Satsuma Orange Growing Guide

Citrus unshui

Satsuma Orange

Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Very limited. Oranges are semi-tropical trees but satsuma types are the most cold hardy, capable of surviving temperatures to about 15°F (-9°C) for a few hours.


Feed twice a year by spreading a balanced organic fertilizer over the root zone of the tree.


Single Plants: 19' 8" (6.00m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 19' 8" (6.00m) with 19' 8" (6.00m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Better satsuma orange cultivars are grafted onto sour orange rootstocks to improve vigor and pest resistance. Set out purchased plants in late winter or early spring, setting the plant so the root ball is 1 inch (2 cm) above the soil line. Water deeply every 10 days during periods of dry weather. Satsuma oranges are self-fertile so can be grown as single specimens. In containers, plant satsuma oranges in the largest planter you can manage if you live in a cold climate where the plant will be brought indoors in winter.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Native to China and Japan, satsuma oranges are semi-tropical trees. Due to their size it is difficult or impossible to provide temporary cold protection for them. The satsuma types lack thorns, are more tolerant of winter cold, and stay small so they are easy to manage as landscape trees. Satsumas are low, spreading trees that often need their lowest branches removed. Prune these little trees in late winter, after the fruits have been harvested but before blooming begins.


Satsumas turn orange as they ripen. Sample large fruits for flavor, and harvest before fruits start falling to the ground. Clip fruits from the tree to avoid tearing holes in the delicate rinds. Keep harvested fruits in a cool place.


Several root rot diseases, leaf miners and other insects affect satsuma oranges, but single plants in home landscapes often outgrow minor problems.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Satsuma Orange