A table with a display of freshly harvested citrus fruits
Cold hardy citrus fruits

The talk of citrus plants thriving in our northern climate does sound a little challenging. This is especially so when you consider that the citrus genus originated from the areas of India, Indonesia and southern China where the climates are more tropical rainforest. However, given the right conditions, varieties such as the Meyers lemon, the Satsuma, Mandarin, Clementine and Calamondin are capable of surviving temperatures as low as -9° Celsius, although - to be fair - they may not look like much come the spring.

Satsuma fruits ready to pick but still on the tree
Satsuma fruit
Living with the shadow of global warming, and our seemingly milder winters, the growing of citrus outside in the English climate is now becoming a reality – but you need to choose the right varieties. If you are not too worried about cropping flavoursome or edible fruit then you can pick from the toughest of the bunch. The hardiest of all the citrus are the Seville or Bitter orange – as used for marmalade, and rootstocks. The Washington Navel orange also has good cold tolerance, and in particular the Navelina cultivar. If you want lemons for your summer gin and tonic then look no further than the Meyers lemon variety - a natural hybrid between the lemon and the sweet orange but far hardier than either plant.

Cold hardy oranges are far more difficult to provide because – to be fair – there aren't any as yet. Even so, you can get still that orange effect by planting the tough Clementine and Calamondin. Although not quite as cold hardy but definitely worth a go is the flavoursome Satsuma mandarin especially if you are prepared to give it some protection.

Of course, don't let the hardiness (or lack of it) be a barrier to growing these stunning plants. All citrus varieties can be grown as containerised specimens and as such can be brought under protection when temperatures begin to dip below 7 degrees Celsius.

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