Every December you probably notice Christmas trees and lights going up everywhere, all over your neighborhood and on the inside of every store. You also probably notice citrus hitting the shelves of super markets at low prices. This is because winter is citrus season, so there’s an abundance of fresh oranges, lemons, and limes. One of the most popular seasonal citrus fruits is the Clementine, so this article includes facts and helpful care tips all about it!


1. Clementine Trees are hybrids between Mandarin Orange Trees and Sweet Orange Trees.

2. Some sources say that a French monk by the name of Marie-Clement Rodier created the hybrid tree. Other sources say that the Clementine Tree existed in China years before Rodier made his hybrid. Either way they made it to America in 1909.

Christmas Fruit and Spice3. Although Tangerines and Clementines are both linked to Mandarins, Clementines taste very sweet while tangerines taste sour.

4. Tangerines have seeds, but Clementines are seedless. Sometimes Clementines are referred to as ‘Seedless Tangerines.’ Due to their ripening season from November to January they’re also known as ‘Christmas Oranges’.

5. You can recognize a Clementine by its small shape. They’re wider than they are tall and have smooth glossy skin.

6. The skin on Clementines is extremely easy to peel. Also, Clementines can very easily be broken apart  into 8 – 14 different sections.

7. The nutrients found in Clementines includes fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Slices of a tangerine

Care tips

1. Clementine Trees flourish in full to partial sunlight. Even though they prefer full sun, they can tolerate shade.

2. Sandy soil is best for Clementine Trees, but they will adapt to your natural soil. To make your soil sandier mix in  sand or a fine potting mix. Just make sure that your soil is well draining.

Clementine_Nules_220-013. Don’t over water your tree. Check on your soil every few days, and only give your trees water when your soil is dry to the touch down to about 2 inches below the surface.

4. In the early spring and early fall give your trees some citrus fertilizer that’s high in acidity. However, wait until your tree has had one year of growth before you fertilize it.

5. Clementine Trees produce white flowers in the spring before their fruit begins to grow. Your fruit will be ripe and ready to be harvested towards mid-November when its skin fully turns orange. If you see green on the skin or around the stem then your Clementines aren’t ready to be harvested yet.

6. Clementine Trees are recommended for growing zones 8 through 11, and are cold hardy down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. If you live in an area that gets colder than 20 degrees, plant your Clementines in containers and bring them indoors when it gets cold. These trees do extremely well in pots, and indoors. Just place them by a large sunny window and watch them take off.

For more information about plant care click here!

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12 years ago I was sitting around, talking with two of my favorite, fellow Plant Geeks. We were trying to figure out why so many, superior plant varieties were not available to the public and were seldom offered in Garden Centers. Instead, the stores sold less attractive, older varieties, proven to be disease and insect prone. They also sold the sprays and chemicals that their customers would eventually need. The Ah Ha moment hit us and a company was formed. We decided that we would only offer the highest quality plants that must be Easy to Grow.
  • Martha

    Do citrus and avocado tree shed there leave in the winter. I live in zone 8.

    • AllisonTrees

      They’re evergreen trees, so normally they keep their leaves. However, Avocado and citrus trees will shed their leaves if then sense any type of change. This includes weather and sunlight changes. They’re sensitive and once the temperature drops, or they’re brought inside they’ll drop their leaves to protect themselves. My Meyer Lemon experienced some leaf drop recently when I moved it indoors. This is normal.

      You can take a coin or your fingernail and gently scratch some of the surface area of the bark under your tree. If it’s a light color underneath like green or white then your tree is healthy.

  • Marianne

    I have a young Olive Tree that’s in the backyard where it gets a good deal of sun or light during the day and I was wondering if it’s truly cold hardy, I’m in Zone 9.

    • AllisonTrees

      Both the Greek and Arbequina Olive Trees are cold hardy to zone 8. They can withstand freezing temperatures down to about 10 degrees. Zone 9 is perfect for your tree.

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  • Libby

    Should we pull all the buds off the first year before they develop? While the tree is establishing roots? We have a Meyer Lemon tree and was told to that with it. Didn’t know if it was the same for Nules clementines.

  • Laura

    Mine are so dry inside what should I do

  • Patricia Sullivan Wiler

    I’m having great success growing papaya trees. Have had fruit in three of them. They are my experiment. Winter is hard on them but I’ve followed advice from online accounts of how to handle them. I also am growing pineapple plants. Already have eaten fruit from one.

  • tkaz

    I’d love some advice, I’m in Arizona.
    We had 2 separate fruiting periods, I left the first on as the 2nd begin to grow, I wasn’t sure if I should give them both a chance. Needless to say, by summer I realized they’d grow no further so I picked as many as I could reach.
    Now, the tree is sparse, and many small branches appear dead. The few leaves that have grown off the trunk a dark, healthy & full.
    I just don’t know how to carry on to return my tree to a healthy place.