementine Tree likes soil that is well-drained. Over-watering is much more detrimental to a Clementine Tree than under-watering.
Fruit & Harvesting
Clementines are considered an early fruiting citrus, and their fruit will be mature and ready to eat in the summer, well before most other citrus that matures in winter. This makes the Clementine Tree a treat for home growers, because you can often have fresh fruit months before you can buy other oranges at the market or online.
Since the Clementine is easy to peel, it is also easy to damage the skin at the stem end when picking. Careless harvesting can result in small patches of peel pulling away from the fruit. This can affect storage and invite a quick decline in freshness. To avoid this, always use hand trimmers to harvest Clementines. Wait until the first fruits become smooth and turn bright orange. Do a taste test and wait a few more days if the fruit is not juicy, sweet, and fragrant when peeled.
The Clementine Tree is a type of Mandarin, and as such, it produces a large crop of smaller fruit. These delicious, small citrus fruits can remain on the tree for months, and when you have a heavy crop, it may seem like the fruit will be there forever. However, in order for a Clementine Tree to have a healthy bloom again in the spring, it is vital to remove the last of the fruit at the end of the season.
Part of maintaining a happy, healthy Clementine Tree involves good housekeeping under the tree itself. Keep the ground under the tree (and out to the edge of the farthest reaching branches) free from weeds, fallen leaves, and other material. Never allow fallen citrus to collect under the tree. Also, remove any pruned branches from the immediate area under the tree. Doing this will minimize the instances of pests, molds, and fungi that could damage the tree or fruit.
Are Clementines good for you?
Clementines are small, but mighty. They are packed with vitamins C, E, B, and also contain calcium, magnesium, and iron. Clementines are also easy to peel and seedless, so they are convenient to eat on the go or at home. This combination of easy-to-eat and high vitamin and mineral content makes the Clementine a great snack full of nutritious goodness.
Is it okay to mulch the ground under a Clementine Tree?
You can mulch under a Clementine Tree with a thin layer of tree bark or composted leaves to help retain moisture and discourage weeds. However, heavily stacked, deep mulch is not recommended. Also, never allow mulch or leaves to stack against the tree’s trunk at the base. Rake a clean area of about 6 to 10 inches away from the tree base to prevent root rot.
Will a Clementine Tree grown in a pot produce fruit?
Yes. Clementine Trees are small, and only grow to about 8 feet tall or so in the ground. A container grown Clementine Tree will only grow to about 6 feet tall. You can even keep it smaller with pruning, and these trees will still bloom and grow fruit.
Does a Clementine Tree grown indoors require pollinating?
Yes. Clementine Trees are self-fertile, and when grown outside do not need a second tree to grow fruit. However, trees growing outside have their blooms pollinated by insects such as bees or ants. If you are growing your Clementine Tree indoors when it is in bloom, simply use a soft paint brush or a cotton swab and lightly touch the inside of the blooms from flower to flower. It is best to go randomly from flower to flower and pollinate a different 1/3 of the blooms each day for 3 or 4 days.