8 Best Varieties of Orange Trees to Grow in Texas

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Home » Texas » 8 Best Varieties of Orange Trees to Grow in Texas

Citrus fruits are already sweet and refreshing, but imagine one fresh off the tree. Homegrown oranges and freshly squeezed orange juice are pretty hard to beat.

Luckily, we can grow oranges right here in Texas!

Texas is actually one of the top producers of oranges in the U.S.. Oranges only grow in the south of the country because they’re tropical fruits.

Because it’s so big, Texas spans USDA hardiness zones 6 through 11 and orange trees grow in zones 8 through 11.

In fact, all citrus trees grow between zones 8 to 11 in the U.S., including lemons, limes, grapefruits, mandarins, kumquats, and more!

Citrus trees have been cross-bred for centuries, so many orange tree species are mixed with other citrus fruits.

In this article, I’ll explain which orange trees are best to grow in Texas- including some pretty unique hybrids!

8 Fantastic Orange Trees to Grow in Texas

1. Valencia Orange Tree (Citrus sinensis ‘Valencia’)

Valencia Orange tree and fruit
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Valencia Oranges are named after the sunny city of Valencia, Spain, where they originally grew in abundance and in full health.

These oranges are very common in the U.S., though, and are one of the top commercial varieties.

Valencia oranges are known to be super juicy and sweet, great for eating right away or making juice.

Plus, these trees often have two harvests! Just after these trees bloom, they’ll have an early crop around March or April then have another harvest in early fall!

You can get a pretty huge harvest from these trees when they’re in good health. They’re self-fertile, too, so you only need one!

However, they’re also small enough that you can grow one in a container. This will be necessary if you live above zone 8, since you’ll need to take this tree indoors for the winter.

  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 3-4 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in spring and fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Navel Orange Tree (Citrus sinensis‘Osbeck’)

Navel Orange Tree (Citrus sinensis)
Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

The Navel Orange is another very popular variety of orange tree that’s grown all over the country. In fact, there are now several cultivars of the Navel Orange tree.

These fruits are really sweet and less acidic and they’re nearly seedless. Navel Oranges also last for a long time off the tree and can be saved for months if stored properly.

Navel Orange trees are more shrub-like and can have a spread wider than they are tall.

With yearly pruning, they can be kept to a modest height to make harvesting and maintenance easier.

Although, these trees are known to be easy to care for. They’re self-fertile, thrive in full or partial sun, and don’t take long to fruit!

They begin to fruit in the fall and their season lasts until January.

  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Blood Orange Tree (Citrus sinesis ‘Moro’)

Blood Orange tree
Image by Ruth Temple via Flickr

Blood oranges are unique but still not too far from the standard orange that you’re familiar with.

They look like regular oranges from the outside, but their flesh has a deep, rich color like it was dyed with wine.

Blood oranges are about the same size as a regular orange and sometimes have a reddish rind.

There are several varieties of oranges with this dark red coloration, but the “Moro” variety is the most well-known.

These oranges have a slightly sweeter flavor and are less acidic than regular oranges. However, their flavor becomes bitter and undesirable when left on the tree too long, so make sure you harvest your yummy fruits!

Moro Blood Orange trees grow in a rounded shape, often with a spread as wide as the tree is tall.

They can be planted directly in your garden if you live anywhere south of central TX.

  • Other Common Names: Moro Blood Orange Tree, Moro Citrus Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 12-15 ft tall by 12-15 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Cara Cara Orange Tree (Citrus sinensis ‘Cara Cara’)

Cara_Cara orange tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

The Cara Cara Orange tree is a unique tree with an interesting story! It was first discovered in Venezuela and considered a Navel Orange tree that had mutated.

It has pinkish flesh, darker than a grapefruit but lighter than blood oranges.

These oranges are medium sized and either seedless or have very small seeds.

They usually have a very sweet taste, with hints of berries flavors, and less acidity. However, the fruits will only be so sweet with consistent warm temperatures, since drops in temperature weaken fruit production.

As long as the climate stays warm, Cara Cara trees are easy-going. They don’t require lots of water nor maintenance and are known to be disease resistant.

Cara Cara Orange trees love to sunbathe and will thrive in full sun. They’re usually moderately tall but can grow to 20 feet tall if left to do so!

  • Other Common Names: Navel Orange Tree, Red Navel Orange
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Satsuma Orange Tree (Citrus unshiu)

Satsuma mandarin tree with fruit on it
Image by 305 Seahill vial Flickr

The Satsuma Orange tree originally comes from Japan and was introduced to North America many decades ago.

These beautiful fruit trees have a round crown that slightly droops, giving it a “weeping” look.

Some people consider Satsuma oranges to be mandarins since they’re the same size. Although Satsuma oranges are usually less sweet and more tart.

Satsuma Orange trees are one of the most cold hardy citrus trees and can tolerate temperatures down to 15 F once established!

So, for growers in northern TX, you could grow this tree in a container for the first few years then plant it outdoors when it’s mature.

Satsuma Orange trees also tend to be highly disease resistant. However, they don’t tolerate strong winds very well, so make sure yours is well protected!

  • Other Common Names: Satsuma Mandarin Tree, Japanese Mandarin Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall by 5-10 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Mandarin Tree (Citrus reticulata)

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) Tree and Immature Fruit
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, For Tree Vitalize

A mandarin is a type of orange that’s smaller and usually quite a bit sweeter.

Then, among types of mandarins there are clementines and tangerines. Botanical technicalities aside, all that matters is that this is another yummy citrus fruit!

Mandarins are well known for being perfectly snack-sized and full of sweet juice. Their skin is smooth and thin so it’s easy to peel off. Plus, many varieties are seedless!

The tree itself usually isn’t very large and can be pruned to stay smaller if you have a small yard.

These trees are also self-fertile, so you just need one! The small tree and fruit make harvesting and maintenance very easy.

A mandarin tree would be ideal for growers in northern Texas that would need to bring their tree inside.

Mandarin trees tend to be more cold tolerant though and will have no problem even in zone 8a.

  • Other Common Names: Mini Orange Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 8-12 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in summer and fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Tangelo Tree (Citrus tangelo)

Tangelo tree with fruit on it
Image by Bennilover via Flickr

You might not have heard of a Tangelo Tree, but these unique fruits are a tasty hybrid between orange and grapefruit.

There are now several cultivars of Tangelos but the Minneola is the most common you’re likely to find in markets.

Tangelos tend to be larger fruits, sometimes as large as a grapefruit! They also have thicker skin that’s slightly more red than most oranges.

There’s usually a large bump where the fruit connects to its stem- this is why they’re also called Honeybells.

The flavor of Tangelos has been described as sweet, tangy, sour, and all of the above. When in the right conditions, these trees can fruit all year long!

Tangelo trees are evergreen, like all citrus trees. They can grow very tall if left to grow wild but can also be pruned to manage their height. There are also several dwarf Tangelo varieties.

  • Other Common Names: Honeybell Orange Tree, Honeybell Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall by 12-15 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in summer and fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Calamondin Orange Tree (Citrus mitis)

Calamondin Tree with Fruit
Image by Ted via Flickr

Calamondin Orange trees are small trees with small fruits. These trees are perfect for patios, indoor growing, even balcony gardens!

These trees grow to maximum 10 feet tall but would be even shorter if grown in a container.

Also they don’t have a large spread and tend to grow vertically. This makes harvest super easy and allows you to grow one anywhere, even as a houseplant!

Calamondin fruits are a cross between mandarins and kumquats- another citrus that’s even smaller.

So, these fruits are about the size of a lemon and are typically more tart than they are sweet.

Another advantage of these trees is that they produce fruits earlier than most other citrus trees. Calamondin fruits are ripe in August through October.

They also grow well with partial sun, making indoor growing even easier.

  • Other Common Names: Mini Orange Tree
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 ft tall by 3-5 ft wide
  • Season: Fruits in fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Comparing Texas Orange Tree Varieties

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
Valencia OrangeSweet, super juicy, ideal for juice. Often has two harvests a year. Self-fertile, can be container-grown.8-118-10 ft tall x 3-4 ft wide
Navel OrangeSweet, less acidic, nearly seedless. Shrub-like growth, wider than tall.8-118-10 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide
Blood Orange (Moro)Unique dark red flesh, slightly sweeter, less acidic. Needs timely harvest to avoid bitterness.8-1112-15 ft tall x 12-15 ft wide
Cara Cara OrangePinkish flesh, sweet with hints of berry flavor. Needs consistent warm temperatures.8-118-10 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide
Satsuma OrangeJapanese origin, tart, similar to mandarins. Cold hardy (down to 15 F), disease resistant.8-1110-15 ft tall x 5-10 ft wide
MandarinSmaller, sweeter than regular oranges. Almost seedless, easy to peel.8-118-10 ft tall x 8-12 ft wide
TangeloHybrid of orange and grapefruit. Larger fruits with thicker skin, tangy and sour taste.8-1115-30 ft tall x 12-15 ft wide
Calamondin OrangeSmall tree with small, tart fruits. Perfect for patios, indoors, balconies.8-118-10 ft tall x 3-5 ft wide

Homegrown Fruit and Freshly Squeezed Juice

Citrus fruits can bring a fresh pop to your kitchen in many ways: juices, salads, jams, zest.

Apparently grilled oranges are very good! However you like them, the best quality oranges you can get are those coming from your yard.

Citrus trees aren’t native to Texas but our warm southern climate is perfect for them.

For anyone in central TX and south, you can grow an orange tree in your own garden or backyard.

Even growers further north or out west, there’s still the option of having a smaller tree that you take indoors.

These trees are fairly low maintenance and simply like to be in the warmth of the sun! They don’t handle heavy rains well, so if you live in a dry region that’s actually no problem!

Texas A&M University has an awesome citrus tree guide for Texas growers that goes in depth on their growing needs and habits. Make use of that and get growing!

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Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

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