Tag Archives: indoor fruit trees

Failed Citrus Grafts

About 2 years ago, I received a Moro Blood Orange Tree as a gift. This tree spends the summers outside and the winters inside near the west window of the house. This past fall, our weather stayed very warm late into the season. I made the mistake of over-estimating the cold-hardiness of the Moro orange tree. A couple nights, the temperature dipped into the high 20’s. Upon bringing the tree into the house, all the leaves fell, and branches turned black.

Failed Orange Graft

Failed moro orange graft

Weak graft failed when temperatures dipped below 25F.

Now, Moro orange is supposed to be hardy to zone 9, or around 20F-25F for its lowest temperature. Much of this hardiness is owed to the fact that most dwarf Moro orange trees are grafted to Trifolate orange rootstock. Trifolate orange is one of the hardiest citrus, and can even be grown in warmer or protected areas of zone 5. It is unusual in that this tree is deciduous, which helps protect it in freezing temperatures.

When my tree was exposed to the cold temps, the union between the Trifolate rootstock, and the Moro scion (which was probably weak to begin with) failed, leading to the death of the scion.  Earlier in the season, this tree had shown some areas of chlorosis, or leaf yellowing, and the area around the graft appeared to be girdling the tree a bit. It’s likely this graft would have failed eventually anyway, as the trunk was growing at a much different rate than the scion, and the graft was not strong.

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Tropical Edibles – Wish List, Part 2

To continue with my conservatory trip and all the things I’d love to have space for, below are a few more plants that can be grown indoors in zone 5.



Vanilla orchid at the conservatory

At the beginning of the year, I purchased a tiny 3″ vanilla orchid cutting
. Vanilla often forms areal roots, so cuttings are a method of propagating the vanilla orchid. Unfortunately, my cutting was not well established. The dryness of the house in January and the lack of roots caused my orchid to die.

Orchid can easily be grown in pots when established. It requires a humid environment (misting indoors) and a well-draining orchid mix. Weekly misting of a foliage fertilizer will improve growth, however, fertilizing should be done only when actively growing. Medium light is necessary, and vanilla will do well in indirect light.

Huge Vanilla Orchid

Huge Vanilla Orchid

To propagate a vanilla orchid, dust an areal root with rooting hormone, and wrap with damp Sphagnum moss. Moss can be misted daily or every other day for moisture. Roots will grow into the moss, and when roots appear established, this section can be cut and planted into an orchid mix. A cutting with 3 or more nodes can be cut directly, and placed in moss as well, without waiting for roots to form.

At the conservatory, it’s easy to see how absolutely huge vanilla vine can grow. Their plant is easily over 100ft long. It travels to the top of the tree, and back down, and then up some more.

Barbados Cherry


Barbados Cherry

Barbados Cherry, or Acerola, is a natural source of vitamin C, and is used in many vitamin C supplements. It is native to the warm climates of South and Central America. It grows as a woody shrub or small to medium tree, and has a shrub-like growth pattern. Barbados Cherry can be kept small by pruning and makes an interesting bonsai specimen due to it’s thin branches, small leaves, berry-like fruit, and curled growing habit. Fruits are bright red, edible, and have good flavor. Continue reading