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Interesting Facts

Legend has it that ancient Grecians assumed certain foods had special qualities.  One such legend suggests that oranges and other Citrus warmed the body, and therefore should be eaten in the morning to get the body moving.  It is because of this belief that orange juice, grapefruits and other Citrus are such popular breakfast foods/drinks.

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Washington Navel Orange   Washington Navel (Citrus sinensis)

The Washington Navel Orange is the go-to Sweet Orange.  It is famous for its winter fruits.  The seedless fruit is flavorful, juicy and peels easily.  They hold well on the tree, but will drop early in dry and hot climates.

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Plant Types: Fruit, Interior Plant, Perennial, Tree
Light: Full Sun
Height: 15 feet to 20 feet
Width: 10 feet to 15 feet
Zones: 9a to 10b
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Seasons: Early spring
Leaf Color: Green
Special Features: Edible, Naturalizing, Not North American native
Shape: Rounded
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Shake 'n Feed® Continuous Release Citrus, Avocado, & Mango Plant Food, Miracle-Gro® Nursery Select Miracid® Water Soluble Plant Food, Chelated Iron
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Plant Care

Sow seeds in spring. Can also propagate by rooting semi-ripe cuttings in summer. Semi-ripe cuttings are cuttings taken from semi-mature wood.


The only sure-fire way to know when your fruit is ready for harvest is to sample it. Most varieties’ rinds may appear fully colored months before they have sufficiently ripened on the tree. For this reason it is best to err on the side of caution, as Washington Navel Oranges can be left on the tree for weeks after they have ripened with little effect on quality.  Hot and dry weather will result in early dropping of the fruit, however.

Plant Growth:

Evergreen trees. Washington Navels need heat in order to prosper. They will not grow well in places where the temperature falls below 20°F. Otherwise, grow Washington Navel Oranges in a cool greenhouse with a minimum temperature of 35°F (2°C). During the day, set temperatures between 41-50°F (5-10°C), and at night, keep the temperature at 36°F (2°C).


Produces fragrant white flowers followed by ovoid, yellow or orange fruit. Fruits may take around 1 year to mature. Blooms in spring for winter fruits.

Soil and Irrigation:

Citrus trees require moist soil, but the soil needs to have fast drainage. Newly planted trees should be watered twice a week while established trees should be watered every other week.

Often times Citrus fruits will start dropping as a result of high heat and low humidity.  This is sometimes unavoidable, but is exacerbated by very dry soil.  If you have extensive fruit drop (especially in summer), be sure that the soil is moist.


Fertilize mature citrus trees by giving it 1-1 ½ lbs. of actual nitrogen. Do this by using one-third of the fertilizer in late winter, one-third in June, and one-third in August. Be sure to fertilize not only right under the tree but well beyond the tree's branch spread. Afterwards, water the tree deeply.


Remove crossing or wayward shoots, annually, in late winter or early spring, to maintain a healthy framework. May need extensive pruning during winter or early spring if grown indoors.


Citrus is susceptible to aphids, mites, scale insects, and mealybugs.