Citrus > Citrus General Discussion

Looking for opinion Minneola vs sugarbelle? Also top working grafting question


Hey everyone, Iíve been struggling for a while to grow container tangerines in my (tiny)greenhouse. I love tangelos, and have been growing a ďMinneloaĒ for about 5 years. Despite it being very healthy, It struggles to hold fruit, and the fruit that it has produced has been less than impressive. I also picked up a 4í sugarbelle 18 mo ago, and am currently (almost finished) resolving a chlorosis problem that has probably arisen as it transitioned from synthetic to organic fertilizers over the past year.

For those of you with greener thumbs or better climates, which plant do you prefer in terms of health productivity and taste? We donít have HLB in canada so that isnít a factor. Also if a citrus has been unproductive but looks healthy, do you think is worthwhile to graft onto it?

Thanks Al,



Organic fertilizers are OK for in ground trees, but not for container trees. Organic fertilizers require the  organism that are in the earth's soil to break them down to be useable by the tree.  Synthetic container potting soils  lack the organisms to brake the organic fertilizer down, therefor organic fertilizers are not available to the tree. Do your trees bloom?  If so be absolutely sure to keep your tree well watered during the bloom period.  Also be sure that your trees are always adequately fertilized.

Regarding the fertilizers, yeah itís still a bit of an experiment/stubbornness on my part. For some of my older trees in big pots with lots of critters (worms millipedes)  it works not too bad provided the soil is warm during the winter. Iím trying a bunch of different things, green manure, bokashi/vermileachates, and vermicomposts. Once Iíve got the logistics/science all figured out Iím gonna try organic/synthetic and compare yields.

I was asking the question as it relates to grower personal preference due the fact that I have limited space and if one is significantly better than the other Iíd like the extra room.

I had never heard of SugarBelle.  Looks to be a patented variety.  I'm also curious how it compares to Minneola.  "Very vigorous" isn't a good thing for me, though.   

Some of the best citrus I've had were Minneola tangelos (bought at the grocery store), however they are very inconsistent.  The ones I have grown myself so far have been soft and watery, and most of the store bought ones were same.  However, I am not giving up on them yet, I just grafted a Minneola onto flying dragon dwarfing rootstock as the nursery-bought one I had was far too vigorous.  I am going to give Minneola 3-4 years and see if I can get the amazing fruit I once tried, and if not I will probably ditch it. 

I have grown a variety of citrus trees in central Florida for over 50 years, all in my backyards. Minneola, Navel, Dancy, Temple, Valencia, Ruby Red grapefruit, Duncan grapefruit and several others. And I grew these trees from 3 gallon containers to mature in-ground trees. It's been about 15 years since I last tended any trees or enjoyed their fruit. But I can say without hesitation that to me there is not a better tasting, easier eating citrus than a Minneola Tangelo. Big, beautiful and superb tasting fruit.

At this time I have a newly planted Sugar Belle and a Tango tangerine. Time will tell (3-4 years), but I know that the Sugar Belle is going to have a tough time following those well grown, pre-HLB Minneola's from days gone by.


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