I obtained an orange tree a few months ago and it always seems to have a lot of problems. Curling leaves, yellow leaves and dying leaves. I am not looking for suggestions as to why I have problems here, but when talking to a person at a hardware store I was told that the tree was probably an indoor tree only and the heat was probably causing it stress. Other people have told me there is no such thing...

It said indoor/miniature Washington navel orange on the tag but also said that it could be outdoors. The sales person said that it's not really indoors but just miniature and that it needed lots of sun. Several other nurseries have also said there is no such thing as an indoor citrus tree that would not do well outside. So question is does such an a/c needing orange tree even exist? Could my tree be one of those?


2 Answers 2


Well, a citrus tree is not going to do well in a temperate climate. Eg. I've seen miniature kumquats and the like, do well indoors in the UK, but you'd never grow any citrus tree outdoors in the UK. In other words the indoor and outdoor climates can be so very different (incl. in Colorado) that "no such thing as an indoor citrus tree that would not do well outside" seems to be assuming a lot.

I see you are in Denver, Colorado. That isn't the kind of climate I would associate with citrus trees of any type! Regardless of the summer climate, you're going to have problems as soon as the first frost arrives.

  • Well yes, Colorado is not the place for orange trees. However this one is in a pot that I plan to bring in when it starts getting cooler. I have an appartment with a large porch that faces south west so I get tons of sun. What I was curious about is the, is it true that my tree could be an indoor only tree? Basically could the 90 degree weather really be harming the tree? Sep 1, 2011 at 20:34
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    @startoftext: If you've got it on a porch facing southwest with direct sunlight, you're probably baking the tree. Temps of 90 ambient are going to be amplified on the porch, especially if you've got a lot of glass reflecting that sunlight back at the tree. I don't know if there is an "indoor only" orange tree, but what you've described sounds like heat stress and possibly lack of water (water gets baked out of the soil in the pot quickly in those conditions).
    – bstpierre
    Sep 1, 2011 at 20:54

We're in the dry and hot part of Washington state, and our miniature citrus trees are moved outside in the late spring, brought inside in the early fall. They get regular (daily) water and direct sunlight, but they also get a chance to acclimatize before it gets too hot. They are much happier outside and always lose leaves when they are brought in.

Besides the regular water, make sure they get regular fertilizer. Ours often get leaves that are too light of green during the summer (the water washes out all the nutrients), and that adds to the stress when they are brought inside.

If you just bought it, go ahead and leave it in for now, and then put it out next spring, after danger of frost. We half bury the pot ouside (so the wind doesn't blow it over) in an area where the sprinklers hit it. With it outside, it can be pollinated by bees too. If it's inside all the time, you'll have to hand pollinate it.

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