Arctic Frost SatsumaCitrus reticulata 'Gremoy 79'
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Citrus reticulata 'Gremoy 79'
Outdoor Growing zone
The Arctic Frost™ Satsuma is the most reliable citrus tree for growing outdoors, because it is hardy throughout zone 8. It has been bred for cold-resistance, but it is also delicious, with sweet fruits that keep that real citrus tang. They are very easy to peel, and virtually seedless. White flowers fill the air with orange-blossom fragrance in spring, and orange fruits are ripe by late fall and early winter. This tree grows no more than 12 feet tall outdoors, or 6 feet in a planter, and it is self-fertile, so a bumper crop is certain, even with just one tree.
The Arctic Frost™ Satsuma should be grown in full sun, and a spot in front of a south-facing wall is ideal in colder zones. It grows easily in ordinary well-drained soil, or in a planter with citrus potting soil and regular fertilizer. Potted trees can be brought into a bright, cool place during the coldest months. Pests and diseases are rare, and no pruning is needed. A simple hand-pollination will make sure your potted tree has a big crop – outdoor trees will be pollinated by bees.
Citrus fruits are hugely popular, and for eating, satsumas are the best of all. Their loose, easy-peel skin, lack of seeds, and sweet flesh mean that children in particular love them. What better way to give them those healthy vitamins and minerals? The joy of growing them successfully is as great as the pleasure of eating them, but unless you live in a frost-free region that can be demanding or down-right impossible. Of all the citrus, satsumas and other types of mandarins are the hardiest, taking a little frost, but if you live in zone 8, and want to grow a citrus tree in your garden, the answer is the Arctic Frost™ Satsuma. Bred for frost resistance without surrendering flavor, this tree shrugs off temperatures of 9 degrees, and serves up baskets of deliciously sweet yet tangy fruit you and your family will adore. If you live in a colder zone, don’t despair, because this tree is perfect for planters too, so you can enjoy it wherever you live.
The Arctic Frost Satsuma is a small evergreen fruit tree, growing 8 to 12 feet tall when planted in the ground, but reaching only a compact 6 feet in a planter. It has dark-green glossy leaves that are just a few inches long, smaller than on most other citrus, giving your tree a compact, neat look. In spring clusters of white flowers develop in the joints between the leaves and the stem, and these fill the air with the unique, spicy orange blossom fragrance – this tree would be worth growing just for these beautiful and fragrant blooms, and for its handsome foliage. The flowers develop into fruits that grow steadily over the summer. By late fall and into the last months of the year each tiny green fruit has transformed into a deep-orange oval fruit 3 to 4 inches across, and the tree carries a heavy crop. The fragrant skin is so easy to peel it almost falls off, and the segments separate into juicy bites of delight. Sweet but with a citrus tang, and almost completely seedless, you will adore them, even more so because they come from your own garden. The skin is aromatic for zesting, and perfect for simmering potpourri, and even for home-made liqueurs.
Other ‘cold hardy’ citrus may claim to grow in zone 8, but in truth they only survive in the warmest parts of that zone, perhaps only down to 15 degrees. Not the Arctic Frost Satsuma. It has been successfully field-tested all the way down to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, the lowest limit of zone 8. That means you can grow it successfully outdoors in most of Texas, all through the South, and even in eastern North Carolina. For safety it is best to give your tree some protection for the first couple of winters. A winter blanket wrapped around it for the coldest weeks is all you need and growing your tree against a south-facing wall is the best location in colder areas.
The Arctic Frost Satsuma should be grown in full sun, and it thrives in almost all garden soils, as long as they are well-drained. This tree is self-fertile, and if it is growing in the garden, bees will do the work of pollinating. Even self-fertile trees need pollen moved from one flower to another on the same bush, though, so it is best to hand-pollinate a tree in a pot if bees can’t reach it. This is easy with a camel-hair artist’s brush – just dab from one flower to another around the tree every couple of days while it is blooming, and you are sure of a bumper crop.
To grow the Arctic Frost Satsuma in a pot, use a large tub with drainage holes. Blended potting soil for citrus trees is best and use citrus-tree fertilizers as directed. Keep the tree outdoors in sunshine as much as possible, bringing it into a cool place when temperatures below freezing are forecast. Citrus can only be grown indoors permanently in cool, very bright conditions. Some pest control may be needed for plants in pots, but outdoor trees are usually free of any significant pests.
The Arctic Frost Satsuma is the work of the late Dr. Ying Doon Moy. He was a notable plant breeder with the San Antonio Botanical Garden in Texas for 20 years, where he created 150 new varieties of fruits and flowers. To create the variety called ‘Gremoy 79’ he began with a winter-hardy traditional Chinese tangerine called ‘Changsa’, edible but full of seeds. He pollinated plants of this variety with various satsumas, which have few seeds but are more cold-sensitive. All these varieties are mandarins, selected forms of Citrus reticulata. The seedlings were tested outdoors for seven years before the most cold resistant was found. This was a plant called ‘Gremoy 79’, which has now been released as a Texas Superstar™ plant by Texas A&M University AgriLife Research, with the name Arctic Frost™.
If you want to grow citrus in your garden, but fear cold winters, the Arctic Frost Satsuma is the answer. It is also perfect anywhere in a pot. We have some beautiful trees available, they may already have blooms or fruit on them, but they are selling fast, so order now – don’t miss out.