Rio Red for Toni!

eahamel(9a)April 5, 2013

Toni, here's my Rio Red grapefruit, the large bushy one in the center. To the left are the Bloomsweet (far left, that's the one that just got moved, and it's really stressed) and Ujukitsu, which is a cross between an orange and a lemon, and is very sweet. You can see the red tags still on the trunks. All 3 were planted at the same time, and were about the same size. You can see how enormous the RR has gotten, compared to the other two, and if you look carefully, you can see some grapefruit on it. I think it has about 15 left. All 3 are regular grapefruit size, though the Ujukitsu is a little smaller. You can probably get the Rio Red in grocery stores right now.

I wish you could grow citrus, Toni! They're very rewarding, and are very pest-free (except for Asian Leaf Miners), and birds, squirrels, possums, etc. leave them alone. So the citrus that are high up in tall trees will stay there until they fall off.

Could you grow the FD as a potted plant and bring indoors for winter? You can cook with citrus leaves, did you know that? Add them to soups, casseroles, stir-fries, wherever you would want some mild citrus flavor. Use them like bay leaves. And growing citrus from seed is iffy. Some will breed true, others won't, since they're all complex hybrids, so you don't know what you're going to get after a long, long wait.

Here's a link to a local nursery's citrus page, there's a lot of good info there.


Here is a link that might be useful: Buchanan's Native Plants

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Very nice Rio Red, Elizabeth. My two are doing very well, and have given us some really outstanding grapefruits. Very sweet.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Sorry, I didn't see your thread.

Wow, your RR is absolutely gorgeous..It's so full and tall!
I can only imagine the amount of fruit RR produces.

Wonder why your other trees, 'since they were planted the same day,' didn't grow at similar speed...

You'd be surprised, how much faster a plant can get, depending on direction.
Example. I planted two Yuccas out front. Both were the same size, planted the same day.
They get south, west and north sun, planted 10-12' apart. The Yucca, south of the second is approximately 5 times larger. It also produces taller flower stalks and more in quantity.
Do you think your RR is blocking sunlight?

When you said, 'you can probably get RR in your stores,' were you talking about fruit or trees?

Elizabeth, I have about 20 citrus trees. Problem is, they're all in containers. (Nowhere as beautiful as your trees.)
No in-ground citrus in I wish!

They're summered outdoors, and oh yes, wildlife love munching fruits..Squirrels are the worse. They literally knock down pots to get Except for the largest citrus trees..In that case, they manage to jump into containers, stand on their hind legs, and reach the lowest fruit. lol..They particularly enjoy Mandarin and Kumquats.

My oldest was purchased 1994. I quit buying citrus when FL's ban started in 2006. Or was it longer?
I have a Key Lime, bought in the 90's, from a nursery in TX.
Except for Murraya paniculata, 'relative of citrus,' purchased locally, all my citrus were ordered online. I can't find 'grafted,' standard citrus in this part of IL.

When I make suggestions, my answers are based on experience with plants I have.
If I don't have 'X' plant I'd never give advice. :)

Flying Dragon was an experiment. Since the seller said it was hardy to z5, I gave it a try.
It survived our winters, but grew very very slow. Then, as I stated in the other thread, during winter while it was dormant, some Bozo cut through the garden, breaking the trunk. FD never returned.

Anyway, your Rio Red is a Show Plant! I'd be proud having a citrus as lovely as yours. Thanks for posting..Toni

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Toni, I think that fast growth is typical of RR. It really surprised me. When I mentioned getting RR in the stores, yes, I meant grocery store, sorry. I don't know that my RR is blocking sun, but maybe its root system is hindering the others. They wouldn't be as large as the RR, though. Anyway, the other tree that's too close, the Ujukitsu, is going to another home today. And the one that was moved a few weeks ago looks bad because it's dropped a lot of leaves. I think I got 3 from it this year, it's a Bloomsweet.

You're really into citrus! I have a total of 11, and one of those was stressed when I got it a couple of months ago (clementine mandarin), and it may not make it. I won't let it produce fruit this year, though it's loaded with blooms.

I'm impressed that you have a key lime. That's one thing I don't grow, because they aren't cold hardy. However, I do have a limequat, which is a cross between a lime and kumquat. It is green and oval like a lime and that's what it tastes like, and is cold hardy, so that's my lime substitute. So far, it hasn't been very productive, but that's okay, I don't use a lot of limes.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:24AM
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Morning, Elizabeth,

To be honest, I've never heard of Ujukitsu...Heck, as a matter of fact, I've never heard of Bloomsweet either. lol

Are all 11 of your citrus in-ground? Think you said a few were in pots, but will they remain in containers or will you plant them in the earth?

I agree, plants do not like being moved..especially in-ground. Repotting from container to container causes stress, but moving a plant that was growing in the earth is extremely stressful.

After your Bittersweet adapts it should do okay.
Have you heard of Superthrive? ST is a hormone w/50 vitamins.
It's natural, chemical-free.
Anyway, ST does wonders for stressed plants. Especially seedlings, cuttings or newly potted/in-ground plants.
Some people agree, others don't. I love it!

LOL., Liz. I asked what you meant about buying RR in the grocery stores. Were you talking about buying the 'fruit' or actual 'trees?' lol.

Citrus trees are hard, if not impossible to find here. That's why my citrus were ordered online.
Once in a while Home Depot sells, small Calamondins, but they want way too much money, and trees are seedlings, not grafted.

As for fruit alone, we're limitted to certain varieties. I rarely buy citrus 'fruit' anymore. They're sprayed with too many chemicals..
At the nursery then the stores. The darn stuff they spray at the store smells like Raid..Yuck! lol.

I used to eat Navel oranges one after another, but that was long ago..they're now over-priced and very bitter. 1.00+ per orange.
Stores sell unripe fruit AND veggies.

Your wrote, 'you're into citrus.' Elizabeth, I'm into all plants. lol. But, citrus are on my top 10 favorite plants
I wish we lived in z8 or higher...where citrus were hardy enough to be planted in-ground. That wish will never happen. We're stuck in IL. boo hoo. lol.

How will you disallow your mandarin from producing fruit?

I like the shape of key lime leaves. They're different.

I'm SO happy some FL nureries can FINALLY ship out of state...however, problem is, I want citrus with variegated foliage. I have two, pink variegated lemon trees. Pink Lemonade.

I've discovered, 'Google, there are other variegated citrus, but hard to find.
One nursery most of my citrus trees were purchased, 'don't know if I can mention nursery names,' only has Pink Lemonade available.
I also want Buddha's Hand, but it's out of stock.

My key lime/s took several years before fruiting. I wonder if they took longer because they're potted or naturally slow to produce???

Kumquats flower/fruit very fast and produce numerous amounts. Don't know about limequats. Maybe I'll check the nursery in Fl to see if they have limequat in stock.
They have RR available.
Getting grapefruit to fruit and ripen in IL is a very very difficult task. Summer/seasons aren't long enough.

BTW, how hardy are limequats? Are prolonged periods at 20F degrees too cold?

It's funny. Hardy differs depending on location. A hardy plant in your zone would be an annual here.

Anyway, good luck with your mandarin and Bloomsweet. Hopefully, theyll grow into large, beautiful trees. Toni

You said Ujukitsu is a cross between orange and lemon. I can't imagine what type of taste the fruit has. Is it sweet or sour?

Same w/Bloomsweet?

Think I have a grapefruit or two..During summers outside, the wind or wildlife knocks down my citrus..Many tags are lost in the process. Labels wear out.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Lots of stuff here! Great! The Ujukitsu is sweet, tastes like a white, sweet grapefruit. I'm giving it to someone because with 2 grapefruit, especially the RR, it's overkill. It's very nice, though.

There's a grower here who's always looking for something new to introduce here, that's where these oddballs came from. They trial them for several years before releasing them. I notice they aren't selling a couple of things that didn't survive our two bad freezes a few years ago, a week or so of temps in the 20's, in January of 2 years.

All of my citrus except for the keffir lime are in the ground. It's too small, about 6" tall, and was pretty stressed when I got it, so it's staying in a pot indefinitely. It may not survive our freezes. Oh, I have seedlings of FD that are in pots, they're also about 6" tall.

Yes, when I talk about getting RR in grocery stores, I mean the fruit. Though citrus trees have been showing up in some grocery stores here.

Calamondins shouldn't be too expensive, they're usually around $25 or more here. Asians use them a lot, at least for decoration since they hold the fruit for months, so some nurseries here have a lot of them. They're too sour to eat out of hand, so I don't have one. A lot of them aren't grafted.

I'll keep the mandarin from producing fruit by pinching them off when they start forming. I know it will shed most of them by itself, and any that it doesn't shed will get removed. It needs to focus on getting healthy and growing roots. Its leave are yellow instead of green, and it hasn't started growing new leaves yet, but then, most of my citrus are just beginning to leaf out.

Can nurseries in Texas ship out of state? I don't know if they can or not, but I've seen both the Buddha's Hand and variegated lemon trees locally. I don't think I've seen any other variegated citrus. I like the looks of both, but don't know what I'd do with that Buddha's Hand fruit. Think it would make good limoncello? I'm going to make some with the lemons still on my tree. Look it up, it's a really nice lemon liqueur, easy to make, too.

Key lime - is it grafted? A lot of them here aren't grafted, and that may be why it isn't producing. I don't grow limes since they won't survive a cold winter. The limequat will, though, but there's no way it would survive in your area. If you could grow kumquats in the ground, it might, though.

Bloomsweet is sweet, it's a white grapefruit. I got it because it can have an extended harvest season, going as late as May. That's here, of course.

I know what you mean about labels - I think one on a double brugmansia that I got from someone in Florida has ended up in a bird nest somewhere. A tip - if you write on the tag with a pencil, it won't fade. Everything else will.

Your grocery stores sound unimpressive. We get good produce here, not waxed, fresh, and some stores have an organic section, though it's usually too expensive. I think Whole Foods and Central Market have made them realize that there's a real interest in better produce.

Yes, I use Superthrive, and need to get another bottle. I've watered the transplanted citrus with it a couple of times. Some people swear by it, some people swear at it. But there's plenty of research to show that it is helpful. I used to grow a lot of orchids, and the people in the orchid society use it religiously when transplanting.

My newest plant adventure is hostas. I've posted a bit about them on that forum, but in short, I got one last year and enjoyed it until it died, then I just stuck another potted plant on top of the pot the hosta was in (lazy move, that). I was quite surprised a few weeks ago to discover that the hosta has resurrected itself and is growing strong! They aren't supposed to grow here, so most people who grow them grow them as annuals. I've gotten 2 more in the last week or so, and will play with these three for a while and see how they do. I love them, and really want to succeed with them.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Howdy Elizabeth,

Been working on plants since Fri. Still have 6 or so to repot..'not citrus.'

As soon as it's warm enough to set outside, every last citrus will be repotted.

It's 52F and sunny, although the sun goes in and out..A very strange spring, it is.
Anyway, hauled my Gardenia outside this morning....that poor tree has been in and out 10 or so times the last two weeks.

It's been years since I've eaten grapefruit. I used to sprinkle surgar on top, then dig in with a spoon.

My citrus and Kumqauts are more for decoration than edibles.
I do not use chemical insecticides, 'instead make up natural ingredeients,' but the fertilizer isn't organic...

Normally, I don't buy duplicate plants..if I do, the plant/s must be rare, special or a mistake.
So, can't blame you for giving away your second citrus.

Very interesting you're near a grower who experiments w/different plants.
Do they work, stickly with citrus?
What is they're goal? What are they trying to achieve?

Are your limes and FD 6"/inches or 6'/feet?

You're very lucky you reside in a climate citrus thrive in-ground.
Potted trees are nice, but don't do nearly as well as in-ground plants.

How often does it freeze there? You mentioned a freeze 2-yrs ago, so I assume it's rare for temps to drop below 32.

While misting citrus yesterday, I noticed my Calamondin isn't grafted.
Can't recall where it was purchased, but had to be locally..

Yep, Cal fruit are very sour and seedy. It's suggested the fruit are used for jams and marmalade. I guess added sugar or honey would sweeten them up.

I don't visit this forum much anymore, but the old, regulars recommended pinching first-time flowers, so the following years' fruit multiplies.

I was so thrilled when my citrus bloomed, I didn't dare remove a thing. lol.

Buddha's Hand fruit is used to make candy. I've never tasted the candy but it looks yummy.

I finally bought a couple water-proof, thin and thick-tip markers. Hopefully, they work.

Yeah, as far as produce, our stores are boring. If we drive up north, there are loads of produce shops.

Fruit is picked too early. Unripe. I rarely buy fruit..they go from hard to moldy in a matter of days.

I notice carrots, melons, asparagus and beans are picked too soon; they're hard and tasteless.

What gets me is, employess spray fresh fruit and veggies with something that smells like bug spray..Perks up an appitite. Not!

LOL..Some people swear by it, some people swear at it.
Too funny.
I swear by it.
Believe me...there are people who swear at it, call it snake oil, but add to plants secretively. lol.
Guess they want to be contrary. Debate.

Why did you give up on orchids? Too much work?

I agree.. People on GW's Orchid and Hoya forums also use ST.

Why are Hosta grown as annuals there?
There's so many different varieties.
Smaller type Hostas are very invasive. They take over. Every year I dig up hundreds, but they return.

Which types do you like? Tall, medium or short. Toni

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Hi Toni!

I would love to see pictures of your citrus trees. :-) That is awesome that you have been growing them in pots for years.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Toni, lots of questions, and I've had the Kidney Infection from Hell. Finally getting better, I think, so here goes.

The grower nearby is a large fruit tree wholesale company, see link below. They have been trialing and introducing lots of things here, especially citrus, but also avocados, and some other things. That's where my limequat came from. I can't grow limes but this is crossed with a kumquat and is a lot more cold hardy.

My FD's are about 6" tall, pretty small seedlings.

We usually have a few days that are around 32 or a little lower, but for 2 years in a row, each January, it was mid-20's for a week each time. Extremely unusual. This year, I think we had maybe 2 days total at 32 or lower, and they weren't consecutive days. Needless to say, we can't grow anything unless it's specifically bred for this area, to have low chill hour requirements.

Yes, you'd have to add a lot of sugar to calamondins if you used them for marmalade. And let it sit for several months for the flavors to blend and the contrasts to mellow.

I've never heard of pinching the first years' blooms so it will make more the next. The only thing that's ever been recommended locally is don't let citrus produce fruit the first year it's in the ground so it will grow a strong root system to support growth in the future. That works very well.

I quit growing many orchids because too many died, and phals are very susceptible to snails. I have several, but probably won't ever have a lot again. So many things are easier, such as begonias, for instance.

No one here knows you can grow hostas year-round. They aren't supposed to survive our hot summers. I had no idea, when mine died back last year, that it was dormant. Here's a pic of all of my hostas so far. The one that surprised me and resurrected itself a few weeks ago is the one in the back, Golden Tiara. The others are Warwick Essence and Seboldiana Elegans. I have no idea how large they will get. I talked to one local nurseryman about my hosta that is still alive, and he says he will have to rethink hostas, and do some research to see how well they can do here. He has several Guacamoles, and I may get one in a week or two. I like the color.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:12PM
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I typed out a message but it disappeared..Darn! lol


Yep, my citrus were adopted in the 90's, but don't expect much. Container citrus are nice but don't compare to in-ground trees.
Wish we lived in a warm climate where plants could spend the entire year outdoors... :)


Sorry you have a kidney infection. Kidney infections make one feel terrible.
I used to get kidney infections once a year, so I know how you feel. Do you have a fever?
I thought the pain was awful, until I got stones. Oh God, those little deposits are UNBELIEVABLE.

I don't see a link of the tree warehouse??? lol

Speaking of avocados. I've like to get a grafted 'cado. Ever see one?

Wish our winters were like yours. I can deal with a few weeks at 32 or a little lower.

Why can't you grow plants that aren't specifically bred for your area?

Were your orchids kept outdoors? Snails? Where on earth did they come from? lol.

You think Begonias are easier compared to Begonias?
Growing Begonias here are a chore and a half.
I don't have many Orchids..mostly Phaels. Although orchids need humidity, Begonias require a LOT more.
Something IL is lacking during winter months, no matter how much effort is done. Misting, humidifers, fountains,

You said, Hostas aren't supposed to survive your hot summers...Last summer, July and part of Augusts temps were 98-104F. Hostas were the only garden plants that didn't
I thought Hostas needed cold winter temps to survive??

Funny, I grow plants that require your climate, and you want to experiment with plants that survive in mine. The grass is always greener, lol.

I Googled zones for your Hostas. Here's what I found.

Golden Tiara...zones 3-9

Warwick Essence...zones 3-8

Sieboldiana Elegans...zones 3-9

I like your new Hostas..very pretty..Good luck.
Are they going in-ground?

Most nurseries here sell the same, old Hostas. So, most neighborhood gardens have these same varieties.
I'd like to get a couple tall, mounding, variegated Hostas, but they'd have to be ordered online.
Oh well,, that's how it goes.

Anyway, I hope you're better now, and your infection is gone. Take care, Toni

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Toni, thanks, the infection appears to be gone now, after 3 different antibiotics, trip to urologist CT-scan, which showed 2 tiny stones in each kidney, too small to treat. Infection was very uncomfortable, and I'm glad it's gone.

The problem with temperatures is that for a lot of plants that you can grow, we don't have enough winter dormancy. Hellebores, peonies, lilacs, things like that, don't survive our sweltering late spring/summer /fall temps, and if they do, we don't have enough cold winter for them to really go dormant. Temps can fluctuate from around 35 to 60 or higher, then a freeze for a couple of days, then back to mild temps for a while. And a lot of stone fruit and apples need too many chill hours in winter to produce. We never have enough cold to grow 99% of the apples that are out there. Same with plums, apricots, some peaches, and many pears.

I think plant lovers are always challenged by plants that are difficult to grow in their climates. It's part of the love of plants and learning new things about them and how they can be stretched to survive different conditions. Until I came to gardenweb, I had no idea at all that people up north were growing citrus in pots and as houseplants. Or tomatoes, peppers, and a host of other plants that we grow in the ground here.

My climate is perfect for begonias. Some people even put the cane begonias, or ones like Iron Cross in the ground. They freeze in winter and come back in spring. Mine are all in pots and I lug them inside when it freezes. Orchids are more tricky, they need to come indoors, too, so that's no more troublesome that begonias; easier, even, since their pots are smaller and lighter. But they need more frequent watering and fertilizing, and bloom occasionally. Begonias, though, are grown for their leaves, though they do have pretty blooms. BTW, did you know you can eat the blooms? They are a bit sour, but are a nice addition to salads. :) I used to have a lot of orchids outdoors, but they died over time, and I've only gotten a few since then. We have snails almost all year. They go underground and stay there when we have freezes, but the rest of the year they are busy sampling vegetable gardens, especially greens, and anything else with tender vegetation, like phals.

I'm glad that the nurseries are at least bringing in hostas that might make it here. But zone 9 frequently means California zone 9, which is not at all like Houston zone 9. I planted the Seboldiana in the ground, and it has a seedling in the pot! I thought it was another eye, but it's totally independent of the big plant and has its own root system, still pretty small. I'm going to post a pic later to the Hosta forum. I'd love to get one of the really large ones, but don't have anywhere to put anything that massive. If you want to order some, take a look at the Hosta forum. Ken posted a link to a nursery that was selling them for about $1.00 each, just to clear some of their inventory. Minimum of 10.

Here is a link that might be useful: Urban Harvest

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:10AM
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