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The Best Fertilizer for Orange Trees

It takes a good while before orange trees start bearing fruit (three to five years) but once they do, you can savor fresh zesty fruits from your own backyard during the harvest season. A mature tree can give you up to 350 oranges while skilled and veteran farmers can yield 400 to 600 oranges from each tree!

Mandarin oranges on a tree in sunlight.

If you’re growing orange trees in your backyard, applying the right fertilizer at the right times can help you grow a healthy tree that’s taller and fuller while letting you speed up growth and enjoy a more bountiful harvest.

Don’t know what the best fertilizer for orange trees is? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you all you need to know about fertilizers, when and how to apply it, things you need to consider, and the nutrients your tree needs.

Best Fertilizers for Orange Trees

Here are some of the top commercially available orange tree fertilizers.


EcoScraps for Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food

EcoScraps Natural and Organic Citrus Avocado Plant Food

EcoScraps for Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food is organically made from leftover plant waste and materials. This means that plant waste doesn’t go to landfills. It instead goes to your garden to keep your orange tree happy.

All you have to do is mix it into the top few inches of soil, then water and wait for your tree to thrive.

EcoScraps’ nutrient ratio is 5-2-3. It’s designed specifically for citrus trees, so you can be sure your plant will get what it needs.

Pros

  • Organic
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Gentle formula that won’t harm your plant

Cons

  • Dogs love the smell and may try to eat it

Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Fertilizer

Dr. Earth 70656 1 lb 5-5-2 MINIS Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Fertilizer

Dr. Earth Natural Wonder Fruit Tree Fertilizer boasts a 5-5-2 NPK ratio which makes it the best fertilizer for orange trees. There are two ways it can be applied: you can either work it into the soil before planting your tree or you can apply it to grown trees once every three months when the growing season begins.

If you’re looking for a fertilizer that can help improve your soil quality, this fertilizer’s fungal filaments can help boost nutrient absorption in your trees.

Pros

  • Excellent soil innoculants
  • Does not contain chemicals that are harmful to pets or people
  • Can be applied in two ways

Cons

  • Only comes in small quantities
  • Has a strong, unpleasant smell

20-20-20 Garden Fertilizer

20-20-20 Premium All-Purpose Garden Fertilizer | 10 lb Bag

Formulated for heavy feeders, the 20-20-20 Garden Fertilizer is an excellent water-soluble formula with a balanced NPK ratio. Since it dissolves quickly, it can be used in the early growth stage for heavy feeders like orange trees.

Plus, it can be applied in two ways: poured alongside plants or using an injection system.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Available in two sizes
  • Helps promote root growth

Cons

  • Needs to be dissolved before application

FoxFarm Happy Frog Citrus & Avocado Dry Fertilizer

FoxFarm FX14640 Happy Frog 7 3 3 Organic Indoor Outdoor Citrus and Avocado Tree Fertilizer for Lemons, Oranges, and More, 4 Pounds

If you’re looking for the best fertilizer for orange trees with a slow-release formula, look no further than FoxFarm Happy Frog’s Citrus & Avocado Dry Fertilizer.

OMRI-listed for Organic Gardening, this product contains nitrogen and calcium to promote robust vegetative growth in trees. Its mycorrhizal fungi component addresses the needs of these beautiful and bountiful plants by improving root efficiency and increasing nutrient uptake.

Pros

  • Promotes root and vegetative growth
  • Organic formulation
  • Helps support nutrient uptake

Cons

  • Limited size options

Espoma Organic Citrus-tone Citrus and Avocado Food

Espoma Organic Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Natural & Organic Fertilizer and Plant Food for all Citrus, Fruit, Nut & Avocado Trees; 4 lb. Bag. Promotes Vigorous Growth & Abundant Fruit

Espoma, a company known for its expertise in organic gardening, has developed Citrus-tone to produce abundant and flavorful citrus fruits. Citrus-tone’s all-natural formula contains Bio-tone, a proprietary blend of beneficial microbes that boosts the growth of plants.

Pros

  • Long-lasting organic formula
  • Can be used to fertilize other citrus trees
  • Enhances plant food for increased nutrient uptake

Cons

  • Only available in small bags

Things To Consider Before Using the Best Fertilizer for Orange Trees

When deciding what the best fertilizer for orange trees is, there are a few things you need to consider.

First, look at the age of your tree. A slow-release fertilizer with high phosphorus content is the best fertilizer for orange trees if they’re still young and need to grow roots. A regular granular fertilizer will work fine if it’s older and has already started growing roots.

Second, consider how much sun your tree gets per day. It should get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to produce fruit. If it gets less than that, talk to your local nursery about tools that can help increase light exposure. LED grow lights can be extremely helpful if you’re starting with tree seedlings.

If you’re growing trees in containers, you can use almost any citrus fertilizer but the best fertilizer for orange trees for this method is an organic citrus fertilizer. A great thing about this type of fertilizer is its ingredients come from natural sources such as kelp meal for increased fruit production, alfalfa meal to encourage blooming, and bone meal for richer growth.

A potted orange tree

It’s also essential to ensure your container has good drainage so excess water doesn’t get trapped in the soil and tree roots. This will cause them to rot. If you encounter problems with water retention in your container, consider adding peat moss or perlite (or both) into your mix until the soil drains adequately.

Feather meal is a dry soil-based fertilizer for any fruit tree, including citrus. It’s a low-maintenance option that’s easy to apply and will give you lush growth, vibrant green foliage, and a healthy root system.

Feather meal is made from the dried remains of poultry feathers and ground into tiny pieces. These pieces contain amino acids that help plants grow in dry climates by providing them with nitrogen (essential for leaf growth) and trace minerals like copper and iron.

In addition to supporting healthy roots and leaf growth, feather meal prevents disease by keeping trunks healthy and free of insects and other pests. It works exceptionally well in containers because it’s light enough that it doesn’t weigh down the plant and interfere with drainage — important considerations when growing citrus plants indoors!

Composition

Soil is the foundation of any garden. It provides nutrients to plants that help them grow and produce fruit. So, when it comes to growing orange trees, you want to ensure that your soil has the proper nutrients for producing healthy trees.

Rich soil for growing orange trees

The amount of the best fertilizer for orange trees you use depends on whether you use a granular fertilizer or liquid fertilizer. If you’re using granular fertilizer, apply it every three months during the spring and summer seasons when temperatures are warm enough for growth.

If you’re using liquid fertilizer, apply it every two weeks during spring and until fall when temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Nutrients

Soil is a crucial part of growing orange trees. It’s where the tree grows its roots and absorbs nutrients. The tree won’t be healthy if the soil isn’t healthy. We use the best fertilizer for orange trees to ensure that there are enough nutrients in the soil for orange trees to grow well.

Oranges are heavy feeders, which means they rely on many nutrients in the soil to grow. This is because oranges have a very complex root system that needs a lot of support and nutrition to thrive.

Oranges need plenty of potassium and calcium, as well as phosphorus and nitrogen. They also need magnesium, sulfur, boron, and manganese.

Orange trees.

The nutrients mentioned, N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium), have a percentage on the back of the bottle. Therefore, when you buy the best fertilizer for orange trees, it’s essential to ensure the product has the right amount of each nutrient.

The right ratio of N-P-K depends on the intended purpose. Use a 1-2-1 ratio for rooting, 1-1-2, 1-2-2, or 2-1-2 for flowering and blooming, 1-1-1 for equal distribution, and use 2-1-1 or 3-1-1 for leafy growth.

Soil testing kits for planting orange trees are a great way to ensure your trees grow strong and healthy. The kits test soil pH, nitrogen levels, and other essential factors that can affect the growth of your tree.


Best Nutrients for Orange Trees

What supply of nutrients do you need to grow a thriving orange tree?

For starters, ensure that your soil is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You may have to add these nutrients yourself. You can obtain nitrogen through compost or manure. If you don’t have access to either, there are other ways to get them.

For example, if you live near a cornfield, collect dried husks after the harvest season is over. They’re the best fertilizer for orange trees and full of nitrogen so they will do wonders for your soil!

Sources of phosphorus and potassium include bone meal and rock phosphate (which comes from certain rock types). You’ll also find both nutrients in seaweed granules which will give your plants extra protection against diseases and pests!


Best Practices for Orange Tree Fertilizers

When to Apply Citrus Fertilizer

Citrus trees have certain nutrient requirements that are easy to meet with regular fertilization. You can apply citrus fertilizers in two ways: in-season and off-season.

Person holding handful of granular fertilizer mix, a form of the best fertilizer for orange trees.

In-season fertilization means applying the best fertilizer for orange trees during the growing season, which is usually late summer through early fall. Off-season fertilization generally means applying fertilizer in late winter or early spring before new growth begins — anytime between December 1st and March 31st.

How to Fertilize Citrus Trees With the Best Fertilizer for Orange Trees

Citrus trees, including orange and lime, are susceptible to over-fertilization. You can avoid this by using the right amount of fertilizer. The best fertilizer for orange trees should be applied when the tree is dormant in the spring and fall. They provide essential nutrients for the development of new leaves, fruit buds, and root growth. They also help protect plants from diseases and insects.

How Often Should You Water an Orange Tree?

Using the best fertilizer for orange trees isn’t enough. You should also know how to properly water them.

Oranges are tropical fruits requiring more water than most types of trees. Therefore, depending on the time of year and how many days it has been since your last watering, you should water them once daily.

If you live in a humid climate with barely any rain, you may need to increase your watering schedule to two or three times per day. We recommend using a hose with a sprinkler attachment to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the day until rain comes.


Get The Best Fertilizer for Orange Trees for Your Garden

There are so many types of fertilizers for orange trees that there is no singular answer when it comes to the best fertilizer for orange trees. You can use organic, commercial, and powder fertilizer. There are also granules, powders, and fertilizer spikes.

Satsuma oranges.

Whichever form you pick, consider the type and nutrients of your soil, how old your tree is, where you’re growing it, and your climate. By taking these factors into account, you’ll be able to give your orange tree what it needs in order to enjoy large and delicious harvests for decades!

For more information about oranges, visit our Orange Trees page where you’ll find blog posts on different kinds of oranges, plus all our growing and care guides.