Mandarins in Spain, varieties and care

The mandarin is a tree smaller than the orange tree, more resistant to cold, more tolerant to drought but with more sensitive fruits. Mandarins are small and orange fruits , easy to peel and very pleasant to taste. We are going to discuss the ideal ways to water it, as well as its varieties and the ideal land.

Plantae is a company dedicated to the design, development and commercialization of sensor technology wireless for saving water and improving crop production. We do not sell plants or advise on varieties. The article is oriented to inform.

Mandarin care


Irrigation depends on the season of the year and the climate, but in the Mediterranean area the hot months can produce an imbalance between soil moisture and evaporation and transpiration of the plant that directly affects production and quality.

Irrigation control in mandarins is essential and water stress should be avoided for several reasons:

  • It has important consequences for the flowering and fruit setting of mandarins in the spring season. If watering is excessive, the number of flowers increases and affects late fruits. If it is scarce, they will give less production due to the serious alterations in the reproduction of meristems or stem cells that give rise to flowers and new shoots.
  • It influences the size of mandarins if it suffers from water stress in summer and autumn .
  • Decrease the juice of the fruit.
  • The metabolic and anatomical functions of the tree are altered and as a consequence the acids and sugars are altered.
  • Control is necessary throughout the year, since the plant is evergreen and therefore suffers from perspiration in all seasons.
  • An uncontrolled heat stroke causes the stomata to close and impairs the photosynthesis of the plant. It can make the sheet roll up and perspiration does not occur.
  • It influences the growth of the fruit and the seeds.
  • Alters skin texture, flavor and color.
  • Overwatering causes lack of oxygenation and alterations in the roots.
  • Poorly controlled irrigation increases the risk of salinity with serious alterations in the development of the mandarin.
Riego por goteo de la mandarina
Drip irrigation of tangerine. 1-Rain irrigation. 2-Drip irrigation. 3-Perspiration. 4-Mandarin humidity sensors / probes. 5-Evaporation. 6-Wet bulb. 7-accumulation of salts.

Measurement of soil moisture and salinity is therefore essential for quality and quantity control.

Plantae moisture sensors offer real-time information that the farmer needs to obtain a quality product and increase the quantity.

Estrés de las mandarinas
Mandarin stress due to not having tube-controlled irrigation

Correct irrigation control means that the plant has a constant rise of water from the roots to the leaves, producing perspiration through the stomata and favoring the flow of salts and sugars necessary for the ideal growth of the plant.

Mandarin nutrition

It is important to use the weeds and pruning remains to cover the soil and help its natural nutrition while serving to store moisture. Tillage is also recommended so that we get a nutritious and oxygenated soil.

In addition, mineral contributions are convenient, mainly from:

  • Nitrogen: is one of the most important minerals in the growth of the mandarin, its flowering and the setting of its fruit.
  • Phosphorus: helps the formation of sugars and provides quality to the fruit.
  • Potassium: favors the development of the fruit.

Ideal land

They are not very demanding with the type of terrain, but it is convenient that it is not very sandy and better deep so that the tree roots more.

Ideal soil for mandarin-USDA
Ideal soil for mandarin-USDA

Production of mandarins in Spain

The mandarin tree adapts to the Mediterranean climate and its cultivation makes Spain the world's leading exporter.

The main producing community is Valencia.

Mandarin production graph
Mandarin production graph

Advantages of mandarin production

  • It is on the market before the orange. Autumn surprises us with its color and flavor.
  • Production is more uniform.
  • It adapts better to drought although controlled irrigation favors it, as we will comment later in detail.
  • It is quite tolerant to pests.
  • It adapts well to crops with distances of 6 × 4, 5 × 4 or 6 × 6 meters, depending on the type of terrain, more or less sandy.

Varieties of mandarins

The Tangerine is a fruit full of segments with or without seeds, smooth , flattened or more rounded and very sweet. Rich in vitamins A and C.

There are many varieties but three large groups can be made:

  • Satsuma : from Japan and grown in Spain with early production. Since the end of September we can enjoy them. Very juicy and less sweet, which is why they are usually used in juices when other sweeter varieties appear and therefore more requested for fresh consumption. They do not usually have seeds. The tree is resistant to cold.
  • Hybrids or a mixture of other varieties, highlighting the reddish ones, very sweet and juicy.
  • Clementine : it is a cross between common mandarin and orange, it is small and sweet but with variable production. It is seedless and easy to peel. Very consumed in Spain. It has many varieties, some earlier than others. It is collected from November to January.
  • Clemenvillas : bigger and with a lot of juice. It is usually seedless and we enjoy it from September to February. Some varieties can be found until March or April.
Mandarin varieties
Mandarin varieties

Mathematical curiosities

The mandarin and orange flowers have 5 petals, which is one of the numbers in the Fibonacci series, (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, ...).

Flor del mandarino con ángulo áureo
Mandarin flower with golden angle. 5 petals forming a pentagon that has a golden angle as indicated in the drawing.

They also form a pentagon that also bears the golden number.

The number of segments ranges from 8 to 13, and their structure is symmetrical with circular sectors. The circle is the most perfect geometric figure.

Tangerine symmetry
Tangerine symmetry



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