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Bursting with flavor and loaded with Vitamin C, Valencia oranges are the standard by which other oranges are judged. Commonly called the "juice orange," Valencias are the commercial orange of choice for processing into juice. But you don't have to be a commercial grower with a large orchard to grow these oranges. If you live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 through 11, you can grow the Valencia Orange Tree (Citrus sinensis 'Valencia') in your own backyard! And even if you live outside this warm-climate perennial range, you can harvest fresh oranges from a container-grown tree that spends its winters indoors! Best Features Valencia Orange Trees have earned many accolades through the years, but at the top of the list are these three attributes: 1. Sweet fruit. This is the reason Valencia oranges have unsurpassed juice flavor '– the fruit is naturally sweet! 2. Seedless oranges. Unlike other types of oranges that are filled with seeds, Valencia oranges contain very few seeds. 3. Self-fruitful trees. You'll only need one Valencia Orange Tree to bear fruit; they don't require cross-pollination from another tree to set fruit. But if you plant more than one tree, you'll boost the harvest potential on each tree! Growing Citrus Trees in Containers If you live outside Valencia Orange Tree's hardiness range, plant it in a pot that's at least 20 inches in diameter. Citrus plants need a lot of water for optimal growth and maximum fruit, but they also need good drainage. Because plastic and glazed pots don't "breathe," they allow water to collect in the soil at the bottom of the pot while the soil at the top of the pot is dry to the touch. A porous pot, such as natural terracotta, is better than a plastic container because it provides more uniform soil moisture. Choose a commercial potting mix instead of using garden soil, which can become compacted. And use a fertilizer that's specially formulated for citrus plants, following all label directions. Indoor Growing Tips Unless you live in a frost-free climate, you'll need to move your potted Valencia Orange Tree indoors for the winter '– to a heated space, not a cold garage. Choose a location that receives as much sun as possible '– a sunroom or solarium is perfect. If you can't place your tree where it receives sun while indoors, choose a room where it will receive as much bright light as possible. Water only when the top few inches of the soil are dry. (Overwatering citrus trees can lead to an unhealthy root system and dropped fruit.) Frost Protection If your Valencia Orange Tree spends winters outdoors in a marginally hardy climate, you must protect it from frost. Plant your tree in a spot that's protected from winter winds, located next to a wall that receives sun, if possible. When frost threatens, try these tips to keep your tree from being damaged: • Cover your tree with multiple thicknesses of row-cover fabric, sheets, burlap, or lightweight blankets. • String holiday lights through the tree's branches and keep them turned on during frosty periods. • For a double measure of protection, use lights and cover trees.
Valencia Orange Trees are self-fertile. You will get fruit with only one plant. However, adding an additional Valencia Orange Tree will drastically increase the size of your crop.