Table of contents:
- What conditions does this citrus crop need to grow successfully indoors?
- Mandarin varieties
- Growing tangerine
- Reproduction of mandarin
Video: Growing Tangerine At Home
What conditions does this citrus crop need to grow successfully indoors?
- Mandarin varieties
- Growing tangerine
- Reproduction of mandarin
In terms of its popularity and prevalence among citrus crops grown by indoor gardening lovers, mandarin firmly takes the second place, second only to lemon. It is considered the fastest ripening species in the citrus group, is highly fertile and bears fruit as early as November.
Under indoor conditions, perennial fruiting plants, as a rule, are characterized by low growth (1-1.5 m in a tub culture) and a spreading (relatively compact) beautiful crown. Over time, they turn into a kind of dwarf trees. Mandarin leaves are predominantly dark green, leathery, ovoid or elliptical in shape, dull at the top. As a rule, plants bloom profusely in March-April, but indoors they are able to bloom throughout the year. White flowers (with matte petals) are very fragrant, located singly or in clusters-brushes (2-5) in the leaf axils.
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) is an ancient citrus crop that people began to grow before our era. Southeast Asia (in particular, the fertile Yangtze Valley in China) is considered his homeland.
It is curious that this plant also received the name in China, since its fruits were available to the richest and most noble inhabitants of the country - the tangerines. According to some reports, a single penetration of mandarin into Europe from the southern part of China was noted in the 16th-18th centuries. According to others, the exotic representative of the subtropical flora was brought by merchants-travelers to the European (1828) and American continents later, and only then came to the south of Russia. At first, tangerine trees were grown in greenhouses, then they "migrated" to open ground (Italy, southern France, later to other European countries with a mild climate).
Citrus growers divide tangerine varieties into three groups.
In the first, they include the so-called "noble mandarins", very thermophilic, with large leaves and relatively large yellowish-orange fruits with large hilly peel.
The second group includes thermophilic and more small-leaved "tangerines" or Italian tangerines with rather large orange-red fruits, covered with a plump peel (in some varieties, its smell is sharp and unpleasant), slightly elongated. In some countries, the names "mandarin" and "tangerine" are synonymous (however, the yellow-fruited varieties are actually considered tangerines, and intense orange varieties are considered tangerines).
The third group includes "satsum" (unshiu) - originally from Japan, characterized by a fairly high cold resistance (they can tolerate short-term small frosts - up to -7 ° C), large leaves and thin-skinned yellowish-orange fruits (often with green on the peel), small sizes. Sometimes the yutsu tangerines are also included in this group. In their fruits, unlike noble mandarins and tangerines, as a rule, seeds are very rare. In this regard, this variety is sometimes referred to as "seedless tangerine." For sale, their delicate fruits are often cut directly from the branch (even with leaves), which allows them to preserve their beneficial qualities for longer. The varieties from the latter group are grown on the Black Sea coast (Abkhazia).
Growing a tangerine indoors is almost similar to lemon, although there are some subtleties of its reproduction. The most common variety at home is considered the Unshiu broadleaf variety - a small tree with slightly drooping branches, without thorns, with a smooth light green bark that is easily peeled off. Leaves with long petioles, slightly winged, their lifespan is 2-4 years.
This mandarin blooms, as a rule, only in spring; flowers appear on last year's short twigs, they are bisexual (fruits are formed without pollination - parthenocarpic, so they are usually seedless).
This tangerine bears fruit in the 2-3rd year (fruit weight, on average, 60-70 g). Although the plant is light-loving, when placed indoors, they take into account the fact that direct sunlight inhibits it, seriously disrupting the normal metabolism, therefore, in summer, scattered light is created for tangerine (it can tolerate weak shading).
In retail, dwarf (up to 1 m tall) varieties from Japan may appear: Okito-Wase, Miho-Wase, Kovano-Wase and others. Plants of the Vasya group are characterized by smaller, light green leaves, usually single flowers, which form all year round. Notable for these varieties is the absence of the need to form their crown; it is necessary to remove only dry and growing shoots inside the crown.
In the spring, a triple feeding of plants is carried out with a weak solution of fermented manure (with an interval of two weeks). During the active growing season, they are periodically fed (alternating) with mineral and organic fertilizers. In summer, in a dry warm room, it is recommended to maintain a relative humidity of at least 70%, the temperature is desirable in the range of 16 … 18 ° C.
It is necessary to spray the foliage of the plant with settled water (room temperature) daily, wash it weekly with warm water under the shower, or wipe it with a damp cloth. Sometimes a wide dish with evaporating water is placed next to the tree. You can place the tangerine outdoors (on the balcony, loggia, terrace, garden), reliably protecting it from the wind and slightly shading. But first, the plant is gradually accustomed to new conditions: in the first days, they are exposed to the street for only 3-4 hours.
In summer, mandarin is watered daily, in autumn - every other day, and in winter - once every 4-5 days (as the topsoil dries up). To illuminate plants in late autumn and winter, it is advisable to turn on fluorescent lamps (early in the morning and in the evening), extending the daylight hours to 12 hours.
Transplantation (transshipment, i.e., without shaking off the soil from the roots) of a mandarin is carried out in March - April: a soil substrate is prepared from equal parts of leafy, turfy land, humus and sand. In the first year after grafting, the plant is recommended to be transplanted 2-3 times (not in winter or late autumn), then transplanted every 2-4 years. With each transshipment, the size of the container is increased only by 2-3 cm (the old pot must fit tightly into the new one); be sure to arrange a drainage layer of pebbles or broken bricks at the bottom of the container.
The Unshiu broadleaf variety requires alignment of the shoots after each growth by pruning the longest ones.
Reproduction of mandarin
As a rule, tangerines are propagated by grafts and less often by layering (of course, it is better to entrust this work to a specialist). For grafting, it is better to use a 2-3-year-old plant (orange, grapefruit, or better - a lemon) grown from seed and a pencil-thick trunk as a rootstock. The grafting is carried out with an eye or (easier) a cuttings of the selected tangerine variety during the period of sap flow, when the bark of the seedling is easily separated from the wood. Budding (with an eye) can be done in spring and late summer (time of intensive growth). To activate sap flow, the stock is watered abundantly several days before vaccination. Previously, you can check how well the bark is separated by making an incision above the place intended for budding. To reduce the evaporation of water, the scion leaves are cut off, leaving only leaf petioles. At a height of 5-10 cm of the rootstock stem, carefully in one motion (a place for grafting with a smooth bark, without buds and thorns) a transverse bark incision (no more than 1 cm) and from its middle (from top to bottom) a longitudinal (2-3 cm) incision … Moving apart ("plowing") the corners of the incised bark, a previously prepared eye (bud) with the thinnest layer of wood taken from the scion branch is quickly introduced into this T-shaped nest. Then these corners are immediately returned to their original position. The vaccination site is neatly and tightly tied with plastic tape, starting from the bottom, in order to exclude water from entering the exposed tissue of the plant; over this tape, a garden var is applied. After 2-3 weeks, the scion petiole turns yellow and falls off, which indicates a positive result of the vaccine, and if it dries up and remains, then the vaccination is repeated.
Inoculation with the cuttings of the selected variety is carried out by conventional methods (in the split or in the lateral cut of the rootstock). Some amateurs - citrus growers note an interesting phenomenon: if the rootstock-lemon also retains its own branches, then the "master's" branches can slow down the development of the tangerine-scion for some time, although the grafting of the cuttings is successful. Mandarin grows slowly, internodes are large, therefore, to maintain shape when pinching young shoots, 1-2 leaves are left from the young shoot.
With sufficient care of an amateur citrus grower and a successful choice of its location, a fruit-bearing mandarin plant with an abundance of "golden" fruits will be a wonderful decoration for a home. Even as a common ornamental plant, mandarin is a good indoor air deodorant. But for the success of the business, certain knowledge of the agricultural technology of this culture is required, and you also need to make some effort and have some patience in order to create conditions for your indoor plant that are close to natural, first of all, heat, humidity and illumination.
Alexander Lazarev, Senior Researcher, All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Protection, Pushkin
Photo by E. Valentinov