For oranges, the ideal winter temperature range is 35º-50º F.
Mature, dormant trees have survived 10 hours at temperatures below 25ºF. Young trees may be killed outright by even brief frosts.
Regular lemon trees lose their leaves at 22º- 24ºF, 20ºF will severely damage the wood. Flowers and young fruits are killed by 29ºF and nearly mature fruits are badly damaged below 28ºF.
The Meyer Lemon stops growing at 54ºF, and isn't winter-hardy where temperatures fall below 25ºF.
Most citrus here usually needs to be grown indoors in winter.
I think there was a bunch of stuff outside using all of the micro climate tricks. And I think they also had a big greenhouse.
I've also seen bananas grown as yard trees in Seattle and now Tacoma too. One year at Seattle's Home and Garden Show, the Seattle Tilth had a display with a banana. Everyone was asking questions. If I remember correctly, the advice was to keep it in a Big pot (warmer than in the ground) and then move it in for the winter (?....)
Also, Seattle is a *tad* warmer than Orcas.
About citrus, I've never seen anyone growing them outdoors in this climate. I'm impressed that Paul heard about with gig with greenhouses. I'd love to see it!
Just with the 'indoors' thing I've definitely had trouble. A high school teacher gave me a lemon years ago, I killed it. And now my housemate has a lime, and it looks like its dying the same terrible death.
It looks like: cold room, not much sun, leaf loss (though there's still fruit And flowers), and then leaves just don't grow back and the sucker is dead.
I'm sad for the lime right now. But it's just a pretty cold house (the room is usually between 45 degrees and 65) And poorly planned, main room faces north.
If the bathroom was bigger I'd put it in there. It faces south and will be nice and humid after people take showers.
But I want to make sure there'll be enough room for folks to get out of the shower without getting impaled by one of the lime's sharp thorns. Youch!
That definitely would make me unpopular among my housemates!
Anyone have any suggestions for keeping citrus alive indoors in a regular house?
We also have some hoophouses out back. But they're colder than the house.
McKenzie Farms (SC)
Is Cold-Hardy Citrus a Myth? http://members.fortunecity.com/pjsauber/CitrusMyths.htm
Rolling River Nursery (N CA- permie farm)
Hardy bananas -- there are some, but I don't think they're the bananas we buy at the grocery store.
Musa basjoo is the hardiest that I've heard of. Musaella lasiocarpa and Musa sikkimensis are listed as hardy, but they probably aren't as hardy as M. basjoo.
If you're familiar with concrete/garden artists Little and Lewis on Bainbridge Island [http://www.littleandlewis.com/], they have Musa basjoo in the ground there.
I've read (GardenWeb, I think) that even hardy bananas are sensitive to cold when they're young, and must be HEAVILY mulched. Once they're established, they are more hardy. There is one that grows in the ground in Tumwater, WA, year after year. And I think they're heavy feeders, too.
These hardy citrus are mostly hybreds with genus poncirus.These hybreds were made by the USDA in the 90's.I guess hardiness isnt everything.
You can grow hardy citrus outdoors in areas of Western Washington. I have attached a document about growing sub-tropicals outside in Coastal B.C. It comes from Bob & Verna Duncan at Fruit Trees & More Nursery in Sidney, B.C. I haven't been to their site, but I've heard it is going off with pomegranates, pineapple guavas, & citrus. Trying their tricks seems like it would be a good start. If you're in Canada I'd suggest supporting them by buying your plant material from them.
If you'd like to see another example there is a wonderful farm in Enumclaw called Rockridge Orchards (http://rockridgeorchards.com/default.aspx). I encounter these guys at the Columbia City Farmers Market frequently. They sell a wide variety of asian pears, hard ciders, and fresh bamboo shoots amongst other things. They specialize in exotic crops for niche markets. They have hundreds of different ethnic offerings including sansho, yuzu (a hardy Japanese citrus), and bananas. The owner once told me that they grew the Musa basjoo bananas for the leaves. They market banana leaves for plate liners at fancy Asian restaurants and for tamales at Central American restaurants. They also do very well with their bamboo. When the market for nursery stock is up they dig a lot of clumps. When the nursery market is down they harvest poles and fresh shoots (not commonly found fresh here). I'm eager to check out their place, but I haven't made it there yet either.
Out at the Bullocks we had Musa basjoo growing outside for many years until they went into the shade. Now we have a clump in out greenhouse. When it gets big enough we plan to put it out somewhere in full sun. We also have a citrus growing outside that has been there for about 10 years. I believe it is a citrangequat from Oregon Exotics Nursery (which is no longer in business as far as I can tell). It hasn't flowered yet, but I intend to take some experimental measures this spring to try and remedy that (boron and nitrogen application). Anyway, even though it hasn't fruited it keeps kicking. The yuzu should be hardy enough to do it outside as well (I've heard it is of comparable hardiness to trifoliate orange, which is often used as a rootstock for hardy citrus).
Anyway, that's what I've got. Enjoy the attached document and report your successes!
"There exist cold hardy citrus and good tasting citrus, but there are no good tasting, cold hardy citrus. They are trying to sell citrus rootstock with terrible tasting fruit as edible. Oregon Exotics describes Morton citrange as about as flavor of the comman navel orange, sweet as tangelos and edible out of hand. J Stewart Nagle in his book "Citrus for the Gulf Coast" (he describes hundreds of cold hardy citrus hybrids) describes citranges as small, bitter, sour, astringent and approaching ediblity by sneaking up on it from behind... Caution: even cold hardy citrus can be killed below 24F. Cold hardy citrus can survive colder temperatures only for short periods of time. For example, satsuma can survive 18-20F for a few hours if the temperature warms to above freezing quickly. In the December 1983 and 1989 freezes in the Houston Texas area, where it was below freezing for 4 days straight and hit lows of 10F, even cold hardy citrus were killed to the ground, rootstock and all never to re-grow. Beware, OE sells both rooted cuttings and seedling citrus. Cuttings can bear fruit in 2 years but seedlings may take 10-15 years or more to bear."
I cant really accept southwest walls,big overhangs,christmas lights,boron and nitrogen applications,and located in unique protected PNW microclimates as "able to grow outdoors in Western WA".If someone reading this lives in a nice microclimate and has the above available to them(not to mention the extra time and money to try an experiament)then go for it.If you are on a limited budget of time and money and are trying to be as self sufficiant as possible in the shortest amount of time then I gotta say forget it.How about some citrus substitutes.Some wormwoods,southernwoods(artimesia) have citrus flavors.Sumac(rhus)flowers can sub as "lemon aid".Quince has some citrus taste. And what about seaberry?Any other ideas out there?
I would agree with this. There are perfectly good nutrionally equivalent "substitutes"(ha, I would consider the foreign citrus to be the substitute), outside of a fun experiment challenge(which are indeed fun, nothing "wrong" with it) the work/resources involved for what you get would just be too much. There are plenty of other things that grow "like weeds" here for less effort and resource--berries, lemon balm for flavor etc. This kinda goes in the "why pound sand" category, on a practical every day level.
I'm sure sun would be the biggest factor, it would be easier east of the mountains. Easy enough to greenhouse something up, but full long hot sun is hard to replicate.
Maybe Sepp has some sweet spot rainshadow effect in the Alps too? I can't imagine he gets much snow like up in the cascades--I mean we think "mountains" when we hear Alps, and pix indeed look precipitous. What is his snowpack/annual rainfall? elevation?
I am not sure of the range of Satsuma, but generally I think many of the Japanese citrus are relatively cold-hardy and tasty. Much of Japan is mild & wet temperate climate. Should be able to work in places in PNW, though lack of sunlight may be an issue.
hasn't fruited and probably won't for another five or more years. the only fresh yuzu of any kind I've had was at a Japanese restaurant, and it was used as seasoning. but it is a citrus and does just fine here. so citrus growing outside in Western Washington is doable.
Citrus growers accomplished some amazing feats of marketing: when I was an infant, my mother's nutritionist insisted that lemonade wouldn't provide vitamin C, only orange juice or fresh oranges.
I'm definitely not in the camp of Linus Pauling on this one: we adapted long ago, to have the option of using uric acid as our workhorse antioxidant if we don't eat enough ascorbic.
That said, citrus is nice to have.
paul wheaton wrote:I also think that Sepp has some other secrets of his own.
Really? Why keep them secret?
Care to speculate on what sorts of secret? Maybe some stimulus that allows the plants to pre-adapt, or a shelter that draws hibernating moles to the trunk and keeps it warm? Or just subtle details of placement that aren't worth the effort to express, when most of his audience can't yet get the basics right?
Hope it works for you; I'll be giving it a try this year too.
I don't know what cultivar we have up here on Vancouver Island, but we did eat some kiwis very late last fall .
I have two Owari Satsuma trees that are planted in the ground and have survived the last 3 winters undamaged, despite nights with temps of 10-20F (-12 -7C) through December to late January.
What works for me is that I build a small "row house" over the two trees I have in late fall. This is basically a wood "A" frame with plastic sheet on the front (South) and sides and foil bubble insulation on the back/North side.
This is on a slight embankment and the trees are in a slight recess on this embankment.
On the inside there is a stacked rock wall that is on the sides and back of the recess. This is to store sun heat during the day.
I also put a couple of bales of hay inside to store heat.
The "back up" heat consists of (2) 40watt bulbs in clamp lamps, one over each tree. If the temperature falls below 30F / 0C inside then a greenhouse thermometer switches the lights on.
On very cold nights in the teens, I also put blankets over the front plastic to keep heat in. The lights really only come on if the temps fall more than 5-10 degrees below freezing outside the shelter.
On the other hand, to keep the trees from getting TOO WARM (and coming out of dormancy) I put automatic basement vents in the sides of the shelter. At 70F / 21C these are fully open and allow air to circulate through.
(Mild sunny days in the winter can equal temps over 100F / 38C inside shelter if not vented)
All of this may sound like too much work or overkill, but really most of the work was the first year, now it only takes a few hours one day late each fall to set all this up. Most cold hardy citrus pioneers recommend ANY tree be well protected in the first 3 years in ground, mature trees are much more hardy than younger ones.
I figure in the future I will be able to dispense with some protective measures as my trees get larger.
I have about 7 poncirus/citrus trifoliata trees and these are completely unprotected and have not been damaged at all.
I just purchased a citrangequat and planted it early this Spring, regardless that this is one of the most cold hardy citrus known, I plan to build a little plastic tee-pee over it this winter to "baby" it a bit through its first winter.
It would be nice to find out exactly what sepp holzer does to grow citrus in the Alps, as nothing I have seen makes it very clear. It seems from some of his videos that the implication is that he plants them in his terraces close to the wall, and surrounds them with rock and boulders to store heat.
He may use some fresh compost around them to make use of the heat generated by decomposition. I don't know of any shelter that he may use over them though...
Something else I believe he may do is simply grow many trees in various places and with various methods, the ones that are not hardy enough or protected correctly are weeded out by winter, the ones left are the ones he concentrates on. Of course this could get expensive, so I assume he is growing his own seedling trees.
I personally am growing Kumquat and Mandarins from seed so that I can have some "free" trees to experiment with in the next winters to come.
you can also grow hardy citrus like the kumquat and calomondin. the calomondin we have is planted out as if it were a fruit tree. it takes the weather, the snow and keeps on going. it produces small very tart citrus fruits which make an excellent drink and the juice is good in cooking. it also helps the calomondin yields extremely well.
i still prefer when i plant new citrus to plant them in sheltered spots as mentioned above. theres nothing like coming out on a January winter morning, its really cold outside, and picking a nice cold orange for juice.
john mentions a good point. older plants handle much much better to the cold. with more sensitive smaller plants are better overwintered in pots in a greenhouse or inside, once they are old enough they go outside.
They discuss the possibility of growing citrus in the PNW.
In Eastern WA, this might be different, since clear-skied winters mean more solar income. But, you've got lower air temps, and occasional snow to deal with.
My strategy is currently calamondin in a large pot indoors during the bulk of the year, and outside during late summer and autumn (especially this paltry summer). Also, kefir lime grown just for the leaves as a spice. Future plans include a very small, high thermal mass greenhouse (I'm in Madison Valley Seattle, with limited room) with rocket mass heater to artificially raise interior air temps through the winter. I'm hoping this will allow bigger crops of fruit.
But most importantly, I'm growing these citrus as spices, not for juice. Leaves and rinds have less trouble developing -- it's the sugars in the fruit that need heat (even straight trifolate orange rind, or unripe calamondin have interesting flavor). So I concentrate on growing these spices, and figure out other ways to get sweet fruit juices where I'm not fighting nature so hard.
For breakfast juice for example, I've had luck with apple-aronia. Has some of that sweet-tartness of oranges, as well as vitamin C and folates. You can make a bunch, and freeze it, and it keeps pretty well.
Then we built a lean-to greenhouse on the back wall of an unheated garage, and put tender stuff there in the winter (Nov to Apr, approx), and tried to keep it above freezing.... with some slip ups.
Then out to the back of the house, facing south. It has blossomed and fruited for years with this regimen. The pot is on a wheeled platform - WD 40 lubricated
I did repot it and made some mistake in the soil, as it yellowed and looked to be dying last summer for several months. With iron and fertilizer (including urine, recommended by Bob Flowerdew , it started going again... deep green leaves, flowers, and now it has lots of little lemons in the greenhouse, which will ripen next year.
They are very tough trees, in my experience. Also, pineapple guava fruits, and I've got a loquat to test I think Raintree et al have yuzu for sale... may try that.
nancy sutton wrote: Also, pineapple guava fruits, and I've got a loquat to test I think Raintree et al have yuzu for sale... may try that.
Loquat and yuzu are fairly hardy. They grow outdoors north of Tokyo, which is humid, mild temperate. Occasional snow in winter, but also a long, warm growing season. Yuzu is more of a flavoring than an eating fruit - definitely a unique and wonderful flavor. In japanese cuisine it is often used in broths, sauces and dressings.