Chinoto, characteristics and care of this small citrus

The fruits of the chinoto are rounded

Image – Wikimedia Commons / David J. Stang

The little tree, or rather bush that I’m going to tell you about, is a plant that can be grown in different ways: in the garden, in a pot, or even as a bonsai. One of the most popular common names you get is Chinese or quinoto, although it is also called Moorish orange.

It is a citrus fruit, probably one of those that reaches the lowest height, and one of those with the smallest leaves. But its fruit, on the other hand, has the same appearance as that of a tangerine.

Origin and characteristics of the chinoto

The chinoto is a shrubThe chinoto is a shrub

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Cassinam

His scientific name is citrus myrtifolia (formerly considered a variety of bitter orange, so it was called Citrus aurantium was myrtifoliumbut as they have many differences, it is considered that the chinoto is of an independent species (citrus myrtifolia). In popular language it is known as dwarf orange, mirtifolia orange, chinoto, quinoto or Moorish orange. Leaving the taxonomy, let’s now talk about the characteristics of this plant.

It can reach a maximum height of 4 meters, with a very, very dense crown, composed of branches from which evergreen leaves sprout. (they fall little by little throughout the year) small, about 2 centimeters long, lanceolate, simple and leathery. These are quite reminiscent of the myrtle (myrtle common) reason why your last name is precisely myrtifolia (Myrtle It is myrtle in Spanish, and revelry means leaf, with which, myrtifolia translates as “myrtle leaf”).

The flowers are white, small, but very fragrantlike all those of citrus. They give off a very pleasant aroma, which attracts various pollinating insects, including bees. The fruits are small, rounded, yellow or more frequently orange. Despite their appearance, they are not edible.

It has a fairly slow growth rate, which is why it is highly appreciated both in the bonsai world as for those looking for a relatively small plant for their garden or patio.

What are their cares?

If you dare to have a copy, we recommend that you provide it with the following care:


The chinoto is a plant that must be outside, in full sun.

Its roots are not invasive, so you can grow it without problems in all types of gardens. Of course, it is recommended that, if you are going to have it on the ground, you leave at least a distance of one meter between the wall and the plant so that it can have a correct development.


Irrigation must be frequent, especially in very hot and dry summers. As usual, you should water an average of 3 times in that season, and the rest a little less often.

If you have it in a pot, you can put a plate under it during the summer season, but it is not advisable to keep it in winter and less if there are frosts, since the roots could be damaged.

Use rainwater or lime-free water whenever you can; If you cannot get it, if you have very hard water, very rich in lime and with a pH of 7 or more, mix the liquid of half a lemon with 1 liter of this water, and water.

Water plantsWater plants

Related article:

What is the pH of the water?


The chinoto flower is whiteThe chinoto flower is white

Image – Flickr / Aqiao HQ

  • Flower pot: can be filled with universal substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  • Garden: grows in soils rich in organic matter, and slightly acidic (pH 5-6). It lives well in limestone, but in these it is common to have chlorosis due to the lack of iron, so if it is grown in them it will be necessary to add iron chelates from time to time.


From the beginning of spring to the end of summer it is advisable to fertilize the chinoto with a specific fertilizer for citrus fruits, following the indications specified on the package.

If you prefer to fertilize it with natural products, you can use guano, compost, mulch, cold tea grounds, egg shells, etc.

Coffee as an ecological fertilizerCoffee as ecological fertilizer

Related article:

List of organic fertilizers


It is quite resistant, but can be attacked by Red spider, White fly o mealybugs in spring and summer. These three insects feed on the sap, especially on the tender shoots, and as the heat favors them, they must be watched.

Fortunately, can be treated well with insecticides approved for organic farming, such as diatomaceous earth or neem oil. If you see that the pests are spreading a lot, do not hesitate to use specific chemical insecticides, that is:

  • Red spider: with an acaricide, like this one that you can buy from here!.
  • Mealybugs: with a specific insecticide, like this one that you can get from here!.
  • Whitefly: with systemic insecticides, like this one they sell here!.


The dream multiplies by seeds in spring. These are recommended to be sown in forest seedling trays or in pots filled with universal substrate, and placing a maximum of two in each socket or pot.

Keeping the seedbed outside, in semi-shade, and watered, they will germinate in about a month.


When growing slowly, pruning must also be slow. I explain: You should not do drastic pruning, but rather cut a little each time (that is, every year). Even if you want to work it as bonsai, the ideal is that you give it the style you want little by little, always letting 4-6 pairs of leaves grow and cutting 2 or a maximum of 3.

Use previously disinfected tools, for example with a little dish soap, and prune in late winter.


Resists cold and weak frosts of up to -4ºC.

The fruits of the chinoto resemble orangesThe fruits of the chinoto resemble oranges

Image – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What did you think of the chinoto?

Chinoto, characteristics and care of this small citrus

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