Calamondin, Citrus mitis, an acid citrus fruit originating in China, was introduced to the U.S. as an "acid orange" about 1900. This plant is grown more for its looks than for its fruit edibility and performs well as a patio plant or when trimmed as a hedge. It is hardy to 20 degrees F. and is hardier to cold than any other true citrus species - only the trifoliate orange and the kumquat are more tolerant to low temperatures. Calamondin is also moderately drought-tolerant.
The edible fruit is small and orange, about one inch in diameter, and resembles a small tangerine. The peel is thin and smooth, yellow to yellow-orange and easily separable.
Trees may live for forty or more years.
Harvesting the citrus fruit at the right time considers the fruit's appearance and length of time on the branches. Once you harvest the ripe fruits, it is best to refrigerate them unless you are using them within one week. Calamondins typically do not survive well off of the tree for long periods of time.
Calamondins are thin skinned and do not keep long once removed from the tree. When you want to eat the fruit, choose firm, yellow to yellow-orange fruit. Avoid fruit that is soft and over- ripe. The calamondin fruit can take up to a year to ripen into an orange color. But the orange colored fruit is sometimes over-ripe and not as pungent.
Trees will produce a crop of fruit at the age of two years and will continue to bear nearly year-round. Trees can be forced to make a flush of growth and bloom by simply withholding all water until the leaves become wilted and roll up, then thoroughly watering the plants----the calamondins will be in full bloom within two months.