When to Plant a Satsuma Tree

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The satsuma is a mandarin tree that produces sweet and easy to peel fruit and dark green leaves. The satsuma blossoms with fragrant white flowers in the early spring. While satsuma are relatively cold-tolerant of citrus fruits, they are able to survive temperatures below freezing and should be grown indoors in containers in Northeast and Central states. Satsuma trees are available in early, mid and late season ripening, with all crops ripening sometime in the winter months. Satsuma is great when squeezed for juice, which can be used for a variety of sauces or cakes.

When to Plant

  • If you plan to store your satsuma indoors, you can plant it at any time.

    Those who want to plant their satsuma outdoors, either in a container or in the soil, must wait until the spring since a freezing spell will harm and possibly kill the sapling. Only plant your satsuma tree after any frost danger has passed in your area. While temperatures vary by location and year, late March or early April is usually the right time.

Temperature

  • Satsuma is the most cold-tolerant citrus plant, but you may want to wrap your trees in plastic in the winter. Some growers place a space heater outside to use when the temperature drops near 15 to 20 degrees F. Many others prefer starting their satsuma trees in containers so the trees can be set on a dolly and wheeled indoors during cold periods.

    Satsuma require full sun to thrive and must get at least 8 hours of sun a day Planting a satsuma in partial shade reduces its fruit crop and affects the flavor development of the oranges.

Container Gardening

  • If you plan on using a container--advised unless you live in an area that is unlikely to get freezing temperatures--make sure that container is well-draining. Find a large 20-gallon pot or a half wine barrel so the tree has plenty of room to grow. You may want to attach coasters to the bottom of the barrel so you can simply slide a dolly under the container.

    One satsuma tree should be planted in the center of the container, though you can use the edges to plant herbs or flowers. Use well-draining potting soil only. You may want to mulch the base of the tree, which adds some insulation from both cold and hot extremes of temperature.

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