The Best Orange Trees To Grow in California and Their Differences

Citrus trees are a perfect choice for home grows in California. Whether you decide on a lemon tree, lime tree, orange tree, grapefruit tree, or all of the above, you can expect Spring-time blossoms of beautiful white flowers that coat your yard in a fresh citrus aroma.

If you want a delicious fruit that is great for your health and can be eaten right from the tree, then an orange tree might be just what you’re looking for. Oranges are one of the only fruits that don’t over-ripen if left on the tree. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are known for protecting the body from illness with anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antimicrobial benefits.

If you are looking to incorporate an orange tree into your home garden, then check out our list of the four best and most delicious varieties to grow. They all look similar on the outside, but the inside is an entirely different story.

“California is a fine place to live – if you happen to be an orange.”
Fred Allen


Washington Navel Orange

The Washington Navel Orange tree is the most popular eating orange in California as they are large, seedless, sweet, and easy to peel. Navel oranges are known as a Winter Orange while Valencias are known as the Summer Orange. Navel oranges are sweeter than Valencias and better eaten right from the tree rather than juiced.  These oranges are in season December through March and are everbearing, producing multiple times a year with a high yield.


Valencia Orange

The Valencia Orange is the only orange with a Summer harvest. These oranges have a balanced sweet and tart flavor and are the most commonly used variety to make orange juice. Unlike the Navel orange, Valencia does contain a few seeds and can be harvested from March through September. Although they’re used primarily for juicing, you can still eat them out of hand. The longer these oranges stay on the tree, the sweeter they get.


Moro Blood Orange

The Moro Blood Orange is the most popular red-fleshed orange on the market. Its deeply pigmented flesh has more antioxidants than any other orange and combats cancer-causing free radicals in the body. These fruits have few seeds and a delicious berry-like flavor. The Moro is an attractive ornamental for any yard as it produces fruit in clusters, and upon maturity, its skin changes to a reddish hue. These oranges are great for eating out of hand, juicing, making marmalade, and used for a variety of desserts. The Moro tree is ready for harvest between November to May in California.


Cara Cara Orange

The Cara Cara Orange, first discovered in Venezula, is a hybrid of the Washington Navel and the Brazilian Bahia. Inside the Cara Cara Orange lies a unique bright pink flesh similar to the color of grapefruit that lacks the acidity of other oranges. The fruits are sweet with hints of cherry, blackberry, and rose petals and are known for their disease-fighting antioxidants. Cara Cara Oranges have about 20% more Vitamin C and 30% more Vitamin A than Navel oranges. These fruits are great for both eating and juicing. Once the fruits’ skin turns orange on the tree, it takes a few weeks to become sweet and flavorful.

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