Mandarin Orange Growing Guide

Citrus reticulata

Mandarin Orange

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Very limited. Mandarin oranges are semi-tropical trees with little tolerance for cold.


Feed twice a year by spreading a balanced organic fertilizer over the root zone of the tree.


Single Plants: 19' 8" (6.00m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 19' 8" (6.00m) with 19' 8" (6.00m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Better mandarin orange cultivars are grafted onto sour orange rootstocks to improve vigor and pest resistance. Set out purchased plants in late winter or early spring, setting the plant so the root ball is 1 inch (2 cm) above the soil line. Water deeply every 10 days during periods of dry weather. Mandarin oranges are self-fertile so can be grown as single specimens. In containers, plant mandarin oranges in the largest planter you can manage if you live in a cold climate where the plant will be brought indoors in winter.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Native to China and Japan, mandarin oranges are semi-tropical trees with thorny branches. The upright trees grow to 20 feet (6 m) or more, so it is difficult or impossible to provide temporary cold protection for them. Young mandarin orange trees need regular pruning to help them grow into a balanced shape. Prune these little trees in late winter, after the fruits have been harvested but before blooming begins.


Mandarins turn bright orange as they ripen. Sample large fruits for flavor, and harvest before fruits start falling to the ground. Clip fruits from the tree to avoid tearing holes in the delicate rinds. Keep harvested fruits in a cool place.


Several root rot diseases, leaf miners and other insects affect mandarin oranges, but single plants in home landscapes often outgrow minor problems.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Mandarin Orange