Dwarf Orange Tree: Growing & Care Guide

Dwarf Orange Tree


Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Rutaceae
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Watering: Regular watering
Colors: Green leaves, orange fruits
Size: From 6 feet to 12 feet tall.
Hardiness Zones: 8-11 (USDA)
Soil Type: Well-structured, with good drainage
Soil pH: 6 -7.
Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings
Toxicity: Non-toxic. Animals recoil leaves

A Dwarf orange tree opens doors to people who always wanted homegrown fruit but didn’t have enough space. It is true, and now you don’t need a big yard to grow your dwarf citrus trees. They can grow inside or outside in a large planter pot. These orange trees require a little effort on your part. So if you have a little time and can handle a loose schedule, growing a dwarf orange tree will add fragrance, color, and juicy fruit no matter where you live.

If you’re looking to grow your fresh fruit at home, but don’t have a lot of space, then dwarf orange trees are an excellent option. Growing a dwarf orange tree can be a rewarding experience that doesn’t require too much work. These trees can be grown indoors and outdoors in a planter pot, making them ideal for small gardens or balconies. Start by purchasing a young tree already established to avoid the lengthy wait for seed growth. Provide your tree with ample sunlight for at least 8 hours a day, and be sure to feed it and water it regularly, but not excessively. A regular schedule for fertilizing and maintaining soil moisture is essential for sweet and juicy fruit.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about growing and caring for your dwarf orange tree, from choosing the right tree and planting it to providing it with the right amount of sunlight and water to fertilizing and pruning it. We’ll also discuss some common problems you might encounter and how to deal with them so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all year round.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, our comprehensive guide to growing and caring for dwarf orange trees will surely provide valuable information and tips. So keep reading to learn more about these delightful plants and how to grow fresh, juicy oranges at home.


Dwarf orange trees are great for small spaces, and can be grown indoors or outside in a planter pot. They need ample sunlight, regular watering and feeding, and a schedule for fertilizing and maintaining soil moisture.

Dwarf Orange Tree

About your Dwarf Orange Tree

Dwarf orange trees are part of the dwarf citrus tree family that also include lemons and limes. They have a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient China, where they were prized for their medicinal properties and used to treat various ailments. Over time, they spread to other parts of the world, including the Mediterranean and South America, and became a popular crop for commercial and home growers.

They were grafted into smaller rootstock to stunt their growth. Their height is only about 3 to 8 feet, perfect for a sunny spot inside, on a patio, or in a small yard. Yes, that may seem tall but a full size tree outside grows to at least 18 to 22 feet in height.  Having a dwarf is beneficial because you get full size citrus on a small tree. This means now you can home grow fruits in any size yard or home. Thank you to who figured out how to create these smaller versions of citrus trees!


Dwarf orange trees are a small version of the citrus family, with a long history in China. They grow up to 8 feet, perfect for small spaces and produce full-size fruit.


How to Grow a Dwarf Orange Tree

Growing your tree is pretty low maintenance. It has some preferences but nothing that will take up much time. If you want fruit sooner buy a young tree rather than seeds.

Growing Dwarf Orange Trees from Seeds

Trees that Grow from seeds will take about three years before you have fruit to eat so patience is key. No matter where your tree is, it likes sun. So plant it outside, in a container, or inside near a window with the maximum amount of sun exposure. Then keep the soil moist, well drained, and fertilize regularly. With these steps you will have homegrown fruit which is always tastier than store bought. 

To get started, collect the seeds from a ripe orange and remove the flesh from around the seed. Then, plant the seeds in a well-draining potting mix and keep the soil moist but not overly wet. The seeds should germinate in about two to three weeks, and once the seedlings have two sets of leaves, you can transplant them into individual pots. As the trees grow, be sure to provide them with plenty of sunlight and keep the soil moist. It’s important to note that not all dwarf orange trees grown from seeds will produce fruit, as they may not have been propagated using the best genetics. For best results, consider purchasing a young, established tree instead of growing from seeds.


To grow a Dwarf Orange Tree, buy a young tree rather than seeds to get fruit sooner. Plant it in a well-draining potting mix, keep the soil moist, and provide it with plenty of sunlight. It’s better to purchase a young, established tree than growing from seeds.

Propagating your Dwarf Orange Tree

Once you have a thriving tree if you want more, propagate it from softwood cuttings rather than seeds. What are softwood cuttings? They come from branches that are not brand new or too old and dried out. You can tell if a branch is a good candidate to cut from when they snap if you bend them. New ones just bend and ones that are too old are brittle. Once you find the right aged branches and cut them take the lowest set of leaves off. Then plant in a small pot with potting soil & fertilizer. Place the pot in a sunny window. If you attempt to grow more trees from your own seeds you will probably not get any fruit.


To propagate your dwarf orange tree, use softwood cuttings from non-new, non-dried-out branches. Remove the lower leaves, plant in a pot with potting soil and fertilizer, and keep in a sunny window. Propagating from seeds may not produce fruit.

Growing Dwarf Orange Tree Indoors

Not many people know that Dwarf Orange trees can grow indoors. There are certain conditions that you need to meet so that you can bring them indoors in Winter and can grow them year around. The great news is all dwarf trees grow well in pots so that you can move them from your garden to your home and avoid damage from freezing temperatures. They need tons of light so place them in a warm and well-lit room in your home, near a window or in a sunroom. The tree will keep growing slowly while indoors until you take it outside. The ideal temperature for growing Dwarf Orange trees indoors is 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26 Celsius). In Winter, with the heaters on, be careful with soil drainage. You will need to keep misting it regularly and keep the soil moist.


Dwarf Orange trees can grow indoors with proper conditions, such as plenty of light and warmth. They can be moved from the garden to the home in pots to avoid freezing temperatures. The ideal temperature for growing indoors is 50-80°F. Soil drainage and moisture must be maintained, especially in winter with heaters on.

Dwarf Orange Tree

Dwarf Orange Tree varieties

The Dwarf orange tree is one of the varieties of the Dwarf citrus and there are many types within this subset. Some are the following:

  • Calamondins are fragrant and produce fruit year round. They are a hybrid of a mandarin and kumquat. Their intriguing texture and scrumptious sweet and sour flavor are a favorite.
  • Valencia – Valencia oranges are a well-known variety that is prized for its juicy, sweet flavor. They are typically harvested in late spring to early summer.
  • Tangerines are also a mandarin hybrid. Their fruit is sweet and the peel is firm. Have patience with these ones as it takes up to 1 ½ years for fruit.
  • Clementines are a favorite with kids because they are small and easy to peel. Plus, they are almost seedless. You can catch their sweet scent as you walk by.
  • Owari Satsuma are perfect seedless options for colder climates.  These trees are often grown in the southern United States.
  • Cara Cara – Dwarf Cara Cara oranges are a newer variety that has gained popularity in recent years. They have a pinkish-red flesh and a sweet, slightly tangy flavor. They are typically harvested in mid-winter to early spring.
  • Blood Orange – Dwarf Blood oranges are known for their deep red flesh and distinctive flavor. They are typically harvested in late winter to early spring.
  • Dwarf navel orange tree are sweet and don’t have seeds and can grow 3 1/2 to 6 feet (90 to 180 cm) in size.
  • Dwarf Hamlin – Hamlin oranges are a seedless variety that is prized for its sweet flavor and easy-to-peel skin. They are typically harvested in late fall to early winter.


Dwarf Orange Trees are part of the Dwarf citrus family, which include many types such as Calamondins, Valencia, Tangerines, Clementines, Owari Satsuma, Cara Cara, Blood Orange, Dwarf navel orange, and Dwarf Hamlin. Calamondins are a hybrid of mandarin and kumquat, Valencia oranges are sweet, Tangerines are firm with sweet fruit, Clementines are small and easy to peel, Owari Satsuma is perfect for colder climates, Cara Cara has pinkish-red flesh, Blood Oranges have deep red flesh, and Dwarf Hamlin is seedless with a sweet flavor.

Dwarf Orange Tree

Caring for Dwarf Orange Trees

Watering and Pruning

Some water but not too much make your tree happy. You want to keep the soil of your dwarf orange tree moist although not soaked. If they sit in water the trunk starts to rot. Also, if you let the soil dry out too much you may get oranges that split from dehydration. Then your homegrown fruit will lose it’s deliciousness. It is a balance but not a difficult one. Stay on a watering schedule for your tree to keep the moisture consistent and grow fruit that is juicy.

Yes, prune your dwarf orange tree! Dwarf orange trees are not all that “dwarf” at all. If you don’t want a 10 foot tree prune them to control the height to what works for your space.  Also, cutting off all dead branches and thinning the plant to the 3 strongest trunks will help it thrive. Plus if you want to help your plant grow strong pinch the flowers the first year. This will prevent it from producing fruit just that first year and it will use all its energy to grow. Pinching the first year is  not required, although if you do the following years your tree will have more oranges.


To keep your dwarf orange tree healthy, ensure the soil is moist but not soaked and stay on a watering schedule. Prune the tree to control the height, remove dead branches, thin the plant to the three strongest trunks, and pinch flowers the first year to help the tree grow strong.

Soil and Fertilizer

Dwarf orange trees are a little particular about where their roots are buried. They can handle a variety of soils but the most important rule is that it is well drained. Organic matter is their favorite. If you are up to the challenge of creating your own soil mixture include sand, peat moss, vermiculite, and non manure compost. Also a ph level of 5.5 to 6.5 is best for them. If it’s anything outside this you may see nutrient deficiencies.

Your trees will appreciate fertilizer on a regular basis. Give them the food they want and you will have stronger and healthier dwarf trees than if you only water them. When they are growing, in warmer climates, fertilize them a couple of times a month to help them along. Winter, requires less food; more like every 4 to 6 weeks. One important factor is to keep the fertilizer off the leaves so they don’t burn in the sun. It only goes on the base of your orange tree and soil surrounding your plant.


Dwarf orange trees prefer well-drained soil with organic matter and a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5. Regular fertilizer is necessary for healthy growth, especially during the growing season. Fertilize every 2 weeks in warm weather and every 4-6 weeks in winter, making sure not to get fertilizer on the leaves.

Dwarf Orange Tree


Dwarf orange trees are sun worshippers. Plant your tree in the sunniest part of your yard or right in front of a southern facing window if it is inside. Give them at least 8 hours of brightness. If you don’t they may not produce fruit and isn’t that the reason you have the tree? To get homegrown fruit.


The exciting part of owning a dwarf orange tree is harvesting the fruit you’ve spent time caring for. They start off green and turn orange when ripe. Yet, that is not a the only indicator of their readiness. You can also look for a waxy shine on the rind and squeeze to feel if the skin has softened a little. Although, the best way to tell is to pick one and taste it. Clip or twist it off to prevent damage to the branch. If it is ripe you can pick the rest and enjoy. If it is not ripe leave the fruits on the tree and wait until they are fully ripe before you pick anymore. Why you ask? They do not continue to ripen or get sweeter once you pick them. When you do pick them you can store the ones you don’t eat right away at room temperature for about 2 weeks.


Dwarf orange trees require at least 8 hours of sunlight daily for fruit production. Harvesting is done when the oranges are green with a shiny rind, soft skin, and a sweet taste. Picking one fruit to test is advisable before harvesting the whole tree. Ripe oranges can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks.



This sweet smelling, fruit bearing orange tree attracts many pests. Aphids, spider mites, scale, and more like to enjoy your dwarf oranges as much as you do. You can control these better if your tree is inside. If you don’t want them around, and we are sure you don’t, spray dormant oil in the early spring. Then you can spray new growth with a horticultural spray.


Dwarf orange trees are susceptible to various pests like aphids and spider mites, which can be controlled by using dormant oil and horticultural spray in early spring.


Dwarf orange trees you to grow your own fruit even if you live in cramped quarters. When starting off buy an established tree in a container as seeds will take many years to grow into a plant you can harvest fruit from. They like consistent moisture in their soil but not soaking wet. A watering and fertilizing schedule makes it easy to ensure they thrive. Pruning is needed, but not difficult, to keep the size right for your space. Plus, importantly noted, an abundance of sun keep these trees happy and healthy.  Whether you are a new or expert gardener, you can enjoy the sweet smell and satisfying taste of home grown fruit.Are you ready to grow your own oranges? The task is not hard and is immensely rewarding. Share this article with your friends and you can all become avid citrus growers.

Table of Contents