Orange trees are a delicious and beautiful addition to your yard, especially in warmer climates.
Depending on where you live, they’re suitable for either indoor or outdoor growth–both can produce fruit if properly cared for.
Fertilizer is a huge aspect of care and maintenance for your orange tree, especially if you don’t live in their native tropical climate.
Choosing the right fertilizer is imperative to growing a happy and healthy orange tree, whether in a pot or in the ground. Without the right blend of nutrients, you’ll end up with a sad-looking tree, or even worse, gross fruit!
Nobody wants to put a lot of time into a plant only to have it bear not-so-tasty fruit, so fertilizing your orange tree properly is incredibly important.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why you should fertilize your orange tree
- How to choose the right fertilizer for your orange tree, whether it’s in the ground or in a pot
- How fertilizer will promote healthy growth for your orange tree
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of my favorite fertilizers for orange trees. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best fertilizer for your orange tree.
EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food
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Jack's Class No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer
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Jobe's Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes
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Dr. Earth Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer
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Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes
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My Overall Top #1 Pick: EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food
All of these fertilizers are fantastic, but the EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food is my favorite for a number of reasons. What are they? You’re about to find out!
Firstly, it’s organic. I love using organic fertilizers because they’re all-natural, which means no processing in a lab or added chemicals. Since I plan on eating the fruit that my orange tree bears, I don’t want to ingest any artificial ingredients or chemicals.
My favorite part about this brand as a whole is that its fertilizer is derived from organic food scraps. This keeps food waste out of landfills and chemicals out of your soil; did you know that 30-40% of American food supply ends up in landfills? That’s a lot!
For the awesome quality of the product, this fertilizer is pretty inexpensive. It comes in at about $2 per pound, which for organic fertilizer is a great deal.
This fertilizer is also super easy to use. You don’t have to dilute it in water; just mix it into the top few inches of your plant’s soil and you’re good to go. For best results, mix it thoroughly into the topsoil so that your plant’s roots can get to it easily.
Since it’s designed specifically for citrus plants, the results are amazing! This fertilizer can revive even the saddest-looking orange trees and help produce delicious fruit.
This fertilizer is great for both indoor and outdoor orange trees. It’s not a huge bag, so if you have a large orchard, you’ll need more than one, but you can’t beat the price for the quality of the product.
So if you’re looking for a perfectly formulated and proven-to-work fertilizer for your orange tree, look no further than EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food!
Top 5 Best Fertilizers For Orange Trees
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these wonderful fertilizers for your orange tree.
- EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food (My Top Pick)
- Jack’s Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer (Best High-End)
- Jobe’s Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer Spikes (Best Budget Pick)
- Dr. Earth Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer
- Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes
Why Should You Invest In A High-Quality Fertilizer For Your Orange Tree?
Orange trees, and citrus plants in general, can be a bit picky about what they like. They love warm and humid climates, and thrive best in Zones 9 through 11 (here’s a map of the USDA hardiness zones along with additional information about understanding what it means).
If you live in a more northern climate (aka one that experiences winter), you should keep your orange tree in a pot between 5-and-20 gallons. This means a big change for your orange tree every winter when you bring it inside. Fertilizer can help regulate your plant and provide it with enough nutrients to get it through the winter.
The ingredients in your fertilizer have a direct impact on the fruit your tree produces. More potassium in your fertilizer will produce sweeter oranges; nitrogen thickens the peel and prevents damage to the flesh of the fruit. Don’t worry, there’s more information about fertilizer composition down below.
Investing in a low-quality fertilizer could seriously harm your oranges–too much nitrogen and your fruit won’t be juicy enough (and isn’t that the best part of an orange?). A low-quality fertilizer could also burn your plant or flat-out kill it.
Read More >> What are the top fertilizers for Raspberries?
For most people living in the continental United States, growing an orange tree in the ground isn’t attainable, as we have winters that would freeze it. Using low-quality fertilizer for a potted orange tree is even more likely to damage it since you could over-fertilize by accident and choke your plant.
For more tips and tricks about transitioning your orange tree to indoor living in the winter, this YouTube video is perfect.
How to Pick the Best Fertilizer For Your Orange Tree?
The composition of your fertilizer directly impacts the quantity and quality of your oranges. Fertilizer is composed of three main ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Any fertilizer you buy should have three numbers representing these three ingredients (they look like this: 10-10-10).
A good citrus fertilizer will have a lower phosphorus number and will look something like this: 10-5-10. For example, my top pick (EcoScraps for Organic Gardening Plant Food) has a ratio of 5-2-3. When the numbers are overall lower, that means the fertilizer is gentler on your plant, which is especially good for potted orange trees.
Like I said before, the amount of each ingredient can impact the quality of your fruit. Nitrogen thickens the peel and prevents damage to the flesh of the fruit, but too much of it and there won’t be enough juice. Potassium counteracts this and promotes juicy, ripe oranges.
My best piece of advice is not to stress over the numbers on your fertilizer. Any of the fertilizers in this article are great for your orange tree and are designed specifically for keeping citrus plants happy.
Organic Versus Inorganic
In my experience, organic fertilizer is almost always better than inorganic when you’re dealing with edible plants, including orange trees. This is true for other edible plants such as strawberries and even squash.
“Organic” means exactly what you think: all-natural. It doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat with a spoon, but it is safe to apply to plants that you eat. And who wants to grow oranges just to not eat them?
Since orange trees usually either live outdoors full-time, or only come indoors in the winter, organic fertilizer is the safer choice. It’s less likely to crust on top of the toil, preventing your tree from getting those valuable nutrients, and also less likely to burn in the sun.
Inorganic fertilizers typically have pesticides or some kind of additive in them, usually to keep away bugs or other critters that could harm your plant. There’s nothing wrong with using inorganic fertilizer, although it is more likely to burn your plant or crust upon the soil.
Orange trees, especially indoor ones in the winter, can be known to be a bit dramatic. Using inorganic fertilizer for a potted orange tree is kind of like playing Russian roulette–in my experience, it’s better safe than sorry.
If you invest in a high-quality inorganic fertilizer, however, your tree will probably be fine. Just make sure the composition is safe and that it’s formulated specifically for citrus trees and you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Read More >> How to make Fertilizer from Kitchen Waste?
Quantity and Cost
I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a factor when purchasing fertilizer for your orange tree. A high-quality fertilizer can be expensive, and it’s important to consider this before purchasing anything.
Young orange trees need a hefty amount of fertilizer to get established. Each product has its own recommendations, however, fertilizing roughly once a month during the growing season is good. If you have multiple citrus trees, keep that in mind.
Fertilizing in the winter, especially if your orange tree moves indoors, is important as well. Since the tree is no longer producing fruit, you don’t need to fertilize it as often, but every two-to-three months is good.
Keep in mind the quantity of the product in relation to the cost. You don’t want to have to buy a new bag of fertilizer once a month. Luckily for you, the awesome fertilizers listed below should last you and your orange tree a while!
My Reviews of the Best Fertilizers For Orange Trees
This awesome fertilizer is at the top of my list for a reason!
It’s organically made from leftover plant waste and materials. This means that that plant waste doesn’t go to landfills; instead, it goes to your garden to keep your orange tree happy.
It’s easy to use as well. All you have to do is mix it gently into the top few inches of soil and viola! Water and wait to see your tree perk up practically overnight.
The nutrient ratio is 5-2-3, which means it’s gentle enough for even the youngest potted tree, and it’s formulated specifically for citrus, meaning your plant will only get nutrients it needs.
The only downside is that dogs really seem to love this product. It won’t harm them, but it could give them a pretty upset stomach if they ingest too much. If your dog is able to reach your orange tree, either move it, or try a different fertilizer to keep your furry friend safe!
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
+ Environmentally friendly
+ Gentle formula won’t harm your plant
|– Dogs love the smell and may try to eat it|
This product is my high-end pick, but in my opinion, it’s worth the money, especially if you have an outdoor tree.
The formula is designed specifically for your orange tree and encourages fruiting, as well as healthy roots and vibrant green leaves.
It’s water-soluble and easy to use, and has been known to pretty much perform miracles on even the saddest of citrus trees.
The only downside is that the composition is pretty strong, at 20-10-20, and could harm a young orange tree.
The good news, however is that you can always dilute it to lessen the strength, since it is water soluble.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Great for outdoor trees|
+ Designed for citrus and oranges
+ High potassium content for juicy fruit
|– Strong formula|
This budget-friendly pick is perfect if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, or only have a few trees.
The 8-11-11 ratio is still great for citrus trees, and all that potassium will ensure juicy, delicious oranges.
Fertilizer spikes are one of my favorite kinds of fertilizer–all you have to do is put it in the soil near your tree and then water.
The slow-releasing formula won’t burn your plant, but will provide it with vital nutrients for up to 60 days. That’s a while!
The biggest downside is that this product is the lower nitrogen content. Depending on how dramatic your orange tree is, you might end up with fruit that bruises a little easier, as nitrogen is important in forming a thick peel.
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Convenient–only change it out every 60 days|
+ Slow-releasing formula
|– Low nitrogen content|
This fertilizer is awesome for any and all fruit trees, especially citrus fruits like oranges or even lemons.
This fertilizer is certified organic and non-GMO, which means no added manure or pesticides/chemicals (aka pet-and-kid friendly!)
This fertilizer is specifically formulated for your orange tree–no unnecessary ingredients. And it promotes fruiting, so you’ll be enjoying more delicious oranges than you can count.
The biggest downside is that if you use too much it could actually lead to more foliage than fruit. It’s formulated to promote growth as a whole, so when used improperly it could prompt a ton of new leaf growth, which then leaves the plant too tired out to grow fruit. Just fertilize as directed and you’ll be fine, though!
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
|+ Certified organic|
+ Promotes overall growth and health of the plant
|– Can produce too much foliage growth|
Man, I love fertilizer spikes! They’re easy, clean, and require almost no upkeep.
These fertilizer spikes are perfect for indoor or outdoor orange trees, and the 15-5-10 composition is amazing as well.
All you have to do is put the fertilizer spikes in the soil near your tree (directions on the packaging as to how many to use) and water, and then wait for a bountiful harvest!
And you can’t beat the price. Each spike is worth roughly $1 and you only need to use them every six months. For one tree, this single package could last years!
The strong ratio of nutrients can be pretty harsh on young plants, however, so if you have a young potted orange tree this one might not be for you. Better for more established trees that have been through a few seasons!
|PROS (+)||CONS (-)|
+ Easy to use
+ Formulated for orange trees
|– Too strong for young trees|
In my opinion, it can’t get better than EcoScraps For Organic Gardening Citrus & Avocado Plant Food! The formula is perfect for all orange trees, and I know I’ve said this a thousand times, but I love organic fertilizers!
Still not convinced you should go organic? Check out this article about what organic fertilizers mean for your garden.
The soil-like quality of this fertilizer means it won’t burn or stick to the soil, especially if you mix it gently into the top few inches of soil around your orange tree as directed. And the gentle nutrients will support and nourish even the youngest plant.
It’s worth every penny, too, coming in about less than $2 a pound. You can’t go wrong with this fertilizer, and you’re not only helping your orange tree, but also your wallet and the environment. That’s a win-win-win!
Final Thoughts On The Best Fertilizers For Orange Trees
Orange trees are one of the best additions you can make to your garden. When cared for properly they’re beautiful to look at and produce delicious, summery fruit. They like nice strong sunlight and humidity, and love extra nitrogen and potassium from a high-quality fertilizer!
Any of these fertilizers will benefit your orange tree and produce delicious fruit, and I highly recommend all of them. I hope you enjoy your oranges!