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Problem with Calamondin Orange

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by Janelle Ramaley on March 14, 2004 07:07 PM
About two weeks ago, I bought a Calamondin Orange plant to keep in my apartment. It has lots of oranges on it (which aren't turning orange very quickly!) and it has bloomed and has one small new shoot.

However, within the past few days, it has also started losing leaves. Some leaves that fall off are brown, but not dried out, and some are green and still seem healthy. Our apartment is quite warm (about 23 degrees Celsius) and it is in the sun, but not directly in the window. I am now keeping it moist and fertilizing it once a week, although I did allow it to dry out twice (dry but not bone dry). I don't see any bugs on it or any other visible problems. I am very inexperienced with house plants but would really like this orange tree not to die on me!

Does anyone have any idea what the problem could be? I'd be very very grateful for any advice. Thank you!
by weezie13 on March 14, 2004 08:36 PM
HI, and Welcome to The Garden Helper's Forum!
We are very glad you found us!!!
I am not too firmiliar with your plant, but
I'd like to tell you we have several gardeners here who, more than likely, can help you!
Papito's a citrus tree grower, and grows in containers.
And we have several house plant people, like
Will Creed, Lizheaemma, Box monkey, Sherri,
oh, just a bunch, that may come through when the come around!! Sit tight, give them a chance to roll through, but someone eventually may be able to stear you in the right direction to getting your plant back to it's original health.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoy our site, take a peak thru all the new sections, and add on to one there if you see one, or add a new one of your own.
Glad you found us, and keep us posted on your plant, we love to hear the out come of your plant, good or bad and what you did for it, it helps any future gardener coming thru with a similar question.


P.S.We have another gardener from you area, her name is Muskrat *Cindy*.

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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by apples on March 14, 2004 10:13 PM
Basicly the same train of events has started happening to my tree of the same species. I don't quite know what it is and haven't realy gotten a chance to ask so I'm glade you did! I had a few ideas as to what it might be. First is that, cause on mine it is losing leaves on the older branches, mabey it's some kind of spring shed [dunno] . That's realy just a guess but it seems it could make sense seeing as how it's recomended to cut back to the strongest three branches off the trunk, three strongest branches off of each branch, and so on to incourage a dense bush with all the leaves on the outside.
The second thought, for mine not shure about yours but it needs an acidic ph in the soil... The one thing I've found contrivercial on is on this sites info is it says to lower the ph using epsome salts every 2-3 months but I've heard that is dangerous to do more then once or twice on a root bound tree unless I guess the soil is changed at repoting making it fresh again. Isn't the salt build up bad? I've done it twice so thought it might have caused some part of the problem. The last is some type of bacteria and/or fungi cald leaf spot which citrus trees are susceptible to probably from to much misting or keeping the compost a little to wet. It can be treated with a systemic fungicide. This is also posible for me because I tend to be adicted to misting my plants. [perplexed]
Anyways I'm pretty new to this plant as well and don't know all that much about it, just getting some ideas rolling.
Oh ya and Wellcome!

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by apples on March 14, 2004 10:19 PM
P.S. The fruit do mature very slowly, one part of the tree will be starting to fruit, one part will beflowering and part will have ancient fruit that's finally starting to change ever so slightly. I know from prunning it when I first got it that if you take the oranges off and put them in a sunny spot they ripen up pretty fast. But you can wait!
[lala] ........... [lala] .................................. [lala] .......... [lala]

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The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Will Creed on March 15, 2004 01:13 AM
Orange trees are not good plants for inexperienced plant owners. They are problematic even for experienced folks. They are grown in greenhouses where they receive lots of light, water, and just the right temps. When moved to your home, the adjustment is difficult and often results in leaf drop.

Calamondin orange (Citrus mitis) is a miniature orange tree grown as a small bush. It must have lots of direct sunlight all year round and benefits from being outside in a protected location in the warmer months or year round in areas that do not get frost. Inside, it should be directly in front of a south or west window. Like most plants, it does best when kept moderately potbound, so donít be in a hurry to repot.

Fertilize in the spring and summer with an acidic fertilizer, such as Miracid.

When putting out new growth, usually during the warmer months, water thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. In the darker months when growth is reduced, allow the top quarter of the soil to dry out before watering thoroughly. This drier, cooler period in winter will help promote flowers in the summer.

To get fruit in the future, you will have to hand pollinate the flowers yourself if there are no bees about to take care of it. The oranges are small and quite sour. Watch for scale insects, whiteflies, mealybug, and spider mites.
by Janelle Ramaley on March 30, 2004 05:32 PM
Hello to everyone who responded to my question about my orange tree!

Thanks for all the tips and advice! If I had known that orange trees were tricky, I never would have taken up the challenge (my plant book lists them as "quite easy"!). However, I'm happy to report that the leaf loss has tapered off, so I'm hoping that my tree is feeling more at home. I still have two questions about caring for it:

Could someone out there let me know - by ingredients - how I recognize an acidic fertilizer? I live in Germany and so don't get the same brands as in the US and am not sure about being able to convey my meaning exactly to a staff person.

Also, when is it warm enough to put my tree outside? i.e. what is the lowest temperature (nights especially) that the tree will put up with. Spring is coming here, but I'm not sure that it is warm enough yet.

Thanks again for all the help!
by papito on March 30, 2004 07:22 PM
Hi, Janelle,

Most commercial fertilizers are formulated with the following ingredients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) and always appear in that order (N-P-K) regardless of where it is sold. While N-P-K is standard, the amount (ratio) of N-P-K is not. You will find some with a of ratio of: 15-5-25, 15-16-17, 20-10-20, 23-0-0, 10-10-10 or any other combination.

An example of acidic fertilizer is Ammonium Sulfate.

The temperature at which your Calamondin will grow is between 55*F and about 100*F.

A night time temperature of 50*F to 55*F will be okay as long as there is no danger of frost.

Tip: You need to "harden off" the plant before leaving it outside. Hardening is a process of adapting a plant that has been grown in greenhouse, indoors or under protective shelter to full outdoor exposure. Over a period of one week or more, the plant is exposed to increasing intervals of time outdoors (to minimize shock).

Where in GE are you? We used to live in Bavarian City of Meunchen.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.

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