by tirial

Calamondin is a small sour orange. A small citrus fruit tree, often grown in the Phillipines, Calamondin (also called Calamansi) are ideal for growing indoors in colder climates.

A small citrus fruit tree, often grown in the Phillipines, Calamondin (also called Calamansi) are ideal for growing indoors in colder climates.

Suitable for container growing, the fruit look like oranges but have a sour taste rather like limes. The trees themselves can be kept small by the use of a decent sized sturdy pot. This, and their ability to produce fruit the year round, makes them ideal indoor fruit trees in most climates.

Calamondin trees

Growing your own fruit

Calamondins are native to the Phillipines, but survive reasonably well in other locations. Small fruit trees, they are often grown as decorative, but their fruit is quite edible and considered a delicacy in their native regions.

The small fruit, like tiny oranges, are extremely sour and may be an acquired taste. Comparable to acid oranges or lemons in flavour, they are high in Vitamin C, and considered to be very healthy. Tended carefully, Calamondin trees can be heavy croppers, so not many are needed to keep their owners in fruit. Several complain that the problem is finding out what to do with all the extras!

When grown in a container, their size is limited, and they form a compact bush. . This means they can be grown indoors easily, so in colder climates you can have home-grown fruit all year round. It also means they are ideal as an indoor tree for organic growing for owners without gardens.


In Pots

While they are low maintenance and don't need a large pot, in a smaller pot the tree needs to be kept well-fertilised to keep producing fruit. Either use fruit fertiliser every now and then or, for organic gardeners, I've had some success with occasional tea bags and egg shells.

Tree or seed?

Grow from seed or buy a tree?

Growing from seed is possible, and seeds are easily available. However as with all citrus trees it takes a few years before they are ready to produce fruit.

For the impatient, or people who are buying it for its fruit, I would suggest buying a fully grown tree. A range of Calamondin trees are available, including ready potted ones for the patio or indoors and even bonsai! If you then decide you want seeds, you can plant the fruit. Although, like all citrus, there is no guarantee the fruit will breed true, I have six small trees on a windowsill right now to show it is possible.

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Calamondin vs. Kumquats

Two very different fruit

These are two different fruit, but are often confused by people who have not seen them together. The plants look similar, since they are both citrus, but the easiest way to tell them apart is the fruit:


  • look like mini oranges with multiple tiny segments
  • have thin rinds and large (edible) seeds.
  • are extremely sour.


  • are long ovals,
  • have four segments when cut,
  • have thick peel and small seeds
  • are usually sweet

Both trees have fruit that can be eaten whole, unusual for citrus fruits.

Compare pictures of Calamondins and Kumquats

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Panama Orange Tree - Calamondin - Citrus mitis - 10" Pot - Citrus

Calamondin. Citrus mitis a.k.a. Panama orange, Scarlet lime, Golden lime. Small citrus fruit resembling a miniature tangerine. Fruits are very juicy, with a sweet but acidic fla...

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Planting outdoors

Growing Calamondin in hot climates

While you can't grow these outside in Britain, it is quite possible overseas. The trees originated in the Phillipines and growers in the South United States may get beautiful displays outdoors, as discussed in the video below.

The plant needs high temperatures and at least six hours of bright sunlight a day, so in the UK, it's normally an indoor plant only.

Growing Calamansi, also called Calamondin

In this video, Gilbert details how to grow Calamondin

Available outside the US

Buying a tree in the UK

For readers overseas, Calamondin are often available in garden centres worldwide. They can also be ordered online from Oddly, these are rarely available as seeds, unless you already know someone with a tree.

Growing outdoors in the US

Which zones and how much sunlight?

Calamondin Flowers

Small white citrus flowers

The Calamondin produces clusters of small white flowers, that eventually develop into fruit. If raised indoors or in a controlled environment, the calamondin can produce both flowers and fruit  year round. To do this, it will require good compost and fertiliser, but a properly treated tree can produce a great deal of fruit.

Fruit and flavour

As mentioned, the Calamondin fruit resembles a small orange. If you cut it across, the inside will be starred like an orange (rather than divided into four like a kumquat) and it contains seeds. When the fruit first develops it is green, but then turns yellow and finally bright orange as it ripens. It gets sweeter (or more accurately, less sour) as it ripens. I know people who eat the green fruit for the extremely sour taste, but personally I don't.

The rind is extremely thin, and grating a Calamondin for its peel is easier said than done, unless you want juice everywhere. However it can be peeled fairly easily by hand when ripe, as the rind is loose. The rind, which is edible, is sweet tasting. The flesh of the fruit and the juice is extremely tart.

Eaten whole the two make a slight and interesting contrast, but if the juice is drained off for cooking you'd want to use it to replace lemon juice rather than orange in recipes. We have used it, with sugar, on pancakes.

A healthy treat - Nutrition

High in Vitamin C and Viatmin A, containing Iron and other nutrients, the Calamondin is good for heath:

A very sour orange...

Don't expect this fruit to be sweet! I bought one for the member of the family who eats lemons. They prefer calamondin, since it is more sour...

One of the nicknames for the calamondin is the sour orange, and there's a very good reason for that.

Trying Calamondin

This lady was expecting it to be sweet...
Updated: 01/30/2015, tirial
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