I have two Calamansi trees (you call them Calamandin but in the Philippines...

Asked April 16, 2015, 12:21 PM EDT

I have two Calamansi trees (you call them Calamandin but in the Philippines they call them Calamansi). When I go them both grew fruit. Then one nearly died (all existing branches, leaves, and fruit died) but some new big branches started growing out of the trunk, with huge leaves. Now the other tree, which I was able to keep alive all winter, is dying. Leaves are curling up lengthwise, fruit is shriveling up, and branches are starting to brown. I don't know what the problem is. But this one has also started to grow one of those big branches with the huge leaves. That is growing fine but everything else is dying. I don't know if maybe its not getting enough sun or maybe its not getting enough water or maybe too much water or maybe its too cold in our apartment. I don't know how to keep it from dying. I've included a couple of pictures.

Ramsey County Minnesota

4 Responses

Thanks for providing a picture of your Calamandin tree (Citrus X citrofortunella mitis ) But, in this case, even with a picture its not possible to tell you much about how to save your struggling trees without a lot of additional information.

Luckily I was able to read the previous question you submitted last fall and consequently I think I have a much better idea of what the problem might be and how you can best attempt to save these trees. From your earlier question I suspect you had an earlier insect problem that defoliated and weakened both plants - most likely a spider mite infestation that you apparently were able to treat for the time being. (Be on constant lookout for the mites to return as these pests love the dry winter indoor conditions around potted plants).

Now the problem seems to be that not only are the trees a very stressed from that attack, but they are oxygen starved and waterlogged as well. When the roots are constantly wet as you described the trees will suffocate, causeing die-back in the foliage and fruit, and the roots may begin to rot.

I recommend you carefully repot them into larger containers. Be very carefull not to damage any further the tender roots. Get rid of the old muddy soil and this time be sure to use a new well drained potting mixture ( try something like this: ½ part sterile potting soil, ¼ part sand, and 1/4 part peat ). Then spread organic mulch inside the pots around the top – but don’t crowd the trunk, maintain several inches of space between the mulch and tree trunk. Mulching covers exposed roots and prevents fungal diseases that hinder fruiting.
Here is a link with some additional information from a scientifically reliable university extension based source I was able to find for you.


hope this works for you! _

This is different than last time. There are no bugs whatsoever. Maybe it got to cold or maybe not enough sun light from my grow light or maybe I overwatered it again. But as you can see, while the fruit, small leaves, and small branches are dying, large branches with foot long leaves are sprouting from the base of the tree trunk. But these don't seem to be bearing any fruit and it is the fruit I need. You can see in one picture that I have an automated watering system but maybe I had it set to provide too much water. In any case, I don't know how to do what you recommended. The trees are in the largest pots I could find and I drilled large holes in the base so that any excess water could escape. My electronic measurement tool shows the water content of the soil to be 9.9, which the directions say is about right for most plants but maybe that is too much for Calamansi. I need some onsite help or maybe I could bring the plant to someone. But I need it saved....otherwise I have to buy a new one and start again, which I'd rather not do without some professional help to make certain I get it right this time. If I paid you $200, do you think you could come onsite and help me save my tree?

Just a short final followup answer here, because my recommendation is unchanged.

By refering back to your earlier question from last fall - I assumed these were the same trees and so this recent historical information was helpful to me in diagnosing their current state. You may have gotten rid of the insect infestation from several months ago, but the plants are still suffering from that event and that is an important clue to explaining their slow recovery since and their continuing bad health now.

(If these are in fact two completely different plants than you asked about last fall, then we might investigate further; because then the unusally large leaves of the new growth you describe could be a sign of and incurable viral infection. So I hope this is not the case.)

As was explained previously Master Gardener volunteers are not allowed to take money for their services or do private "house call" consultations.

If you are unable to repot the trees as I prescribed, you may be able to take them to a reputable florest or garden center and pay them to do a more complete examination and diagnosis and/or simply repot them correctly for you.