Gardening Magazine

Citrus Info for the Holidays-Calamondins

By Thecitrusguy @SCCitrusguy
     As I prepare to make a permanent move to North Carolina, I would like to assure folks that I will still be The Citrus Guy and available for questions and some lectures. This move will give me a chance to prove how well my book, "How to Grow Citrus Practically Anywhere" really does work. Which is available online via the link.
      I will, however, basically be starting over with my own collection, due to the fact that I currently live in Charleston County, South Carolina and with the Quarantines in place, I sold all of my trees. Not to fear though, the Southeastern Cold Hardy Citrus Expo (follow them on Facebook) is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and I plan on getting a bunch of seeds there.
     I also have a few friends online that I like to order from. One of which is my good friends at Lemon Citrus Tree the other is Stan McKenzie, also a good friend of mine and he can be found at McKenzie Farms
     One of the trees/seeds that I will be in search of is a Calamondin. It was my very first citrus tree that I got back when I first started this whole Citrus obsession. It is also known as Calamansi.
     What is a Calamondin you ask?
     Most likely of Chinese origin. Botanically it is × Citrofortunella microcarpa making it a Kumquat hybrid. The Calamondin is thought to basically be an Orangequat resulting from a cross between a sour, loose skinned Mandarin and the Kumquat. The peel is thin and smooth, yellow to yellow-orange and easily separable. It was introduced in Florida in 1899.
They look like this:
Citrus Info for the Holidays-Calamondins                                             Image courtesy of Brite Leaf Citrus Nursery
     Calamondins make excellent container-grown specimens and the fruit can be used for many things. Marmalades, Chutneys, or they can be halved or quartered and served with iced tea, seafood and meats, Some people boil the sliced fruits with cranberries to make a tart sauce. They were commonly used in Florida before limes became plentiful.
     My favorite use is to substitute it for lime or lemon juice and make gelatin salads, desserts, custard pies or chiffon pie. A Calamondin Meringue Pie is my ultimate favorite. You eat the entire fruit, peel and all.
     Calamondins are usually fairly easy to obtain. If you can't find one, check with your Citrus growing friends or look online. Calamondin trees may be easily grown from seeds or as rooted cuttings. You can easily get fruit within 4-5 years from seed and as early as 2 years from cuttings.
     The flowers are self-fertile and require no cross-pollination. They are as cold-hardy as the Satsuma orange. The tree seems able to tolerate a wide range of soils. There is also the possibility of having ripe fruit and flowers at the same time. When it comes to growing them, treat these tasty little fruits just as you would any other Citrus tree.
There is even a Variegated Version:
Citrus Info for the Holidays-Calamondins                                     Image Courtesy of Four Winds Growers citrus nursery.
     The fruit is variegated when it is young, but will turn orange when ripe. I have discovered that the seeds from the variegated variety almost always seem to come up albino, so they don't seem to work well. Best to buy these plants or vegetatively propagate them.
     I have had both of these trees and really enjoyed the fruit they produced. Hopefully, this will entice you to find them and grow one for yourself! I have listed a few of my favorite places to obtain citrus trees from throughout this article,  please contact any of them for your citrus needs and tell them "The Citrus Guy" sent you.
     The holidays are coming and my book and a citrus tree or two might just make the perfect gift!
     If you have any questions about this or any of my other writings, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected]
You can follow me on Facebook
And check out my recently redesigned Website.
Happy Growing!

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog