Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world, and that’s no surprise because they’re great for many reasons. They’re deliciously juicy, great for snacking, and have fantastic health benefits! If you’re interested in growing your own oranges – we don’t blame you, we want to as well, there are some common places where orange trees grow the best – and we’re going to talk about that today!
Orange trees grow in regions with hardiness zones between 9 and 11, like the North American states of Texas, Arizona, California, and Florida. Internationally, oranges grow well in some parts of Brazil, Asia and the Mediterranean regions. Oranges typically grow best in subtropical and tropical climates.
If you love oranges as much as we do – read on to learn more about them and the 4 Most Common Places Where Orange Trees Grow!
About Oranges – A Brief History
Orange trees have a pretty rich history! You may be wondering: where exactly do oranges come from? In that case, you may be surprised to learn that despite the United States being one of the largest orange tree cultivators, oranges come from Southeast Asia. So how did they make their way around the world?
Citrus followed trade routes starting in Southeast Asia, making their way to Arabic countries, working through Africa, then to Italy and Spain.
Oranges were being used for their medicinal benefits long ago. Europeans would use oranges and other citrus to prevent scurvy on their long voyages. Good thing because in 1493, Christopher Columbus brought citrus seeds to the new world. Later, Juan Ponce de Leon and his men planted the first citrus seeds in Florida.
Fast forward to today, it’s easy to see that oranges have come a long way, and for a good reason at that! North America grows about 50 percent of the world’s citrus. According to The University of California Riverside, there are more than 1,000 varieties of citrus available today.
The Best Type Of Climate For Growing Orange Trees
Oranges are picky about the climate in which they grow, and they will not survive in cold weather, so the best type of climates for oranges to grow in is tropical and subtropical climates.
Oranges love the warm weather and grow best in temperatures that reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months and temperatures that drop to low 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter – where they will go dormant.
A tip of the trade: If you are planting an orange tree, plant it on the south side of your land to ensure optimal sun exposure. This will let your orange tree soak up all that incredible warmth it needs to thrive.
Where Are The Most Common Places To Grow Orange Trees?
Orange trees typically grow across 4 main areas – the United States, South America, Mediterranean countries and Asia. Below, we’ll get into the nitty gritty of each of those!
Orange Trees Grow Widely In The United States
Florida, California, Arizona, and Texas are the most common places to find oranges in the United States. Oranges love growing in Florida. After all, Florida did name the orange as their state fruit!
You Can Find Orange Trees Growing In Florida
Oranges from Florida often have thinner skin than oranges grown in other places and will be much juicier than others.
According to the University of Florida, the most common varieties of oranges grown in Florida are the Navel, Hamline, Amebersweet, Valencia, and Pineapple. Naval oranges specifically are what you’ll typically find in groceries stores as some of the most common that are exported.
Perhaps this is why most of our orange juice comes from Florida!
Orange Trees Grow In California
California is the second largest orange producer in the United States. Farmers began to grow oranges in California in the 1860’s. Due to the variety of hardiness zones in California, fresh oranges are always available.
California oranges are known for their thicker skin that easily peels off, baring a sweet fruit that breaks into segments easily. Most California oranges are used for eating rather than juicing.
According to the University of California, just about 90% of California’s citrus comes from Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Ventura, and Orange counties.
Orange Trees Also Grow In Arizona
Arizona produces about 2 percent of the United States’ orange production, with nearly half of these oranges used for fresh consumption. Valencia and Navel oranges are the most common oranges grown in this state.
According to the University of Arizona, a variety of oranges are always ready to be eaten from October through May.
Another great perk of growing oranges is that they are pretty beautiful. In many Arizona cities, it’s common to find orange trees used for ornamental purposes. The oranges on these trees are sour and rarely used for consumption.
You Can Find Orange Trees Growing In Southern Texas
In Texas, you’ll find that most of their orange production is in the southern part of the state since much of northern Texas has weather that is too cold for oranges.
Texas oranges will vary in color, usually lighter than those grown in Arizona and California.
According to Texas A and M Agrilife Extension, the most common orange varieties that grown in Texas are the Naval, Marrs, Pineapple, Hamlin, and Valencia varieties. Again – those navals are usually what’s in those big ol’ orange bags in your grocery store!
Orange Trees Love To Grow In Brazil
Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches, the Amazon river, FIFA World Cup, and carnivals. But did you know that Brazil is famous for one other thing? Orange juice!
Keeping the United States on its toes, Brazil produces the most oranges in the world. Surprisingly, 70% of the oranges grown in Brazil are turned into frozen concentrated orange juice. The warm weather and low hurricane risk give Brazil a leg up.
In Brazil, the orange trees are found in an area known as the Citric Belt. The Citric Belt runs through the regions of Sao Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro. More than 80% of the oranges produced in Brazil come from the Citric Belt alone.
Orange Trees Grow In The Mediterranean
Surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and Morocco are fantastic places to find oranges.
Due to the ideal climate for orange production, according to the International Center FOR Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies, the Mediterranean Basin accounts for about 20% of the world’s citrus production. Spain produces the most, Italy produces the second most, and Egypt the third in this region.
The kinds of oranges produced in the Mediterranean are sweet oranges that are easy to peel, like mandarins. It’s common to find delicious Mediterranean recipes with oranges as one of the main ingredients.
Orange Trees Are Also Growing In Asia
With oranges originating in Asia, it’s only natural that Asia would make our list of the most common places where oranges grow.
Among the vast varieties of oranges grown in Asia, I’m sure you’ve heard of the mandarin orange, as it is one of the most popular oranges in the world. The mandarin orange comes from south-eastern Asia, the Philippines, Japan, Southern China, and India.
The mandarin orange tree is smaller in size than the varieties of sweet oranges. Mandarin oranges are cold-hardy and drought-tolerant and usually taste much sweeter than other oranges. The mandarin is known to be one of the original citrus variations.
You Can Even Grow Orange Trees Indoors!
You read that right; yes, you can plant oranges in your house!
If you live outside the four common orange growing regions, consider growing a small orange tree inside your home.
Remember that an orange tree grown in your home won’t produce oranges precisely like the ones you’d find on outdoor oranges. They will be smaller in size and need a bit more care.
Miniature orange trees can be grown as houseplants in pots. Common varieties include:
If you are growing oranges indoors, be sure to keep your home at around 65-70 degrees whenever possible and keep your orange plant in a sunny spot. Like orange trees planted outside, indoor orange trees prefer soil with a pH between 5.0 and 6.5. Try taking it outdoors during the summer months to allow your tree a chance to pollinate.
Planting Orange Trees Outside
According to the University of Florida, there are a few essential things to consider when planting your oranges.
First, you will need to pick a partly shady location or mostly sunny. You can plant container-grown orange trees at any time of the year in Florida, but only in the springtime in other cooler temperature regions.
You should wait three weeks after planting before fertilizing your tree. Lastly, your tree’s best pH level is between 5.0 and 6.5.
Consider using the XLUX Soil Acidity Test Meter to test your soil pH to ensure you are planting your tree in the most optimal soil. It’s not only quick and easy to use but will give you all the confidence you need when planting your orange tree.
Once planted, keep up with water, fertilizing and keeping your orange tree safe from pests, disease, and weeds. You can read our guide about caring for your orange tree to learn more!
How To Harvest Your Oranges From Your Orange Tree
After all of your hard work and patience, it’s time to harvest your oranges (and celebrate!) Orange trees begin producing fruit three to five years after planting. There are a few things to note when it’s harvesting time. Be sure to pick your oranges at the proper maturity because they don’t continue to ripen after you’ve removed them from the tree.
A good rule of thumb is to pick your oranges when about 25% of the peel has a yellowish-orange color. Additionally, oranges grown closer to the bottom of the tree will be less sweet than the oranges that grow higher up on the tree.
Fun Fact: Believe it or not, orange trees are considered evergreens, meaning they always have green leaves on them. Springtime is the best time to pick your oranges since that’s when they bloom! They produce beautiful white or pink flowers and usually grow anywhere between 25 to 50 feet tall. Check out our list of 9 Common Citrus Trees That Are Actually Evergreens to learn more!
Key Things To Consider When Growing An Orange Tree
As a beginner, getting to know your tree is important! Try picking and tasting your oranges at different stages. Once the acidity and sugar content suits your taste buds, you’ve got a winner. Hey, that’s the beauty of growing your own food!
A few key points to growing your own orange tree:
- Oranges don’t ripen once they’ve been harvested
- Snap or clip the orange off of your tree from its stem
- If the peel breaks when gathering, it will quickly spoil (eat these ones first)
There are so many different ways to enjoy oranges: from creating marmalades to ice cream to using them as essential oils to put into your diffuser to elevate your mood. You can even use oranges to help you recoup from a stubborn cold and eat to keep you from getting nauseous in the car! Oranges have so many amazing uses.
If you’re looking for some more “orange-spiration,” consider adding a 5-star cookbook to your cookbook collection like this Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet cookbook. This cookbook is filled with orange recipes, so you can be sure to use up all that fresh home-grown citrus!
And There You Have It!
Oranges thrive in hardiness zones between 9 and 11 and love a tropical or subtropical climate. They do very well when planted in an area with lots of sun and well-draining soil.
Originating in Asia, orange trees are found in many different parts of Asia, Brazil, parts of the United States, and the Mediterranean. The largest population of orange trees is found specifically in Brazil and Florida.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can plant small citrus trees in your own home.
Now that you know the most common places where orange trees grow, it’s time to get planting!
Burns, A. J. (1976). California-Arizona Fresh Oranges: Marketing Patterns, Prices, Costs, Margins, and Grower Returns (Vol. 638). Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture.
Coltro, L., Mourad, A. L., Kletecke, R. M., Mendonça, T. A., & Germer, S. P. (2009). Assessing the environmental profile of orange production in Brazil. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 14(7), 656-664.
Neves, M. F., Trombin, V. G., Lopes, F. F., Kalaki, R., & Milan, P. (2011). Brazil’s citrus belt (São Paulo and Triângulo Mineiro). In The orange juice business (pp. 53-57). Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen.
Morton, J. (1987). Mandarin Orange. p. 142–145. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.
Lacirignola, C., & D’onghia, A. M. (2009). The Mediterranean citriculture: productions and perspectives. Citrus tristeza virus and Toxoptera citricidus: a serious threat to the Mediterranean citrus industry. Bari: CIHEAM. Options Méditerranéennes: Série B. Etudes et Recherches, 65, 13-17.
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