Growing oranges in zone 8 is possible if you are willing to take precautions. In general, oranges don’t do well in regions with cold winters, so you may have to take care in selecting a cultivar and a planting site. Read on for tips on growing oranges in zone 8 and hardy orange tree varieties.
Oranges for Zone 8
Both sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis) and sour oranges (Citrus aurantium) grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Although it is possible to start growing oranges in zone 8, you’ll have to take some precautions.
First, select cold hardy orange tree varieties. Try “Hamlin” if you are growing oranges for juice. It is fairly cold hardy, but the fruit is damaged during hard freezes. “Ambersweet,” “Valencia,” and “Blood Oranges” are other orange cultivars that might grow outdoors in zone 8.
Mandarin oranges are a good bet for zone 8. These are hardy trees, especially Satsuma mandarins. They survive in temperatures as low as 15 degrees F. (-9 C.).
Ask at your local garden store for hardy orange tree varieties that thrive in your location. Local gardeners can also provide invaluable tips.
Growing Oranges in Zone 8
When you start growing oranges in zone 8, you’ll want to select an outdoor planting site very carefully. Look for the most protected and warmest site on your property. Oranges for zone 8 should be planted in a full sun location on the south or southeast side of your home. This gives the orange trees maximum sun exposure and also protects the trees from cold northwestern winds.
Position the orange trees close to a wall. This could be your home or garage. These structures provide some warmth during dips in winter temperatures. Plant the trees in deep, fertile soil to protect and nurture the roots.
It is also possible to grow oranges in containers. This is a good idea if your area gets frost or freeze in the winter. Citrus trees grow well in containers, and they can be moved into a protected area when winter cold arrives.
Select a container with adequate drainage. Although clay pots are attractive, they may be too heavy to move them easily. Start your young tree in a small container, then transplant it as it grows bigger.
Put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the container, then add two parts potting soil to one part redwood or cedar shavings. Put the orange tree in the container when it is partially filled, then add soil until the plant is at the same depth as it was in the original container. Water well.
Look for a sunny spot to place the container during the summer months. Zone 8 orange trees need at least eight hours per day of sun. Water as needed, when the soil surface is dry to the touch.