Growing navel oranges is pretty easy when you live in the appropriate tropical or subtropical climate. In this article, gardeners within these growing zones, as well as the more challenged gardeners that live outside of the ideal regions, will learn how to grow an orange tree. Orange trees can be grown outdoors or inside in a pot.
How To Grow An Orange Tree
The Sun Always Rises
Navel orange trees need full sunlight to grow well and produce flowers and fruit. Full sun is defined as at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. When growing citrus trees indoors, choose a spot close to a window or glass door at the south or southwestern side of your home. You want to choose the brightest, warmest spot in the house for your navel orange tree. Plant lights can also be used to supplement or replace natural sunlight. If you are only using plant lights, they should be on for 8 to 10 hours every day.
Dead in the Water
Citrus trees are drought tolerant and DO NOT LIKE WET FEET! So be sure your soil or planting mix, and your pot (if you’re using one) drain well. Citrus trees should only be watered when the soil is dry down to at least 2 inches. Over-watering can lead to root rot and the unfortunate and untimely death of your tree.
Sweating to the Oldies
Richard Simmons keeps the humidity up and you should too...for your navel orange tree. Citrus trees absolutely love humidity. So if you are growing yours in a dry environment, supplement by misting the leaves or even using a humidifier. This is very important with citrus that are grown indoors during winter when our heat is running and drying out the air. Humidity is a crucial factor in how to grow navel oranges (especially indoors).
Feed Me, Seymour
Okay, navel orange trees aren’t quite as hungry as Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors, but they do really like food. These fast growing plants soak up fertilizer. Citrus trees planted in the ground do not need to be fertilized as often as plants that are grown in pots. Potted citrus plants lose nutrients as the water drains from the pot. Feed potted plants up to 4 times per year with our slow release fertilizer or follow the directions for Espoma Citrus-Tone. Citrus trees that are planted in the ground can be fed twice per year with slow release fertilizer.
Akeelah and the Bee
Navel orange plants growing inside do not have wind or insect pollinators. Hand pollination can really up your fruit production. This step isn’t necessary, but it can promote more fruit production. So, if you have the time and are set on growing citrus indoors year-round this is one task you don’t want to skip. It is actually pretty easy and you only need to do it once or twice daily while your citrus tree is flowering. Take a small paint brush and gently brush the inside of each flower. Going from flower to flower spreads the love around and can increase fruit quality and quantity.
How to Grow Navel Oranges Pro Tip
Keep the roots on the dry side and the leaves on the wet side for a happy, healthy navel orange plant.
Well, now you know how to grow an orange tree. Happy planting! I truly hope you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor!