Help! Orange Tree Won't Flower

parkes1200
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parkes1200
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Joined: 7:55 PM - Dec 06, 2003

12:55 PM - Dec 06, 2003 #1

Hello All:
New member here. I have a 4/5 year old blood orange tree, which I'm growing indoors. Although it's quite tall (possibly 8-9 feet) it refuses to flower. I feed it, put coffee grinds in the soil (for acidity) and pray... Someone said it needs to go outdoors in the summer for a good dose of sunshine.
Any suggestions?
Cheers
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Joined: 8:45 PM - Dec 06, 2003

1:45 PM - Dec 06, 2003 #2

Hi there .
I work in a nursery that specialises in citrus and have grown them commercially for 13 years. chances are that if your tree is in a warm area it will not initiate flowers. citrus do require a period where the night temperature drops below 10 degrees centigrade . The plant also would require good light levells. Try putting it out next summer feeding it with a high nitrogen fertilizermarch to october,and a balanced one overthe winter if the temp is above 7degrees. to keep the leaves green a dose of maxicrop monthly will do wonders. good luck.
Regards Richard
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DeeDee571
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Joined: 7:28 PM - Oct 23, 2003

1:53 PM - Dec 06, 2003 #3

First of all - welcome to Real Gardeners.
Right - lets think about this problem, there are several questions which may give us clues to why this is not flowering.
1. Did you grow this from seed? If you did, then it may well be it's not mature enough to flower yet Orange trees grown from seed usuually take 8+ years to flower. Commercially grown orange trees are usually grown by grafting the tree onto a dwarfing, cold resistant rootstock. It may well be that you are going to have a very large tree before it produces any flowers
2. What fertilizer are you using? Photostogen is a good all round plant food and should be used at normal strength and given every third watering during the growing season. It is also advisable to give your plant a foliar feed three times during the growing season, this should consist of the same type of plant food but at half strength to prevent scorching. Each spring the plant should be given a 'tonic' in the form of essential salts and minerals, these can be purchased from garden centres in sachets which are mixed with water. Citrus occasionally suffer from a magnesium deficiency and the leaves may begin to go yellow, particularly in the ribs. Applying an Epsom Salt solution will remedy the problem use 1 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water and apply once to remedy the situation.
3. What potting mixture are you using? I am really unsure of the validity of using coffee grounds to acidify the soil, and the need for it. As we mentioned earlier oranges are in the main grown in a warm and rather dry climate, the ground that they are grown in as also quite arid and gritty or thin. For home cultivation you will need to give them a similar type of compost but it should be more fertile.
Peat or Coir based Composts are not particularly suitable for growing oranges as they clog up easily and hold too much water at the roots. What you should be using is a good John Innes soil based mixture that is designed for final planting, John Innes number 3 is a good choice. This contains a fair amount of small grit particles which will help the compost drain swiftly but I prefer to add to this basic mix the following additions. These additions are measured by volume rather than weight.
For each gallon of John Innes compost I add 1 pint of medium horticultural grit and 1 pint of peat/coir based potting compost. This will give a more swift drainage whilst at the same time improve the moisture retentiveness of the compost. Remember orange roots must be able to breath and the extra large grit particles will allow more air to the roots.
Hope this helps
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parkes1200
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Joined: 7:55 PM - Dec 06, 2003

2:37 PM - Dec 06, 2003 #4

Thanks for the help. Let's see...I do believe there may be something to the "10 degrees" theory, since it doesn't get that cold in my home!
It gets southern exposure infront of a large expanse of French Windows, and a huge half round window above these. I realise this is still not the same as outdoor sunshine, however. It was not grown from seed, but purchased as a young tree, and appears to be grafted.
Re:fertilizer: I've used a variety of stuff, fish emulsion, commercial Miracle Grow products etc. But, I'll take the
advise given here, and see if it helps.
Re: Potting mix: I'm afraid I haven't been very diligent here. I have horses, and tend to use manure compost for everything, usually with good results. I may need to insure the drainage is optimum by adding the grit you suggested.
Just how did they manage in the Victorian Orangeries maintaining all these conditions.?
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Jae00
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Joined: 12:50 AM - Dec 10, 2003

5:50 PM - Dec 09, 2003 #5

Interested in your problem with orange tree. We had a holiday in Menton (courtesy of Wallace Arnold) where citruses abound and there is even a citrus garden with lemons, oranges, grapefruit and others. The lemon trees line the roads, loaded with fruit. I wonder what fertiliser they are given (apart from poodle poo, plenty of that) and does the temperature drop below 10 degrees in winter? Anyone know?
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