The continued cold weather in the Tucson area is taking its toll on frost tender plants, including citrus. If you are tired of dealing with frost damage on your citrus tree, you might want to consider these options as replacements.
Pomegranates love our alkaline soils, and tolerate temperatures down to 10 degrees. This large shrub or small busy tree reaches about 10 feet tall and wide. What is amazing is you will start seeing fruit when the plant is only 2 feet tall! Even if you don’t like pomegranates, it’s a lovely plant with bright orange-red flowers in the spring.
Many years ago, the citrus industry experimented with cultivating a frost hardy fruit. The result was the Calamondin and Kumquat. Both of these citrus bearing, shrubby plants tolerate cold better than traditional citrus trees such as sweet orange, grapefruit and lemon. The fruits are small, about the size of a large grape or small kiwi, but sweet as long as you eat the whole thing. The peel is where the sweetness is, so do not remove before eating. While you still have to cover these plants if temperatures go below 20, it’s much easier to do as they stay much smaller than even dwarf citrus, and even do well in large pots.