Orange 'Washington Navel'
The most popular eating orange because of its rich sweet flavour and seedless, crisp but tender flesh that is presented in easily separated segments. A lunchbox favourite, the fruit is large and easy to peel. Ripening during winter, Washington Navels hold well on the tree for a month or more, helping to extend your harvest.
Citrus trees need plenty of sun and good drainage, so a position in full sun in a raised garden bed is ideal. The roots of citrus grow close to the surface, so it’s best to mulch beneath the tree to avoid competition from other plants or weeds. Heavy feeders, fertiliser should be applied monthly to ensure they have nutrients available at all times. Apply blood and bone, dynamic lifter or a citrus fertiliser once a month, every month. Citrus will grow in all Australian climates. Use your Heat Zone (HZ) to determine the best varieties for your area. In cold areas, lemon, kumquat, mandarin and pummelo (orange x grapefruit) are ideal. ‘Buddha’s Hand’ only needs a HZ of 3+, while oranges and pink grapefruit do best in areas with a HZ of 4+. If planting in pots, select a pot at least 40cm wide and 50cm deep to allow room for the roots to grow and develop, and for more moisture and nutrients to be held. Always use a good-quality organic potting mix and fertilise regularly. Liquid feeds are also beneficial. Every two years you should either pot into a bigger pot, or repot with fresh potting mix after trimming the roots back by 5cm and reducing the top growth. Regular tip pruning throughout the year will help to reduce growth, otherwise prune to one arm’s length. A general rule of thumb for all citrus is that you should be able to reach the trunk in the middle of the tree without having to dive into the foliage.