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I'm breeding new cold-hardy citrus varieties for zone 8

Parker Turtle
6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

Hi there. I just wanted to let you all know that I am in the process of trying to breed a new pomelo variety (and possibly lemon too) that can survive in climate zone 8.

Lemons and pomelos are two categories of citrus that have been largely neglected, and right now there are not any varieties that are truly cold hardy.

Usually it's a little tough for citrus to survive outside in zone 9, so I feel zone 8 will be really pushing it, but still a very realistic goal. These probably won't be quite as sweet and tasty as the mainstream citrus varieties, but my aim is to breed something which is very edible, not just ornamental.

The breeding lines will take 2 or 3 generations, and right now I'm about one generation in. I plan to cross trifoliate with a normal citrus and then cross that again with some of the obscure cold-hardy citrus varieties originating from China and Japan.

Maybe I will be the first to grow citrus out in the open in WA state. The matter is made more difficult by the fact that, because of the marine influence in this region, the temperatures do not really begin heating up until around June, so the entire first half of the year the temperatures are far cooler than optimal. Still, I am sure that certain citrus varieties can still be grown.

This was earlier in the year during the Spring, daytime temperatures averaged around 50 to 55 °F, but were about 8 degrees warmer inside this plastic enclosure.

This plant only needed some protection because it's young.

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