Q: I am buying several citrus plants from a grower in South Carolina. He has recommended the best citrus trees for my 7b hardiness zone, including ‘Changsha’ mandarin orange, bitter lemon and pummelo. He says they need a “protected” 7b location. How do I keep my trees protected?
A: A spot where the house shelters the plants from cold winter winds is “protected”. I recommend an eastern exposure, not southern, because a southern exposure warms the plant too much during sunny winter days.
Despite their reputed hardiness, plan to make and keep at hand a black plastic shelter for each plant in case temperatures lower than 20 degrees threaten.
The Southeastern Palm Society is publishing a book in late 2004 about how to select and grow a wide selection of citrus varieties north of Florida, with attention to flavor, ornamental value and cold-hardiness.