My potted Trifoliage Orange is blooming!!! Yeah!

denninmi(8a)May 24, 2012

I had ONE bloom 2 years ago, nothing set. 2 last year. This year, several dozen blooms.

Saying prayers that some will be pollinated and set. It's said to be self-fertile, I hope they're right. Having some fruit on it would be the icing on the cake, as it is, it's an awesome if somewhat painful houseplant in the winter, outdoors in summer. The almost-sculptural quality of the bare winter branches and thorns is strikingly beautiful.

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olympia_gardener(5)

Great. Post a picture. Is it scented?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 2:41PM
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denninmi(8a)

I'll post a photo tomorrow. No, the blooms don't seem to have too much fragrance. Petals are also thin and wispy, not thick and waxy like other citrus.

And the name is TrifoliaTe, not TrifoliaGe -- just a typo on my part.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 10:15PM
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lgteacher(SCal)

Trifoliate orange is usually grown for the rootstock, and something else is grafted onto it. The fruit is not commonly eaten. Are you growing it to graft other citrus onto it?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 9:56PM
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denninmi(8a)

Finally got around to doing pictures:

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:12AM
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denninmi(8a)

"Trifoliate orange is usually grown for the rootstock, and something else is grafted onto it. The fruit is not commonly eaten. Are you growing it to graft other citrus onto it?"

No, I was originally inspired to try this plant a number of years back when there was an article in the Detroit Free Press about someone in Southfield, Michigan, about 15 miles from my house, who had had a mature, bearing tree that was originally planted in the 1960s. There were also a handful of others of the species in the Detroit area that survived our winters, including one somewhere in Ann Arbor on U of M property.

So, I bought 3 of them from Oregon Exotics and planted them, and they winterkilled to the snow line the first year, then grew back about 6 feet of new growth. I decided to make structures over them to protect them 'till they were older, and voles got in there and ate them to nothingness, no survivors.

So, I ordered 5 more from somewhere else, can't remember where, and potted them together with the intention of overwintering indoors in my garage at around 40 to 50 all winter, for 3-4 years until older.

Then, I chickened out because, having invested in this plant, I became attached to it, and every fall as I thought of planting it out, I always heard that "this upcoming winter promises to be harsh" or something along those lines.

So, I have resolved that it is just going to be a pet and live indoors in the winters.

I know my photos are poor quality, but in real life, I'm surprised at how large these flowers are, easily twice the size of an apple blossom, similar in size to the flower on a fruiting quince (Cydonia). Unfortunately, they don't seem to be fragrant to speak of, perhaps I'm trying at the wrong time of day or something.

If they set, I would be happy to make a batch of marmelade with them -- I had someone send me a USPS medium flat rate box of mature fruit from Alabama one fall to try them and see how they were. Bitter somewhat, yes, but no more so than a Seville orange, and I did use them to make marmelade, expressing the juice and using some of the rind after scraping the pith and parboiling once to get rid of some of the bitterness. It turned out pretty decent. Of course, it didn't make much, they don't have much juice, are mostly seeds, membrane, and peel.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:59AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Congrats on this! It's always a pleasant surprise to see our trees bloom, right? I'll bet your loving it :)

Mike

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 10:36AM
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lgteacher(SCal)

Thank you for satisfying my curiosity. It is a challenge to grow citrus in a cold climate, but challenges make gardening interesting. Good luck with your tree!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 2:28PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Wow thats cool. I was just reading up on "cold hardy" Citrus and Im amazed that your in Zone6.

Some people like the taste of Trifoliate and I hear it makes a great marmalade but most people consider the fresh fruit too sour or gross to eat straight from the tree. But Im all for people growing citrus in any area they can. Soon enough hopefully someone can establish a good cold hardy variety!:-)

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:03PM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

some people grow it for ornamental value. or grow it as a hedge to keep out wild animals or even trespassers.

you have a nice looking trifoliate

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 1:05AM
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denninmi(8a)

It would make an amazingly dangerous hedge in climates where it will grow. I can't see anyone being stupid enough to try to go through one. The thorns are up to three inches long, needle sharp, and when I get poked by one, it seems to burn and the wound gets very red. I don't know if the tree has some kind of irritant or toxin on the thorns, perhaps some of the aromatic oils that make citrus smell so nice, or if I'm just allergic to it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 6:27AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

denninmi, Thank for posting the pictures. Congrat for getting your tree grow into blooming size after all what happened to your intinal order. I heard they don't grow very fast, do they? Most part of MI is in zone 5, but you are lucky in the warm pocket of MI. Will you try to grow one in ground to see if it survives?

When I saw this tree, I thought it was the same plant that grew between the prince and the Sleeping Beauty.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 2:19PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

denninmi, Thank for posting the pictures. Congrat for getting your tree grow into blooming size after all what happened to your intinal order. I heard they don't grow very fast, do they? Most part of MI is in zone 5, but you are lucky in the warm pocket of MI. Will you try to grow one in ground to see if it survives?

When I saw this tree, I thought it was the same plant that grew between the prince and the Sleeping Beauty.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 2:20PM
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crispy_z7(7B-8A)

I love these Trifoliate oranges. I have about 7 that have been planted in my yard a few years, not old enough to flower yet.
A week ago I planted about 18 more in a row to start a hedge of them.

I may really be sorry I planted so many of these once they get big and wicked. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 2:34PM
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denninmi(8a)

Yes, I may try one outdoors again. I would need to do the same thing I did with this, grow indoors a few winters to get some size before committing it to the elements. Just not wimp out this time.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:05PM
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