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The Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree

The Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree is a favorite for home gardeners and private farms alike. Yielding aromatic fruit with a sweet and tangy flavor, the tree has a particularly long growing season and is also frost-resistant. It’s considered a boutique citrus plant because Golden Nugget Tangerines aren’t sold commercially.

Gold nugget mandarin

If you decide to grow a Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree on your own, you won’t be disappointed by its low-maintenance care and the fruit’s flavorful punch.

Keep reading to learn about this especially delicious tangerine type and why you should try it.

History of This Tangerine

Golden Nugget Tangerines were first bred and released at the University of California, Riverside, in the 1950s. Today, the fruit is mostly grown in Southern California and available from select farms and markets.

The fruit is a hybrid of two other tangerine types: Wilkling tangerines and Kincy tangerines. Both of them are also hybrids and neither are sold commercially.

Wilkling tangerines are small- to mid-sized and slightly oblate: a feature passed down to the Golden Nugget Tangerine. Its skin is glossy, faintly pebbled, and peelable, and its dark-orange flesh is flavorful, juicy, and sweet-smelling.

Kincy tangerines are known as America’s most-popular Christmastime tangerines. These fruits are large but very seedy.

A young tangerine tree.

Traits of the Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree

The Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree has three characteristics that make it especially desirable to grow. First, it yields delicious fruits that are seedless, which is convenient for snacking and juicing, and also kid-friendly.

Second, it’s frost-resistant. The small tree can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit; however, like all citrus plants, it thrives in warmer temperatures.

Third, it has an especially long growing season. The tree can bear fruit as early as February and hold onto its fruit as late as August. However, the Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree has a reputation for alternate fruit bearing. So, if you’re looking to grow one, we suggest growing a few.


Golden nugget tangerines.

Golden Nugget Tangerines are small- to mid-sized and range from orange to yellow-orange in color. Its skin is bumpy and pebbled, and also easily peelable. In size, it resembles an orange more than a typical tangerine.

The golden-orange flesh is seedless with poorly-defined ribs.


This tangerine type has a rich, sweet and tangy flavor.

Using Golden Nugget Tangerines


This tangerine type is often used as an ingredient in many dishes and drinks.

You may juice a few fruits to make fresh orange juice. Read our blog post, How to Make Orange Juice, to learn how.

You can also pull apart each carpel, or the individually wrapped parts of an orange’s flesh, and add them to salads, yogurt, sorbet, ice cream, and smoothie bowls.

Orange pound cake.

Or you can go the sugary route and make it the star ingredient in fresh, frozen, and baked desserts, like fruit salad, granita, and orange pound cake.


Gold Nugget Tangerines are often enjoyed as snacks because of their delicious, sweet taste, and also because they are seedless and easy to peel. With several convenient characteristics, these fruits are ideal to grab and go when you’re rushing out the door.


This tangerine type will last about a week when stored at room temperature and about a month in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Value

Closeup of orange slices.

Gold Nugget Tangerines are tasty to eat, and they’re also good for you. Also known as citrus reticulata, these fruits are a good source of vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

To learn more about the different way that oranges are good for you, read our blog post, What are the Vitamins in Oranges?

Planting & Care

Golden Nugget Tangerines are relatively self-sufficient when compared to other citrus plants.

For the complete guide on how to care for your Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree, read our blog, “Orange Tree Care Guide.”

An orange tree in blossom.

Where are Golden Nugget Tangerine Trees Grown?

Most of the U.S. is segmented into growing zones four through 11. If you have an indoor patio, you may grow this tree anywhere with the exception of much of Alaska. In growing zones eight through 11, you can plant it outdoors.

When are Golden Nugget Tangerines in Season?

Fruit is harvested in early spring through late summer.


The Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree needs adequate sunlight and well-drained soil to thrive. Whether your tree is growing indoors or outside, ensure it receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.

If you’re growing indoors, put your tree in a container that’s twice the size of the container it shipped in. Fill the rest of the container with balanced soil. Add mulch around the tree, like leaves, pine needles, or wood chips.

If you’re planting outdoors, dig a hole that’s deep enough to cover the tree’s roots. Then, backfill the hole with soil and add mulch around it.


Green, immature pebbled mandarins.

It takes about two to three years of growth before the Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree bears fruit. In the meantime, water it every seven to 10 days, while also being vigilant about natural rainfall if outside. If applicable, adjust the frequency with which you water depending on rainfall in your area. Prune periodically by removing dead leaves.

To keep your tree healthy throughout, use a citrus-specific fertilizer twice a year or more. For more on fertilizer to use for your orange tree, read our blog post about Orange Tree Fertilizers.

A fully mature tree will grow to about 12 feet tall by 12 feet wide.


When your tree matures to the point of bearing fruit, you may harvest from March through August. One of the signs that signify your tree is ready for harvest are sweet smells in the air. Be careful not to pick the fruit until it’s ripe, as this affects the taste.

This tangerine type is self-fertile, so you can certainly yield fruit with only one plant. However, you will significantly increase your yield by planting another Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree due to cross-pollination.

Pests and Diseases

The Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree attracts several kinds of pests, including aphids, citrus leaf miners, mealybugs, and spider mites. To prevent pests, consider using an insecticide.

This tree is also susceptible to certain diseases, like citrus canker and anthracnose. Excess water makes this tree prone to various kinds of rot. Learn more about the diseases that plague orange trees by reading our blog post, Orange Tree Fungus: What You Need To Know.

Where Can I Buy A Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree?

A young potted mandarin tree.

Have we sold you on the idea of growing your own delicious tangerines at home? If so, you can purchase a Golden Nugget Tangerine Tree from one of our favorite online retailers, Fast Growing Trees!

Try the Gold Standard of Tangerines!

Golden nugget tangerines.

Golden Nugget Tangerine Trees and fruit are rare to come in stores, but the fruit offers such a delectable flavor experience that it deserves to be enjoyed, time and again! With a few trees of your own, you can fully enjoy these seedless, snackable fruits.

Interested in learning about other orange varieties? Visit our page on Orange Trees to learn more about oranges, tangerines, mandarins, and more!