One of the more unusual citrus trees is the Blood Orange. With brilliant blood red tinged orange fruit, and that interesting red pigmentation on the inside Blood Oranges are a dual purpose tree.
The pigmentation is from the anthrocyanin, said to be a good antioxidant. In terms of taste they are like a slightly bitter orange but less acidic although varieties differ in sweetness.
Not only great for the fruit which can be juiced or eaten. When grown as a standard with a good clear trunk Blood Oranges also make attractive container plants for a sunny courtyard. Glossy foliage and when in fruit they look spectacular.
A number of varieties are available, the most popular are.
- Citrus sinensis Moro is the most common variety grow in Australia.
- Arnold, marketed as such yet said to be a Moro sport.
- Tarocco, very large fruit and great flavour, however slow to produce fruit.
- Cara Cara is actually a pigmented Navel Orange and not a true blood orange.
Although they are found widely in Italy and Spain it is thought that the species is originally from China.
To grow blood oranges successfully you will need a climate that allows for cold winters and hot dry summer, they do like cold nightime temperatures as well. So a typical Mediteranean climate where the difference between night temperatures and daytime varies a lot.
Thy also like good temperature variation in autumn.
Otherwise the same care as other citrus trees, and yes they can be grown in a container.
You will need to have pollinating insects for the tree to successfully produce fruit. The insects are attracted by the flowers, so follow a proper fertilisation regime and do not over use nitrogen based fertiliser, a normal citrus tree slow release type fertiliser will be sufficient.
Blood Orange Trees are available for sale from the following nurseries
Mail order fruit tree nursery with over 200 temperate climate fruit trees.
Heritage varieties and dwarf fruit trees. Apple Trees, Stone Fruit, Nut Trees and Berry Fruit.