Pollinating Clementines

Pollinating Clementines

Clementines are a type of mandarin orange grown for their sweet flesh and glowing orange peel that slips off easily. They grow 15 to 20 feet tall and earn decent specimen trees as long as they’re not implanted directly in the yard. When the fragrant, white flowers bloom in early spring the tree is surrounded by hoards of mammals, which pollinate the blossoms. Clementine trees are hardy at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8b through 11.

Sex Structures

Each clementine flower contains both female and male sex organs. The anthers hold the feces which includes the male sex cells. The female sex organ, called the pistil, stays low in the center of the flower. The ovary is the round, swollen structure under the ovary. The ovary includes ovules that will become seeds when the flower is pollinated.


Clementine flowers can’t pollinate the flowers of additional clementine trees, but they are able to cross-pollinate with additional citrus species. Mandarins, like clementines, are among the few flowering plants that don’t have to be pollinated to produce fruit, but they produce a smaller crop if they aren’t pollinated. After the flower is pollinated, the ovules inside the ovary develop to become seeds within the fruit. If the flowers aren’t pollinated the fruit is seedless.

Growing Seedless Clementines

It might seem an easy job to grow seedless clementines, but it’s in fact nearly impossible for the home grower. Clementines can be pollinated by a wide array of citrus trees. Citrus-producing countries like California abound in citrus trees and honeybees, which will be their primary pollinators. This makes isolating the trees very hard. Professional growers isolate clementines by developing a buffer of citrus trees that don’t produce pollen, such as navel oranges and satsumas, around a grove of clementines. The University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources estimates that it requires more than 116 rows of this buffer tree surrounding the clementines to stop pollination.

Growing Conditions

Clementines grow well in full sunlight or partial shade. Fantastic drainage is vital. When utilized as a specimen tree, then they shouldn’t be implanted directly in the yard because grass requires much more water than clementine trees. Old trees need only 45 inches of rainfall each year, and can endure even less. The tree may sustain damage when temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, however when freezing temperatures come on gradually, Clementines can withstand marginally lower temperatures. Clementines grow well in containers, and container-grown trees stay small enough to deliver inside when a hard freeze.

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