A delicious cousin to the Mandarin orange, the Ponkan is one honey of a tangerine.
The Ponkan tangerine is an exceptional fruit. One serving supplies all of the nutrition of a regular orange in a sweet, low-acid snack that melts in the mouth, is incredibly juicy and has very few seeds. Best of all, this cultivar is easy to grow in Orlando gardens.
The Ponkan tangerine is a cold hardy citrus, suitable for growing in Central Florida. Trees can grow to as tall as 20 feet and have a full, upright crown. Tangerine trees in general may have a narrower profile than other citrus. The branches are long and willowy, and will sometimes droop or “weep” beneath heavy fruit loads. The shiny leaves remain bright green all year long. The tree begins to bloom in early spring and the small, fragrant white flowers are very attractive to both birds and butterflies. Fruit sets in summer and fall, sweetens on the tree and is suitable for harvest from December through May. The tangerines average three inches in diameter and are slightly flattened spheres, with glossy, bright orange coats. The interior sections separate easily for eating by hand. These tasty tangerines can also be juiced with excellent results.
Ponkan tangerine trees prefer full sun but tolerate partially shady locations and are not fussy about soil type as long as it provides adequate drainage. Water needs are moderate once the tree is established. Tangerine trees will endure brief dry spells without lasting damage but do best in uniformly moist but not soggy conditions. Prune gently in spring before flowers appear to stimulate new growth. The Ponkan tangerine is an alternate bearer, meaning that every other season will see a heavier fruit yield. Although they are self-pollinating, planting another tangerine or other variety of citrus tree nearby can increase fruit production on both trees.
Prized for their sweet, mild flavor and abundant juice, Ponkan tangerines are one of the most popular citrus fruits for home cultivation. Add a Ponkan tangerine to your Orlando home garden and enjoy the golden taste of summer all winter long.