Citrus calamondin is a hybrid of kumquat and mandarin orange, which produces heavily scented leaves, beautiful flowers and lots of edible fruit. The fruit, which is a bit like a mandarin with a sharper flavour, is a very popular cooking ingredient in the Philippines and can be used when green (unripe) or orange (ripe). Even if you don’t eat the fruit, it will look really pretty on a patio or balcony.
Like most citrus plants, it loves lots of sun, so put it in your brightest spot. It likes its soil to be kept moist, which may mean watering its soil every couple of days at the height of summer. In colder months it may only need watering every couple of weeks. Leaves will provide fragrance year round, with flowers appearing in spring and summer. Fruit will follow, taking up to six months to ripen. Feeding at least once a month will encourage fruiting.
As well as cooking, the fruit and its juice can also be used as a substitute for lime in cocktails. Top tip: You can freeze the fruit whole and use it when you need it.
Citrus trees can be damaged by very cold temperatures, so its best to bring it inside for autumn and winter, then put it back out when the sun reappears.
Citrus plants are mildly toxic to cats if eaten, but cats absolutely hate the smell of them so will typically leave them well alone.
Depending on the time of year, your tree may arrive without fruit, but if you give it enough warmth and sun it should flower and fruit from spring.
Did you know?
The Philippines exports around 190,000 tons of citrus calamondin juice every year.