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Mar 14, 2011 12:26 PM

Anyone have any luck with in-ground citrus trees in Atlanta?

Depending on which map I see, Atlanta is either 7b or 8. And most citrus trees that I have found indicate a hardiness starting at zone 8. So far, I have kept my kaffir lime and meyer lemon trees in pots and have brought them in during the winter, but has anyone had luck with planting citrus trees in the ground in Atlanta? And if so, what edible varieties were they? Extra points if they come in dwarf varieties! (OK, now I know I'm really pushing it...)

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  1. Off the top of my head

    Yuzu-can take temps down to -5c so you shoud be good. And they are dwarf provided you get one that ISN'T grafted (it's one of the few citrus they graft to grow larger) Ive been told that a tree in a 1 gallon pot will fruit nicely so a 5 gallon (still well withing easy moving situations) will likey provide you with all the fruit you could want.

    Ichang Lemon-even hardier than yuzu (I've heard down to brief spells of -15c) but most people say flavor can be a little flat (some people use it for mock-key lime pie but not much else) both of the above are part Ichang papeda which is where they get thier cold tolerance. Pure bred papeda, if you could get it, is supposedly even tougher, but it's fruit is all but inedible

    there's also trifoliate organge which is the hardiest citrus I know of (it will grow comfortably outdoors here, and I'm in New York) but whose fruit is usually too bitter to eat however 1. I have heard of people who make marmalade with it and 2. some sources say the bitterness of the fruit depends on the coldness of the area, so in your warmer climate it might be more palatable.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jumpingmonk

      The trifoliate orange, aka flying dragon orange, grows well in cold climates. When I lived in NY/NJ area, it withstood the cold winters there. Beautiful looking plants, with curly branches and long thorns. I used to make marmalade and orange-ade with these fruits, but jumpingmonk is correct in saying that they are bitter (and sour).

      1. re: Ginger9

        minor clarification, "Flying Dragon" is a cultivar of Trifoliate orange, not a synonym. All flying dragons are trifoliates, but not all trifoliates are Flying Dragons (the one ouside the gift shop of the Bronx Botanical Garden for example, is not, it's the kind that grows into a full size tree (flying dragon usually turns into more of a bush or a thicket))

        1. re: jumpingmonk

          Thanks for the clarification. I only knew of the the Flying Dragon cultivar.

    2. We've in 8B, and citrus is still kind of iffy until it gets to be a very large tree- It's taken about five years in the ground for me to feel confident about my grapefruit and tangerine making it through the winter. Meyer lemon is not a terribly cold-hardy tree and I suspect the kaffir isn't either, given the general decliate nature of things described as lime.

      Kumquat/loquat I don't think is technically a citrus, but is generally one of the more cold-tolerant species sold as such. They're also tastier than calamondin, which is one of the more common cold-hardy citruses sold in borderline areas:

      I'd probably give the calamondin a try (I come from a family where grandpa grew a giant Southern pecan tree in his Michigan front yard, so I'm willing to experiment in areas that are 'too cold') and buy the largest one you can find at a Tallahassee or Jacksonville, FL garden center. The bigger the tree, the more likely it is to make it through the winter.

      1 Reply
      1. re: beachmouse

        Just to be clear, a loquat and a kumquat are NOT the same thing. A Kumquat is sort of kissing cousin to the citrus, a loquat is tecnically in the rose family (somewhere near the quince side)