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Poncirus trifoliata (Japanese Bitter Orange)

A bit of a botanical curiosity but when clipped nicely and in flower or in fruit, a fine sight. Very tough, deciduous (unlike all other citrus) and with the most extraordinarily large and brutal spines which make for a truly impenetrable hedge if required.

The flowers are fragrant (not quite as fragrant as true citrus admittedly) and citrus-like and the fruits are orange and large tangerine sized and (we are assured) make good marmalade – in the hands of skilled marmalade makers.

Slow growing to 8ft after 10 years and we grow them as hedging plants or as specimen trees. In the Mediterranean these are grown in huge numbers from seed as the roots are grafted onto Lemon and Orange trees for commercial use – also creating plants more frost hardy than plants grown from cuttings.

Any reasonably well drained soil in sun or partial shade. In sun the plant will be more compact and probably flower and fruit with greater profusion but in light shade, the leaves will be greener. As with all citrus, the leaves can be slightly bleached by strong sunlight.

Propagated by seed.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.

As with all woody plants, plant high, exposing as much of the taper at the base of the trunk as possible. Allowing soil to accumulate round the base of a tree can be fatal. Keep very well watered when first planted.

Hardiness traffic light green

Hardiness level Green

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Hardy anywhere in Britain below approximately 1000ft (300m)

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we're always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it's better to 'plant small' is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some 'wood' on them to survive severe cold - so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

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