Hardy Orange Seeds
Hardy Orange ( Poncirus trifoliata ) Deciduous Zones 5-10
The striking Hardy Orange tree - also known as Chinese Bitter Orange or Trifoliate Orange - while not a true orange, is closely related to the Citrus family. This incredibly tough plant is native to Northern China and Korea; it tolerates frost, snow and temperatures down to -20C. (It may need some additional protection in zone 5.)
First appearing in North America in the 1820s, Hardy Orange became popular with American growers as a hedgerow, or living fence; it makes an impenetrable barrier hedge with its twisted branches and long, sharp thorns. It has a tendency to be invasive in some places, so pruning is recommended.
Hardy Orange will reach a height of 8 - 20 feet. It has lovely green branches, twisted and dense with thick, 2” long thorns; trifoliate leaves; showy white, fragrant flowers; and delightful, golf ball sized fuzzy, lemon-like sour fruit that ripen slowly into Fall. Birds like to take safe refuge from predators in the fortress of branches.
The fruit - a modified berry - is very bitter, seedy and not typically eaten fresh off the tree, though it has extensive culinary uses. It is naturally high in pectin, and excellent for marmalade and other preserves; it makes a tasty lemonade; and the fruit peel can be candied or dried and powdered.
Note: Hardy Orange is very suitable for container gardening! Choose a container with a minimum 12” diameter.
Cold Hardiness: Zones 5 - 10
Size: Small Tree
Growth Rate: Slow ( 8ft after 10 years )
Nitrogen Fixer: Yes
Native Plant: No
Sun Requirements: Full Sun - partial shade
Soil Preference: Prefers moist, well-draining soil. Tolerant of many soil types, drought and urban pollution.
- Soak seeds for 24 hours, followed by 30 days cold, moist stratification. For more information on stratification, check out our article "How To Stratify Your Tree Seeds".
*If you are doing the cold period in your fridge, please check on your seeds. 30 days is an estimate & they may sprout sooner.*
- Plant stratified seeds in pots or a nursery bed using standard potting soil. Sow seed 1/4" deep, mulch the seed bed, keep moist. Container growing, sow seeds 1/4" deep and cover container with plastic to keep soil moist. Heat mats are NOT required & can hinder germination!
- Protect young tree seedlings from slugs, cutworms & rodents. Slugs especially can eat primary leaves as soon as they come up, so be vigilant!
Available direct from Incredible Seeds, a Canadian Heirloom and Heritage Seed Company, offering only the best natural, non-GMO, open pollinated and untreated seeds, located in Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia.