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How to Grow Clementines

Anuja Marathe Kanhere Mar 21, 2020
Clementine or Algerian tangerines are known for their sweet and tangy flavor. Here is how you can grow them at home or in orchards for commercial purposes.
Clementines are a sub-variety of mandarin oranges. They derive this unique name because they were first discovered in the garden of an Algerian orphanage by Father Clement Rodier.
Although there have been arguments about previous existence of similar fruits in a Chinese province. Grown from November to February, clementines are popularly known as Christmas oranges. Here are some tips to help you grow Clementine plantation.
Clementine developed out of a hybrid pollination, is known for its sweet and tangy flavor, seedless interior and smooth, glossy, easy to peel orange coating. Unlike typical oranges like satsuma, clementines are less acidic, more juicy and can be sectioned to a maximum of 14 pieces.
They are rich in citric acid as well as myrcene, α-pinene, limonene and linamool. Some of the best varieties of clementines are grown in U.S. and European countries like Spain, Morocco and Bosnia Herzegovina. The fruit is commercially grown in states of Florida and California. The fruit remains seedless and tastes best only when it is not cross-pollinated.

Growing Clementines in Orchards

► Since clementines rarely bear seeds, one needs to use rootstock grafts for commercially growing the plants. Use a virus free bud wood stump and graft it onto the clementine rootstock.
► The best season to grow clementines in your gardens or in the orchards is when you experience sub-tropical climate in your province. Clementine can go well with moderate freezing but the blossoms are likely to wither in extremely cold climatic conditions.
► Start with planting your clementines in a well-drained soil. Consider the nature of rootstock that you are about to plant when doing so.
► Demarcate spots for planting the grafts with a proportionate distance of 10 feet between each graft in a single row. Leave approximately 15 feet space on either side of each row.

► Prune your plants throughout the year for uniformity in heights.
► Your plant needs water irrigation, ideally through drip irrigation. The approximate annual requirement of water ranges 35 inches. You need to provide liquid fertilizers during growing season of your plants.
► Since their feeding requirements are on the higher side, it is recommended that fertilizers should be provided in proportion of 12-4-4 at least once at intervals of 7 weeks. The fertilizer proportion may be reduced by two-thirds in the fall.
► The fruit picking season ranges from mid November to early February. Fresh clementines are often fragile. So you need to pick them in a span of 2 days once they ripen.

► Store them in small well protected cardboard boxes till they are sold

Growing Clementines Indoors

► Indoor clementine plants generally grow not more than 12 feet in height. You may expect them to bear fruits once they complete 7 years. Plant your clementine grafts in well-drained soil.
► Use small pots that have more than one hole. Pot size should be proportionate to the size of the plant. In case, you place a small clementine plant in a large pot, the soil is likely to retain the moisture in the pot, which leads to rotting of roots.
► Clementine plants need a good amount of solar heat. So you may have to expose them to direct solar radiations for at least half the day. Place the plants near southern or southwestern window of your home to protect them against direct exposure to cold winds.
► Since these plants are placed indoors, natural pollination by birds and insects is out of question. As planters, you may induce pollination using old toothbrush or paint brush. Rub gently on one flower and transfer the pollen on the next flower. Avoid cross-pollination with any other mandarin variety if you want original, sweet and seedless clementines.
► Ideal temperature for clementine plants during major part of the year is 85° F. However, once the plant enters the blossoming season and starts bearing fruits, the temperature requirement falls to 65° F. Care be taken to avoid exposing the plant to extremely freezing temperatures lest the blossoms wither away. Prune the plant often so that it looks bushy.
► If you have a proficiency in bonsai art, then clementine cuttings can be grown as bonsai plants at home.
As mentioned earlier, it is hard to fetch original clementine seeds. Even if you get hold of some, the maturing time till the plant bears fruits might be approximately 6 to 7 years. Ideally, get some cuttings from a reputed nursery in your vicinity.
Clementine plants are usually moderate in height, easy to maintain and resistant to diseases and pests. So you will enjoy growing them and harvesting their fruits.