Last year our landscape and garden welcomed several citrus trees, one being a beautiful tree that bears smallish Kishu Mandarins! Only just adopted and planted as a container plant in a large wooden whiskey barrel, it did not disappoint in its first year with dozens of bright pixie-sized fruit!
While researching and searching the San Diego area for these fruit-bearing treasures, I couldn’t help wonder how they sized up to oranges and my favorite commercially sold clementines (Cuties/Halos®). How did they compare in both size, taste, and enjoyment of eating…
Early last year I read an article written by LATimes’ David Karp of “…a small but mighty mandarin” and an inspiring post from the beautiful blog, White On Rice Couple, about the seedless Kishu Mandarin (Citrus kinokuni mukakukishu).
The size is comparable to a golf ball or sometimes even smaller (it can vary). They tend to be more donut shaped than round like a clementine. Some of the images in this post include an orange and clementine next to the Kishu as a visual comparison to both size and shape.
The skin tends to be a tad looser and gathers at the stem. Take a look at the image above: You can make out the segments of the fruit under the skin. Kind of like the ridges you see on a pumpkin!
Most articles and nursery descriptions I’ve read about this variety of mandarin boasts about its sweetness. They are not sweet like the Cutie/Halo® clementines, but they aren’t tart like kumquats either. They have a good flavor that’s easy to eat several on their own without the involuntary reaction to pucker.
The segments are so darn cute and small, they would be fantastic in chocolate spoon desserts, included in your morning yogurt, or tossed in salads for both flavor, freshness, and color. I’m also thinking that incorporating these little kishus in a cocktail would be a hit!
Not only are they seedless, they are easy to peel. The loose skin makes it even easier to break into the fruit to enjoy them sooner without being much of a task.
Like the kumquat, these are beautiful container plants. The tree has sweet, fragrant white flowers in late winter and spring. During the holiday season you can look forward to these little treasures to ripen from late November through January.
We’ve started our little tree potted in a large whiskey barrel with the intention of eventually planting it in the yard. Hubbs added wheels to the bottom of the barrel so we could easily move it around if the need arose (like if it got too cold for our little tree!). Our first year we enjoyed dozens of tasty fruit.
If you’re interested in adding one of these trees to your home, they need:
- Full sun
- Moderate watering
- Fertilizing at least 1-2 times a year
- USDA Hardiness Zone: 9-11
- Plant them in your landscape/garden or does well potted in containers. If you have a potted kumquat, the kishu mandarin potted would look stunning paired with that kumquat!
Last year at this time, it was a challenge to find this tree. Within the last couple of weeks, I have spotted them at Home Depots and Evergreen Nursery.