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.