Best Citrus varieties NZ

The best Citrus varieties NZ.

So what are the best Citrus varieties to grow in New Zealand?

Many of us look forward to winter because we like harvesting our citrus to ward off the dreaded winter lurgy. It’s also a good time to buy and plant citrus. So which citrus should you buy?

Depending on how much space you have available and what your personal preferences are you won’t go wrong choosing from the following.

Numerical order of preference:

1. Clementine mandarin – My top two favorite flavoured Mandrin’s are Clemantine & Thorny.

Ripens in mid season with excellent flavour. It’s not as easy to peel as other varieties though, but the flavour makes up for that!

Best mandarin variety

Clementine Mandarin can get pips from cross pollination with other citrus.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2m x 2m

2. Lime Bearss-

A hardier variety of Tahitian lime with a vigorous growth habit. Has thin skin which turns yellow at maturity. Ripens over an extended period. An essential citrus for cooks. Can be used on seafood, salads and in cooking.

Best Citrus Varieties

Bearss Lime gives your food that delicious lime flavour.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 3m x 2.5m

3. Thorny mandarin –

Has one of the best flavours and peels easily. Does have some thorns though. Ripens mid season.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2.5m x 1.5m

4. Burgess Scarlet mandarin –

Ripens mid season with easy peel skin and high fruit flavour on a vigorous tree.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2m x 2m

5. Encore –

Ripens late season so you can extend your harvesting. Reasonably easily peeled.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 3m x 2m

6. Miho –

Is cold hardy with heavy crops. Ripens early season (June and July) with easy peel skin and high sugar levels. Popular as an export fruit.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2m x 2m

Best Mandarin varieties

Miho Mandarin delicious & easy peel

7. Lemonade –

Try something a bit different. Is juicy with a mild grapefruit flavour. Can be eaten fresh or juiced. Crops heavily.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 3m x 2.5m

8. Tangor Ugli – Ugli fruit –

Is larger than mandarins with a thick bright orange skin that’s easily peeled. Has good flavour. It’s name Tangor is from a combination of TANG-erine and OR-ange. The ‘Ugli’ is from it’s quite rough skin texture.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2m x 2m

9. Tangelo Seminole –

Is very juicy with excellent flavour. But is hard to peel without squeezing the juice every where. To avoid this problem either cut into quarters and bite out centre or cut in half and juice it.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2.5m x 2m

10. Meyer lemon –

Is a handy year-round producer of large fruit and is cold hardy. It’s probably and hybrid between a lemon and orange so has a milder flavour than a true lemon. Is popular with home gardeners because it’s a heavy cropper and can produce a year round crop in ideal circumstances.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 2m x 2m

11. Yen Ben lemon –

If you want the real sourness of a “true” lemon for culinary purposes this lemon is a good choice because it’s got a thin smooth skin that you can  use is ‘zest’ (grated skin) in recipes.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 3m x 2.5m

12. Grapefruit ‘Golden Special’-

If you like a jolt of fresh citrus flavour then Golden Special Grapefruit may be to your liking. Golden Special is generally considered the best Grapefruit for New Zealand gardens. Grapefruit is too sour by it’s self for many consumers, but can be used in combination with other citrus such as limes or lemon to make a delicious marmalade or juiced with sweeter citrus such as Tangelo Seminole. ‘Golden Special’ Grapefruit produces large juicy fruit that’s difficult to peel by hand. So is typically cut in half and scooped with a small curved knife or spoon. Or peeled with a knife.

Approximate Height & width in 7 to 10 years = 3m x 3m. So you need to allow that much space to avoid shading smaller plants.

You may notice I haven’t included oranges because in my experience home gardens are often shaded for part of the day by structures or other trees which tends to make the oranges not as sweet as the commercial oranges and there fore disappointing in flavour. But if you have a sunny north facing area with full sun they may be worth trying.

If you can fit all of the Best Citrus varieties NZ in your home orchard you’ll be set to enjoy them for years ahead.

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