Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

PONCIRUS trifoliata

Image of Poncirus trifoliata

Jesse Saylor

Family

Rutaceae

Botanical Name

PONCIRUS trifoliata

Plant Common Name

Hardy Orange

General Description

Densely filled with spiny branches and three-lobed leaves, hardy orange also bears lemon-flavored, small golden fruits that persist into winter. A large shrub to small deciduous tree that is rounded, it is native to northern China and Korea. The fruits are loaded with seeds and will self-sow in landscapes, and with a viciously spined canopy, makes it difficult and unpleasant to remove. It is considered an invasive woodland intruder in some parts of the eastern United States.

The compound leaves are made up of three oval leaflets, first emerging glossy green and maturing to a medium matte green. The leaves occur all along the young green branches that are lined with sharp spines. In late spring or early summer, cup-shaped white blossoms can be found on branch ends. They are pleasantly fragrant and often recur again in early autumn. The green golf ball-sized fruits ripen to yellow-gold by autumn and persist into the winter. Fall foliage is yellow, and once the foliage drops, the lingering fruits look pretty against the zig-zagging olive-green branches across the winter months. Those of 'Flying Dragon' are much more twistingly ornate.

Grow hardy orange in full sun to considerable shade in any fertile well-draining soil. It is very drought tolerant once established, but in the coldest reaches of its hardiness range, it should be protected from drying winter winds. Use it as an impenetrable hedgerow or as a mixed border accent. Position the plant away from walkways or areas where people would not unknowingly walk into the branches. The fruits are edible but very acidic and seedy. They are usually made into marmalade and the zest can flavor culinary dishes. The disease-resistant and hardy roots of this plant are also used as grafted rootstock for traditional citrus tree cultivars.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 3

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8'-18' / 2.4m - 5.5m

  • Width

    6'-15' / 1.8m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    China, Korea

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Gold

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes