Once a tangerine tree reaches approximately four years old, it begins to bloom and bear fruit on the new growth from the previous year. When tangerine fruits first form in October they taste similar to grapefruit. Additional weeks and months imbue the fruits with increased sweetness.
Most varietals of tangerine tree produce delicate white flowers in March and April. These flowers produce a fragrance that attracts bees and the swallowtail butterfly. Blooms mature into ripe fruits by November or December.
Many types of tangerine trees produce a full crop of blooms and fruit every other year. During off years, the tree blooms and sets fruit in a severely reduced capacity. The tree continues to grow, and the following year blooms and fruit develop from the new growth. Alternate-bearing hybrids include the Ojai pixie tangerine.
Horticulturists created many varietals that bloom and bear fruit according to different schedules. Some tangerine trees, such as the Owari satsuma, begin blooming in late winter. The Changsha tangerine flowers earlier in the season, while the Clementine flowers late enough to hold its fruit on the tree well into February.