Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Hardy Orange Plant Profile

Hardy Orange (Poncirus trifoliata) is a large shrub that is famous for its sharp thorns and sour citrus fruits. It makes an excellent hedge and should be placed away from any high traffic areas in your landscape.

It is hardy to zones 4 to 9 and originates in China. The leaves fall off in autumn and reveal a dramatic interior of spiny, dark-green stems.

Hardy Orange prefers a full-sun location, but it can take some shade. It also prefers acidic, well-draining soils. It can grow to 15 feet high and wide. Once established, it is drought-tolerant.

The small fruits ripen in fall and are full of seeds and the juice is lemon-like. It can be used to make a marmalade, but is generally treated more as an ornamental fruit than an edible one.

The ‘Flying Dragon’ cultivar has beautiful twisting branches and is available by mail order or at local independent garden centers.

Prune it carefully, when needed, by wearing thick leather gloves and eye protection. You can take stem  cuttings to propagate it or try your luck at planting the seeds.

Hardy Orange: You Can Grow That!

The video was produced by Washington Gardener Magazine.

Audio and Text by Kathy Jentz

Video and Editing by Melinda Thompson
Additional Video Footage by Charlotte Benedetto and Kathy Jentz

Partially filmed at the US National Arboretum’s Asian Collection.

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~ Podcast: GardenDC



  1. You can, and I do! I saw one at the Philadelphia Garden Show years ago and was beguiled by it. I found the Flying Dragon variety offered in a catalogue, and bought and planted it. It's been in quite a shady location (under a holly tree) and last year a few fruits appeared! This year it was loaded with them. Such an interesting plant it is, indeed. A real conversation starter. So glad to see it featured here.

    1. Great to hear you had good success with it - even in a shady spot. Much of the research I did said it will not tolerate shade, though that is exactly where I saw it growing and thriving in local gardens.

    2. My neighbor's grows in a very shady spot at the back of our lot line.


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