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Japanese Bitter Orange Poncirus Trifoliata

Poncirus Trifoliata, Hardy Orange or Japanese Bitter Orange, thorny, deciduous small tree with heavily scented blossom followed by orange / green citrus fruit.
Japanese Bitter Orange
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Poncirus Trifoliata (Hardy Orange) is an unusual deciduous Japanese Bitter Orange tree or shrub that suits a medium-sized garden and provides fruits for jam makers. 

Native to southern and central China and a member of the Citrus family, Hardy Orange is rarely seen in the UK which is a shame because it is a pretty tree with knockout scent. In spring leathery aromatic leaves appear on crooked green branches. The foliage grows around long thorns that grow along the length of its stems before the heavily scented white blossom appears. Blooms have five open petals with yellow stamens that pollinators adore. Flowers mature into green-orange fruits which are roughly the size of a mandarin at 4 cms in width, but resemble a pumpkin. 
The fruits are bitter but they can be made into jams and jellies. The fruit often remains on the shrub throughout the winter months which is particularly attractive in a bare garden. 

Height and Spread of Poncirus Trifoliata
A Hardy Orange Fruit Tree will grow to maximum height and spread of 7 metres, but you can manage its height with yearly pruning. 

How Hardy Is Poncirus Trifoliata
This is a very hardy shrub that will survive minus 20 degrees if its roots are well-drained - but it does need a sheltered spot to fruit well. It copes with drought and is rarely affected by pests. 

How To Use Poncirus Trifoliata
Japanese Bitter Orange is a wonderful addition to a wildlife garden as its heavily scented blossom attracts a wide variety of pollinators and its fruits can be left for the birds.  If you enjoy making preserves then Hardy Orange suits a kitchen garden where its pretty blossom encourages bees to cross-pollinate your crops. Because Hardy Orange is such an unusual tree or shrub in the UK, gardeners who enjoy growing something a bit different will appreciate its rather odd-shaped fruit, rich scent, and long thorny stems.  

How To Care For Poncirus Trifoliata
Grow Hardy Orange in fertile, well-drained soil. It’s a hardy tree but thrives in a sunny spot with shelter from harsh wind. A warmer spot encourages blooms and ripens the fruit. 
Water well until established and apply a thick layer of mulch to the base in spring to seal in moisture and supply nutrients for the growing season.
There’s no need to prune Japanese Bitter Orange but you can cut back dead or crossed branches in the dormant months before its foliage appears. 

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