Would you like a tangerine? They have an exquisite flavor, a little less intense than that of oranges, and are also easy to peel without using a knife. However, one bought in a supermarket does not taste the same as one that has been grown at home, even if they have had the same care.
And speaking of care, did you know that the mandarin tree is very easy to maintain?
Main characteristics of the mandarin tree
This plant, whose scientific name is Citrus reticulata , is native to China and Indochina. It grows to a maximum height of 4m, with a rounded crown which gives a very interesting shade, thanks to which you can collect its fruits without having to worry too much about the sun. Still, if you think 4m is a lot, you can easily prune it in early spring , after the risk of frost has passed.
Due to its small size, it is one of the most recommended fruit trees to have in pots, or in the garden planted in small groups .
How do you care for a mandarin plant?
If you are going to plant a mandarin tree at home, the first thing you need is to know what the needs will be for your tree to grow healthy and strong. It is easy to achieve, especially if you pay attention to what it takes to be well. We’ll tell you then.
What climate does mandarin need?
For a mandarin to be “happy” in the environment in which it has to grow, the ideal temperature it should have would be between 23 and 35 degrees. This would be the best climate, so areas where that temperature is maintained all year round would be the best.
Keep in mind that, when the mandarin feels temperatures below 13 degrees, it begins to slow down its growth, and if they drop below 2 degrees below zero, it begins to have serious damage to its health (and may even die). On the contrary, if the high temperature exceeds 39 degrees, its vegetative activity suddenly stops, and if the ambient temperature exceeds 50 degrees, it will cause damage to the tree.
Therefore, when planting it, whether in a pot or in the ground, you must take into account the average temperature in the area. Also, do not forget about the winds or humidity (both in the soil and in the environment) that can affect the health of the tree.
Where to put a mandarin?
The mandarin, like many other fruit trees, needs sunlight to be able to develop and grow properly. Therefore, it is essential that you place it in full sun.
Do not be afraid that the tree has too many solar hours, in fact it will appreciate it, although you will have to be very aware of the irrigation so that it does not suffer from a shortage of water (something that we will comment on below).
What soil does the mandarin need?
It is not demanding if it is grown in the garden or garden; On the other hand, if you have it in a pot, I recommend you mix 60% black peat with 30% perlite (or another similar substrate) and add a little organic fertilizer in powder, such as worm humus or horse manure.
According to experts, the mandarin is a tree that grows very well in soils with a pH between 6 and 7 . Now, there can be a variation of one degree up or one down without suffering. And what if the pH is lower than 4 or higher than 9? Well, we could talk about toxicity risks in the tree, as well as mineral deficiencies. That is why you must know for sure the type of soil that is in your garden so, in case it is not in that range, provide it with what it needs to supply the deficiencies or the excess that it needs or must eliminate.
In addition, when planting it, keep in mind that it needs a depth of more than 60 centimeters for it to settle well.
How to water a potted mandarin?
The watering of a mandarin must take into account that it will depend on whether it is in the ground or in a pot. For example, if it is on the ground, irrigation must be very frequent, if possible, in winter, every 5-6 days, while, in summer, it must be at least 2-3 times a week (it is that is, water every 2 days or so).
Why do you need so much water? Well, as you know, mandarins carry water, and you need that irrigation to be able to develop their fruits properly. Otherwise, you will notice that the tangerines it gives you are dry and almost tasteless.
What fertilizer does a mandarin need?
If you have a mandarin, it is important that, at the time of development of the fruit, you provide it with nutrients so that it can take them forward without causing the tree to lose its energy or wear out before its time. Therefore, during spring and summer, you have to pay with organic fertilizers. We recommend guano, but depending on the type of soil you have in your house, one fertilizer or another will be better.
In this case, you can ask at a local plant store to find out the type of fertilizer according to the fruit tree and the soil it has.
How cold can a mandarin be?
This plant is very easy to grow, as it also resists frost quite well (down to -7ºC). Now, if it is outside, planted in the ground, and you live in an area where winters are usually harsh, you can protect its roots and branches by putting plastic over it (with holes). Keep in mind that this will keep the heat and a more stable temperature.
But you have to watch the sunniest days since the temperature can rise a lot and cause the tree to start flowering early, or force it to be active when it should be standing (it will affect its performance and health).
In case you have it in a pot, to avoid this problem you could put it inside the house if the temperature drops a lot, although it is not usual.
What is the tangerine tree like?
One aspect that you have to control about the mandarin is that, like the orange tree, it usually develops thorns, quite hard and sharp, so if you put your hand between its branches you can end up with a cut in them.
In addition, you have to bear in mind that the fruits are the so-called mandarins. Many think that mandarins and clementines are the same, but in reality they are not. Clementines grow from clementine trees, which are a cross between the orange tree and the mandarin tree and differ in that they do not produce seeds, which the mandarin does in its fruits.
When does the mandarin plant bloom?
The flowering time of a mandarin, like many citrus fruits, is in the spring. When this begins, the flowers begin to sprout from the branches and they give you an impressive show because of the white color of these.
Now, do not be scared that, after a few weeks, these flowers end up on the ground after opening, it is something natural in the tree and its “law of life”.
How long does a mandarin tree live?
Like many other fruit trees, the mandarin tree will not last a lifetime. It has a long life expectancy, approximately 40 years for the best cared specimens, but to achieve this, you have to be aware of it to avoid problems in the soil, fertilizer, irrigation, etc.
During that time, the mandarin, like many citrus fruits, will go through different phases in which there will be growth, maturation, aging … and each of them will last several years. For example, the first stage, which is the birth stage, can last 1-3 years, while the next, when it is settled on the tree, will last 2-3 years. Only when it is 3-6 years old will you begin to see the productive life of the mandarin, since that is when its youth begins (few fruits at the beginning that are greater in quantity year after year).
Do you dare to have your own mandarin tree?