Oranges are a great fruit, and everyone loves them, for juice, eating fresh, cooking and in salads. But when it comes to growing your own fruit, why grow what you can pick up at the store anytime, for a very low price? Growing your own fruit is fun, and easy, but there is no sense in wasting that work on every-day things. Smart home fruit growers choose something special, and when it comes to oranges, there is just one choice for that – the Moro Blood Orange. Outdoors if you live in hot states, or in a container if you don’t, you will love growing this delicious gourmet treat.
Known as the ‘connoisseur’s citrus’, the Moro Blood Orange is not only already special because it is a blood orange, it is the crème de la crème of blood oranges – the only one with rich red flesh all the way through, a deep-red blush on the skin, and most important of all, the amazing flavor of raspberries mixed with citrus, that only comes in a blood orange. Not only is the flavor unique and delicious, turning OJ into a gourmet treat, for salads and desserts, nothing beats the color and incredible flavor complexity of this delicious variety.
The fruit of the Moro Blood Orange is a medium-sized orange, about 3 inches in diameter. The skin is deep orange, and when ripe it takes on varying shades of purple-red. Cut one open, and instead of the normal golden flesh, it is deep purple-burgundy, all the way through. Taste it, and savor the extraordinary balance of sweet, sharp and slightly bitter flavors, heightened with the unique flavor or raspberries, which adds floral, ‘berry’ notes to the fruit. No wonder blood oranges are so desirable and so popular, and this one is the best. Each fruit is almost completely seedless, and there are usually ten to twelve fat, juicy segments to enjoy from every orange.
Growing Moro Blood Orange Trees
In spring your Moro Blood Orange Tree will produce clusters of white flowers, up to an inch across, with a delicious ‘orange-blossom’ fragrance. If your plant is in a container, take a soft artist’s brush and dab the center of the open flowers over several days, moving from one to the other. This will pollinate the flowers, which bees will do outdoors. Even if your tree is outdoors on a patio it is best to hand-pollinate in this way, unless you actually see bees working on your plant.
As the petals fall you will see very tiny green fruit developing, and over the summer they will grow steadily, so that by late fall they will be full-sized, and beginning to turn from green to orange. By December you can begin to harvest them, although it is best to leave the fruit until spring, because the red flesh develops best during periods with warmer days and cool nights. It can take several weeks for the flesh to go from orange with red streaks to red to almost black, by April, when the season is over. Most people harvest their blood oranges in March, for the sweetest juice and the darkest color.
Fortunately, the Moro Blood Orange is just as easy to grow as any other orange – and oranges are certainly not hard to grow. If you live in zone 9b and 10 you can grow your tree outdoors in your garden. It will grow best in full sun, in well-drained soil of any kind, and enjoys dry climates, such as southern California and Arizona, as well as traditional citrus areas like Florida. Outdoors it will develop into a tree 15 to 20 feet tall and around 10 feet wide – a beautiful evergreen with glossy oval leaves that are rich green all year round.
For most people, the outdoor option is not available, but don’t worry, because the Moro Blood Orange is perfect for growing in a pot, and to bring indoors for the winter. That way everyone, wherever you live, can enjoy the unique pleasure of growing their own gourmet blood oranges. Keep your tree outdoors when temperatures are above 40 degrees, and in a cool, well-lit place during the colder months. Choose a large pot, with drainage holes, and either plant in a potting soil designed for citrus trees, or you can make a blend of ⅓ to ½ cactus soil mixed with ordinary potting soil. It should be coarse and loose, so that water passes through it quickly.
Let the top inch or two become dry between each watering, always water until some flows from the drainage hole, and never leave your tree standing in a saucer of water. Use a citrus tree fertilizer regularly, following the instructions of your particular product. Trim if needed, to control the size, by removing the tallest branches entirely in early spring, before new growth begins.
History and Origins of the Moro Blood Orange
The Moro Blood Orange is a unique variety of orange tree, which itself is a hybrid plant which may have been created first in China, before 300 A.D. The blood orange first appeared in the 18th century, probably in Italy, where they are still very popular. There are several types, and the one we know as ‘Moro’ was found in the early 19th century in south-east Sicily, near the ancient town of Syracusa. It began as a unique shoot on another blood orange called ‘Sanguinello Moscato’. Our trees are produced by joining a stem piece of the correct Moro Blood Orange onto roots of special citrus trees only used to make the roots of the plants. Trees of this rare and special variety are very hard to find, so we know they will be gone almost immediately. Order now, and you will soon be enjoying the world’s best orange straight from your own tree.