Citrus in VA

redfoxvaJuly 22, 2010

Hi there, I am an amateur gardener in coastal virginia who wishes to grow some citrus, especially hard to find varieties. I am planning on potting a Moro Blood Orange Dwarf from Four Winds growers, can anyone recommend them? My other question is, I know somewhat beaten to death, is the possibility of growing Yuzu or Satsuma here. We rarely get below 0ºF here for extended periods, but have VERY hot summers with several days of 101ºF a year. I can see Yuzu being very hardy here, with adequate protection for a few years (Mulching, X-mas lights and even frost covers) But satsuma would be good too. I want to know if anyone else has attempted this, and any advice ?

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Check out the link below for info in yuzu and satsuma in SC.

Four Winds has a very good reputation.

Here is a link that might be useful: mckenzie farms

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:25AM
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If you have good soil and a good microclimate (south side of building, etc.), I bet you could pull it off the Sasuma in coastal Va. Also, you might consider kumquats--very hardy, pest resistant (especially compared to true Citrus), and relatively miniature so even easier to protect in the event of rare, extreme cold.--They, like the Satsuma also are known for holding on to their fruit for a long time. I love them! Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 8:45AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey there, Redfox!

I live in Mandarin country, here in the California foothills, and it definitely
breaks 100°F every summer. Our cold (18°F this winter) isn't as cold as yours, though,
so you'll need a protection plan.

I bought my first citrus this spring - a Four Winds Blood orange - and I couldn't be happier.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:46AM
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I live in zone 7b (Raleigh NC) and there are quite a few people growing citrus outdoors. Some protect them with fancy pipe and plastic sheeting structures some just cage them with fenching wire panels and wrap them in plastic, others do very little. A lot of citrus can handle the winter cold. The tree may survive but the fruit won't. Most citrus bloom in the winter and the fruit take all year to ripen, so most are winter ripening also. All of the zone-pushing citrus growers I know end up rushing out to harvest unripe fruit most winters - that's a lot of lemonade and not a lot of sweet eating fruit. It appears that once every 5 years a decent harvest can be had with minimal winter protection.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 11:23AM
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I reside in Maryland just outside of DC and am in the formative stages of doing the same thing as you.

Firstly, 4 Winds is great. I bought 3 trees from them including a Yuzu. No gripes.

I also have a Thomasville Cintrangequat that I procured from Stan at McKenzie Farms. I also recommend Stan. Great guy. I am also going to procure a Morton Cintrange and a Citrumelo from him.

I am pontificating on a Satsuma or a second Yuzu.

My strategy is to spread the risk. The three from McKenzie should, all things being equal, eventually adapt and maybe stand on their own. The Yuzu might need permanent protection. The Satsuma would certainly need it forever.

I would like to plant them next spring. I am experienced in protecting palms, but now I would have double the number to nurture.

If you do not mind protecting trees yearly, then the answer is yes. Where are you exactly? I imagine your climate is milder than mine. All these trees do fine in Virginia Beach for instance.

Do a search and there is a guy here who has planted a Yuzu and a Thomasville in DC.

The Yuzu fascinates me. Not sure why as I did not even know it existed until about 5 months ago.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:03PM
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Good luck. 10F for 24 hours will kill all citrus hardy or not. You will have to protect for freezes of any sort for longer than 8 hours or less than 20F.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cold hardy citrus, a myth?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 1:55PM
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Thank you MrTexas. If citrus would reliably survive outside in cold, temperate climates like Virginia, you would see them in yards everywhere as you drive down the street. Minimum temperatures may be similar, but the winters are considerably milder in south Georgia, south Alabama and South Mississippi as compared to coastal Virginia. We have fewer cold days and nights and they are interspersed with warm days and nights. You don't see citrus growing in our yards because eventually they will be killed.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 9:54PM
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I think a bit of clarity is needed here.

If someone in Zone 7 is going to attempt a grove of Navel Oranges, Key Limes, Bearrs Limes or similiar, yes, the result is not going to be a death sentence.

However, there are many cold hardy varities that stand more than a decent chance in Zone 7 especially when you are willing to use winter protection. In fact, you might even be able to grow some of the better varities if your protection is top notch. (Ex- there is a fella on here growing Meyer Lemons outside in Massachusetts.) And I would note the winter protection is also necessary in Florida and other traditional citrus producing regions.

The drawback, vividly described on Mr Texas' link, is that these hardy varities do not taste very good. You can use them for cooking. But citrus they are. The appeal lies in the ornamental aspects as well as the challenge of it.

A search will reveal folks growing Yuzu, Citrumelos, and Thomasvilles in Zone 7. It goes without saying that a Flying Dragon would grow here and probably up to Canada. Then there is the aforementioned grower in Massachusetts as well as one in Illinois.

So the correct answer to this is like many others- It Depends.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:48PM
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I meant to say, "is going to be a death sentence."

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Im growing citrus some yuzus outside in sandbridge va. in my 15 years of living in va beach i have never seen the temp at my house (100 ft from the ocean) go past 18F

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 7:52PM
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