For easy eating and sweet juiciness, nothing beats a tangerine. Children love them, and they get all the goodness of citrus, with the maximum sweetness and easy peeling they love. The fruit is ripe in early winter, for the holiday season, and no matter where you live in the country, you can enjoy your very own tangerines, straight from your own tree – it’s easy. When it comes to picking which variety to grow, that is easy too, because the Sunburst Tangerine is a top choice, combining richly-colored flesh with few seeds and lots of delicious, sweet juiciness.
The Sunburst Tangerine is an evergreen tree growing 10 to 15 feet tall outdoors, and smaller in a pot or container. It has glossy, rich-green oval leaves on a tree with one or two main trunks an spreading branches. In spring beautiful white blossoms appear, filled with the fragrance of orange-blossom. When the flowering ends you will see tiny green fruit developing, and these gradually grow and ripen, until by November or December your tree is beautiful, covered in hanging fruit that is 2½ to 3 inches in diameter, with a flattened shape.
Growing Sunburst Tangerine Trees
The fruit will begin to ripen in early November, perfect timing for the holidays, and they will keep perfectly hanging on the tree right up to the end of January. The skin is very fragrant, and colored a deep, rich orange-red. The thin skin has almost no white pulp beneath it, and it is very easy to remove completely from the fruit. Inside every fruit are juicy segments that are easy to separate and to pop straight into your mouth. The flesh is deep-orange, and packed full of rich flavor and sweet juice. It is sweeter than oranges, with a distinctive and delicious taste. There are very few seeds. You can eat the fruit fresh, juice it, use it in salads or desserts, and even turn it into preserves. Whatever you do, you are going to love having your own tree to harvest from, and you will know exactly what has (and hasn’t) been done to the fruit you and your children are eating.
The Sunburst Tangerine tree is easy to grow, and it thrives in any well-drained soil. It should be grown in full sun, for the best growth and the sweetest fruit. It is hardy from zone 8b or 9 through to zone 11, which means it can only tolerate a little frost. Young trees are very frost tender, so if you live in a colder area there is a simple solution – grow it in a container. All citrus trees are easy to grow in containers, and with its smaller size and heavy crop, this one is very easy indeed. Grow it outdoors from spring to fall, when temperatures are above 40 degrees, and then bring your pot indoors for the coldest months. The ideal place is cool and well lit, such as a frost-proof porch, a sunroom, or a bright window in your home. Use a large pot with drainage, and use potting soil designed for citrus trees.
If that is not available, blend cactus soil and regular potting soil in roughly equal parts, to make a well-drained mixture. Feed your tree regularly with citrus tree fertilizer, then relax and wait for your tangerines to grow. Container-grown trees should be hand pollinated when in bloom. Simply dust from one flower to another with a soft artist’s brush, when the flowers are fully open. Do this every day or two while your tree is blooming. Outdoor trees are self-pollinating and if you have another mandarin variety nearby you will have an even bigger crop.
History and Origins of the Sunburst Tangerine
The Sunburst Tangerine is part of the mandarin section of citrus fruits, Citrus reticulata. Satsuma, clementine, mandarin and tangerine are all basically the same fruit, with differences in how easy they are to peel; the number of seeds; their ripening times; and flavor differences too. Tangerines are universally loved for being big enough to satisfy your hunger, but small enough to be enjoyed by children. They are super-sweet, yet they also have that citrus tang. The variety called ‘Sunburst’ was created in 1961 by crossing together two citrus trees that were hybrids of the tangelo and the clementine.
The two parents, ‘Robinson’ and ‘Osceola’, were created in 1942 by breeders at the US Department of Agriculture in Florida. The tangelo is a hybrid between a mandarin and a grapefruit, with a distinctive long neck, and the breeders crossed a tree of that type with a clementine tree. ‘Sunburst’ was not released for sale until 1979, and since then it has become a top-rated variety, loved by growers and eaters.
Tangerines are such great citrus, and very popular, and the Sunburst Tangerine is a top-pick. We know that our trees will soon be gone. Everyone is growing citrus trees at home, for their beauty and usefulness, and you can too. No matter where you live, order now, while our stock of this beautiful tree is still available.