Lemons & Oranges


Although Citrus is a subtropical genus, northern gardeners can grow lemons, oranges, and other citrus trees in containers to enjoy fresh fruit. Standard-size orange and grapefruit trees can grow 18 to 22 feet tall, whereas dwarf varieties only grow 8 to 12 feet tall. Most citrus varieties are self-fertile, so only one tree is necessary. On average, fruit bearing begins when the trees are between 3 and 6 years old; however, exact timing will depend on the type of citrus (lemons, oranges, grapefruit, etc.), the cultivar, your climate, the health of the plant and its care, and other factors. Flowering is not seasonal, but occurs during warm weather and regular rainfall. Flowers and fruits may coincide.

Sun Exposure: 

Full Sun

Soil Type: 


Botanical Name: 

Citrus spp

Plant Type: 


Hardiness Zone: 


Soil pH: 

Slightly Acidic to Neutral


  • Citrus trees should be planted in a sunny and wind-protected area.
  • In the citrus belt, trees can be planted at any time, however, spring is the best time for container grown plants.
  • Standard-size trees should be spaced 12 to 25 feet apart and dwarf trees should be set 6 to 10 feet apart. The exact distance depends on the variety. The bigger the fruit, the farther the distance.
  • If the soil is not well-drained, plant the trees on a slight mound to prevent waterlogging.
  • To plant citrus trees inside from seeds, remove the seeds from the desired fruit. Soak the seeds overnight in water and plant them ½ inch deep in moist potting soil. Cover the pot with a plastic bag or wrap and let it sit in a warm and sunny spot for a few weeks until the seeds start to grow. Then, remove the plastic but keep the pot near a warm and sunny window.


  • A few weeks after planting, and for the first few years (before bearing age), feed the tree a balanced (such as 6-6-6) fertilizer.
  • For newly bearing trees, provide nutrients to continue branch and leaf growth but also to replace nutrients lost by fruit forming. A citrus blend is ideal.
  • Check manufacturer’s directions, or ask a garden nursery, as to how often and how much to apply during each year of a tree's growth.
  • Mulches are not recommended for citrus trees, but if trees are located in a cultivated plant bed where mulch is used, keep at least 12 inches of bare ground between the tree trunk and the mulch. Pre-emergent herbicides may be used to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
  • Fruit thinning is unnecessary.


  • Aphids
  • Spider Mites
  • Root and Crown Rots
  • Fungal Leaf Spots
  • Fruit Flies
  • Tristeza Virus spread by Aphids


  • Depending on the climate, fruits may take 6 to 8 months to ripen.
  • The best indicator of ripeness is taste.
  • Harvest the fruit by cutting them off with pruning shears or by pulling the fruit stalk from the tree.
  • Undamaged fruit can be stored for several weeks at cool temperatures.


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What is my orange tree species name ?

I have an orange tree , the merchant told me 15 years ago it was from the Valley , South Texas. It is a dwarf tree and the oranges are slightly smaller than baseball size . They are definitely not navels .
The oranges are very good , seedless , thin skin , and their juice tastes like the same flavor as store bought Tropicana orange juice . Oranges are usually ready by late December , January and can stay on the tree till February ! Can you tell me what species this might be ? I live in Katy , Texas .
I wish I remember the name of this species . Can you help me ?

what orange variety

Any andwer we might give you, Viola, would only be a guess; there is just not enough information. However, we found this Arizona coop extension page on which are described several varieties of orange tree. We hope you find on ethat sounds like yours. Here’s the page: http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az10...

I have a young lemon tree and

I have a young lemon tree and it's leaves are starting to curl downwards and inward. I do not think that I am over or under watering. Also the fruits which it grows usually remain really small and fall off quickly. It keeps producing new leaves and branches... Could it be a problem of nourishment? Or something else?

I have a lemon tree that my

I have a lemon tree that my son grew from a grocery store lemon seed. It's about 15 years old and has never flowered. We have kept it in pots, transferring as it grew. It's about 6 ft tall and very healthy. We live in central Texas where summer temps are in the 100s and winter temps can be below freezing. We keep it outside during summer and in the garage during winter, where it can be pretty cold. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to help it flower and produce fruit?

Hi, Peggy: Thanks for all the

Hi, Peggy: Thanks for all the info. This is a really well put question. Assuming that this lemon is not some sort of sterile hybrid that is never going to blossom, the three most likely culprits are too much cold in winter, too little sun in winter, and insufficient or no pollination if it is not outdoors at that time. If the tree appears to be healthy, you may just have to try hand-pollinating it. Good luck, and thanks for asking!

I think Peggy's problem is

I think Peggy's problem is that it isn't flowering. I read somewhere that some citrus trees grown from seed may never produce fruit and some can take 15 years or more to do so. I also read that when they do produce fruit it's highly unlikely that it will be the same kind as the original fruit. I have about 5 1 yo seedlings that I am hoping will beat the odds. All came from the same lisbon lemon. All have very different characteristics.

I live in zone 9b of South

I live in zone 9b of South Texas. I would like to plant a lemon tree. In doing some research I found the Improved Meyer Lemon variety and am interested. My soil is heavy clay as far as I can dig. I was hoping to plant near a fence to double as a blind(I live in urban area) but all your recommendations say to give it lots of space. With all the other trees I've planted there's not many other options. So now I am wondering due to my conditions if I should just get a dwarf. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know! I am open to other varieties and any other ideas. What should I do???

Hi Jack, You need to amend

Hi Jack,
You need to amend your clay soil before planting. Add compost and good quality potting mix to the soil. A Meyer lemon tree will grow about 6 to 10 feet heigh. With annual pruning it will be more manageable and have a fuller appearance. You can also check out some dwarf varieties to see if you like one of those better.

hi, im mark from the

hi, im mark from the Philippines. Im an Agriculturist student. I was planning to plant some citrus as my experiment. is it possible that orange could grow in my country? :-)

Oranges grow in philippines

Hi mark, im from baguio city philippines. Yes oranges grow in our country, in fact we have orange trees in our yard.

We lived in Houston, Texas

We lived in Houston, Texas and we have three orange trees, about 3-4 years old.
lately found flies ( House flies, some are real big and some small, small flies has shinning colors on the back)
we had spray bugs be gone, etc,etc.
But nothing help. I can get rid of them,. please help.

You need to identify the fly

You need to identify the fly species on your orange tree. There are different fly traps available for the different species. Your local nursery may be able to help you identify the flies.
See link below for images of different flies. https://www.google.com/search?q=citrus+fruit+flies&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=dICVVd-oLYbh-QHOyqHADw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1148&bih=770

Hi, I planted yesterday an

Hi, I planted yesterday an Citrus Orange that I bought in a pot , close to a fence. It is a small one, about 4 ft, , but is has already 10 green friuts. How big it will grow and how fast. It has a lot of sun there.... Do I have to move it in a bigger place around? When the fruits will be ready- orange?
Thank you very much. It live in Florida and is the first time that I plant an tree.

Hi, Corina: Without knowing

Hi, Corina: Without knowing more about the exact type of orange and your exact growing conditions, it is difficult to make predictions for your tree. You are correct in wondering about space needs, though, so as soon as possible carefully transplant your tree to a new area with at least 10 feet of room on all sides. Thanks for asking!

Hello! I have rooted a lemon

Hello! I have rooted a lemon seed and it is growing great! I live in zone 8a, will it be able to grow good outside?

It would be best if you plant

It would be best if you plant the lemon seedling in a container that can be outside during the warm months and can be brought inside when the weather turns cold.

Here are some rules that have

Here are some rules that have helped me keep my lime tree alive in a container for a while.

1.) Never over-water! If you've had citrus plants for a while, you probably already know this. They hate having damp roots. I check soil moisture by sticking a finger in the dirt. If it is damp, no watering.

2.) Have outstanding drainage. I mixed an entire bag of perlite into the soil in my container, and I frequently add diatomaceous earth to the soil; which helps with drainage and bugs. I have also drilled holes in the side of the container. Mixing rocks in will not help, neither will putting them in the base of the container.

3.) Lime trees/ citrus love: orange oil (I think because of the acidity, this can also help with bugs) and seaweed/fish soil mender (it's like chicken soup for plants, very smelly though). Be sure, especially if your plant is outside to not spray the oil on the leaves. With heavy sun, this will burn up all your leaves and kill the plant. Most plants cannot tolerate orange oil on their leaves in the sun.

4.) Lime trees really like a little warmth. They are happiest when their soil temperature reaches about 70 degrees, even at night. They can survive with colder conditions; but they probably won't thrive.

5.) Keep those roots exposed. Most trees like their upper roots exposed. Don't bury them. This is a common tree planting mistake.

6.) If you find that your plant's leaves turn yellow and fall off, this can be a sign of both over watering AND under watering. If they turn yellow and fall off immediately after being watered, it's possible they are being under-watered (they usually won't turn yellow from under watering until you water them... however, if there is widespread yellow/browning, then you've got a real problem and your plant is probably about to kick the bucket... this seems to be common when you leave town for a week or two and discover the dieing plant upon return). If they gradually turn yellow and fall off later, this is a general sign they're being over watered.

7.) Fruit/sand flies... about a quarter inch of sand completely covering the soil can fix this problem. Warning: if you buy certain types of sand (usually called "play or river sand"), it will smell terrible when you water it! As an alternative, I like to cover the soil in about a quarter to a half inch of diatomaceous earth; which isn't stinky, and is also organic. It does the trick, but also has some fairly substantial draw backs. First, it is very fine so when you water; you will have to reapply it later. Second, when it gets wet; it loses much of its effectiveness for general bug repelling, so you have to wait to reapply until the surface is no longer wet. Third, it can be very messy and messy looking. Four, high winds may blow it away, or scatter it all over the place.

8.) Ants... the best ant bait I've been able to find is boric acid based. You can buy it, mix it with a little honey, and keep it in little containers; or if you're worried about animals getting into it, there are some great bait traps out there that include it pre-made that the local cats won't be able to get into. Speaking of cats, I'm about to try cayenne pepper to keep them from pooping in my garden!

Good luck! I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me.

I live in Edmonton Alberta,

I live in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. I planted a orange seed after eating the orange and it started grow. Climate here is npt ideal for oranges. But it's still growing. Still only bout 8 inches but lots of leaves and looks to be a healthy tree. It's bout 3years old now. I'm amazed that it survives the winters here.

I live in central Florida,

I live in central Florida, and have a well established fruit producing lemon and lime tree. I will be moving in a month, and really want to bring them with(remaining in same area). The lemon has several tiny thumbnail-quarter size fruit. I'm thinking I maybe should prune it way back before transplanting to new location. Can you instruct on how much and when, and if that is the best way to move an already flowering lemon tree? The lime hasn't flowered yet. Thanks for all your helpful info!

Hi, Suzanne: You certainly

Hi, Suzanne: You certainly can do this. Where most folks fall down is in preparing the new hole. Make sure it is big enough. Even though you will be bringing a lot of the close soil with your roots, test the surrounding new area just to know what amendments you might need to make to match up with your present soil. Make sure the sides of your new hole are soft (scratch with a shovel or whatever) so that new growth can easily get through them. The purpose of cutting or pinching back (usually by a third) is to focus the growth energy on the roots and on helping the plant overcome the shock of transplanting. You could leave your little fruit and your flowers on, but bear in mind that they will just be sapping energy. It's a (well, your) judgment call. Bring as much soil with you as possible. Disturb the roots as little as possible. Even protect and be careful of any leaves, so as not to scratch or break them. Carefully place in new hole and fill halfway. Water well. Fill up. Water well again. Be patient. And have fun!

hi, I have a grapefruit tree

hi, I have a grapefruit tree in my garden and it has some problems well that's what I think.... my grapefruit tree has fruit but on the branches that have the fruit are dying and the other branches with no fruits are healthy and green. could you please tell me what I am doing wrong or if this is normal. please answer ASAP thanks so much in advance. Amie

Hi Amie, Not knowing how old

Hi Amie,
Not knowing how old the tree is or how the branches are dying it is hard to give advice. Please see University of Florida extension service's website below for good citrus information.

I have 3 beautiful orange

I have 3 beautiful orange tangelo trees and 1 lemonade and 1 lime which are suddenly dying branch by branch. All I've done different it sprayed them with carbryl once. And sprayed them with validus 200EW (myclobutanil)fungicide as they had black mildew on leaves. I sprayed my zucchini courgettes with the same spray and theres nothing wrong with them?!

We are in palm desert and had

We are in palm desert and had a Mexican lime tree planted as we were told it would produce fruit in the winter months...is this correct or is there another variety we should've planted instead? Thks

Mexican lime is also known as

Mexican lime is also known as Key lime and produces small  fruit in late autumn and early winter. If you want to try something different, grapefruits tend to mature later in the winter and some mandarin varieties are also late-season.

Hi I planted a meyer lemon

Hi I planted a meyer lemon seed about two months ago and it sprouted up to just over an inch tall then it seems to have stopped growing then the leaves turned colors and fell off but the plant itself seems to be standing strong still but now after about a month the tree still seems to not want to grow but it's not dying is there anything I could do to save this little one I've grown attached already I also planted a key lime and it grew twins that seem too have healthy big leaves but now they too have stopped growing taller at about an inch and a half I keep them under two lights both for plants anyone have any advice it would be much appreciated thanks and is it still early to transplant I'm brand new to growing plants btw so any advice is good advice

I have a potted Meyer lemon

I have a potted Meyer lemon tree planted next to a potted lime tree on my deck. Both produced great fruit for a few years, but now the lemon the lime tree produces ample fruit--but they are not limes! They appear to be a cross between a lemon and a lime, are quite fragrant and sweet, but they are not limes! Bees and hummingbirds visit both regularly. If I move them apart, will I get real limes again, or is this a permanent product due to cross-pollination? Thanks.

I have an orange tree in a

I have an orange tree in a large pot bought at a local nursery. The tree is about 7 ft. tall. Only a very small limb about 1/4 in. at the bottom of the stalk has ever bloomed. It does not look like it is near a graft. It had 3 oranges this this year and 1 last year. The oranges are very large like Navel and few seeds and very sweet and juicy. Why does the rest of the tree not bloom? Should I cut the top down or let it grow?
Thank you for your help.

Well, Ann, this raises more

Well, Ann, this raises more questions than it answers. Lots of people seem to have problems with potted citrus plants not flowering. That you got three fruits seems a whole lot more successful than a lot of other folks. Do you know if this is a dwarf plant or a full-size one? Dwarfs are developed to be small plants; a full-size tree would be developed to grow substantially larger—and, normally, outside in the ground.
Assuming it's a dwarf, several sources suggest that you should not cut it down; one reason that it does not bloom is because it is "not mature enough." It could take five years to mature, according to one source. To hasten maturation, hold back on fertilizer and allow the plant to become root bound.  And do not overwater.
Does your plant ever get outside? Putting it outside, in a partly sunny place that is protected from winds when temps exceed 50°F consistently (all danger of frost is passed) for the summer might help it to blossom. If you do bring it outside, ease it into the outdoor conditions a few hours at a time before putting it out for the day, and then the day and night.
To blossom and, hopefully, fruit, indoor citrus trees need a lot of light; you may want to add articifial light—cool light and warm light flourescents and "grow lights" positioned close the plant may help.
Is the place in which you keep the plant low in humidity? It could be too dry. You could add a dehumidifier or even position a few pebbles in the planter base/drip pan, set the plant pot on the pebbles, and add a bit of water to the drip pan.
Finally, we would suggest that you might consult the source from which you got the plant. Ask about the variety and its particular requirements. Or'ange you glad you asked?

We live in Arizona where we

We live in Arizona where we planted a Blood Orange a couple of years ago. When first planted, the tree had a few blooms that ultimately fell off. Last year, it developed only two or three blossoms that too, fell off. So far this year, there is no sign of a blossom, although the tree is putting on a lot of growth and appears very healthy. Our Improved Mayer lemon and Arizona Sweet have lots of blossoms, so we can only assume the Blood Orange isn't going to bloom. I have read that Blood Oranges can take several years to set fruit, but shouldn't it still bloom??

Give the tree a little extra

Give the tree a little extra compost or a fertilizer high in phosphorus, which is particularly important for flowering and fruit production.

I live in Cross Creek area of

I live in Cross Creek area of north-central Florida, where last week Feb. Thu. and Fri. Lows were below 29* and by Sat. high was 81* ( difficult area-I did protect them)and all of my citrus I planted isn't growing from the size i purchased 2 years now. They came from a good farm and were 3 gal. about 1-2 year old. I water and fertilize, they did get leaf eaters attacking them in summer, but they wont grow much, let alone flower or fruit, although they are still young. I just purchased a rangpur lime that very healthy looking and flowering with tiny fruits. I'm thinking of trying planting the other of my house away for where I started the old grove. I don't know if the citrus I've got going is getting too much sun, or what. I used fruit tree stakes and between that I used fruit feed. Soil is fine sand, but I amended each plant hole and gave drip irrigation. to each one. I've got a grapefruit, minneola, Meyer, satsuma, Persian lime, and other navel orange, all which are still small and not growing. Help?

Citrus trees need heat and

Citrus trees need heat and full sun to produce blossoms. They aslo need nitrogen and phosophorus. Phosphorus is particularly important for blossoms to develop. Make sure that the trees have good drainage and water regularly to keep the soil moist.

We have an indoor Meyer Lemon

We have an indoor Meyer Lemon Tree and we put it outside in the summer as we live in South West Canada. We have had just over 20 lemons on our tree and have used all but about 6 that are still on the tree. It is nearing the end of February, should we be removing the remainder of the lemons from the tree or should we just continuer to leave the lemons on the tree until we want to use them? Will the lemon tree still get new blooms if we leave the ripe lemons on the tree?

Hi, Darlene: As a general

Hi, Darlene: As a general rule, it is best to pick Meyers as they mature so that the plant can put its energy into new growth, not old. It should still get new blooms if you leave them on and all else is equal, but go ahead and make that limoncini -- er, we mean lemonade. Thanks for asking!

hello- I have a potted Myers


I have a potted Myers lemon tree that I bought last year. I live in New England so I brought my lemon tree in when it started to get cold. My lemon tree still has some lemons one them which I started picking off this winter. My problem is that when I brought the lemon tree in doors for the night because it was towards the end of spring and it was suppose to get down to 40 degreesor lower. It was healthy tons of leaves and baring 6 lemons slowly turning yellow and one little green one which was still growing. The leaves started to fall off a couple of days after I brought it in. They were healthy green leaves just falling off for no reason; till I had no more leafs left on the tree. The little lemon kept growing and the fully grown lemons kept ripping. Then the little lemon stopped growing at 2"and turned yellow really quick. I have been pruning dead or dying branches but I like to know why all the healthy leafs would fall off as it did with no new growth ( bare tree now). The tree still seems to be alive. But do you think the tree will come back to life this spring when I can bring it out? I do have a grow lite for it as I was trying to keep it alive. And what caused my tree to lose all its leaves?
And thank you in advance for your feed back with this...

Hi, Tamara: It sounds like

Hi, Tamara: It sounds like you may have any number of possible things going on here, so it's best to sort of get back to basics. First, make sure that your container is large enough. Feel down around the sides and make sure that your roots are not just totally jammed up. Make sure that you have good soil, too. Plus, Meyer lemons need to be in well-draining soil, but here's the thing: It needs to always be at least slightly damp, but at the same time not overwatered. Try to get your tree into direct sunlight for 7 hours a day. If that's not possible, use your grow light for just 7 hours. Before and after, indirect light is good during daylight hours. Finally, during the middle 6 months of the year, add a high-nitrogen citrus fertilizer according to package directions, being careful not to give too much. Get back to these basics and be patient, and your tree should come back to "life." Thanks for asking!

I have a Avacado and a

I have a Avacado and a Mandarin tree growing that I started from seed this past winter and I line in New England and would like to know when it would be a good time to bring them outside since the over night temperature has been about 40- 45. I don't want to lose my orange tree. Also with fertilizering can I just use miracle gro shake-n-feed(all perpose) for both avocado and Orange tree? 1 more thing. I all so have a plum tree and would also like to suggestions with the fertilizer for that as well. Is the miracle gro shake n feed good enough??????

Thank you in advance,

Hi, we pruned our lemon trees

Hi, we pruned our lemon trees year before last and they did not bear any fruit this past year. The limbs are nice and green but now all the leaves are brown and falling off. We live in south Alabama. Is it normal for a pruned tree not to produce fruit right after a pruning? The leaves were full and beautifully green.

Hi Darla, Best time to prune

Hi Darla,
Best time to prune a citrus tree is in the spring before the tree puts out flowers, or in the late summer, after harvest time, to prepare the tree for the following year's harvest. If you pruned at a different time you may have cut off developing flower buds. A winter drop of leaves usually happens after a cold spell or frost. If the branches are OK the tree should be able to grow new leaves in the spring.

We have an orange & lime

We have an orange & lime trees. About 4 years . old They produce lots of very small fruit but they all foll of. Please tell us why. We think the soil is not very good.Also it not all day sun but we live in QLD.

Hi Vic, It's common for lemon

Hi Vic,
It's common for lemon and lime trees to loose some fruit when small, but not all of them. Citrus trees need a lot of sun to produce fruit. Too much water may also cause fruit drop. Do you fertilize the trees? It's adviced to fertilize lemon and lime trees about every 2 months.

Have an orange tree with two

Have an orange tree with two varieties of oranges. One edible with seeds and the other from the top, bitter. Also have a lemon tree with two varieties. One like a Meyer with thin skin but the other has a thick rind and is quite large (Both trees have thorns). Need to knmow what I've got and what can be done with them. Lemon pepper, juice etc. Thanks

your orange tree was grafted

your orange tree was grafted onto a sour orange rootstock. If you look closely at the base of your tree you can see the graph. Anything below the graph will be sour orange. You should cut those limbs off, since it's just sucking energy out of your tree. Your lemon sounds like an improved myer lemon. It has a thicker rind.

I bought a plot here in

I bought a plot here in Zimbabwe and would like to plant some citrus fruits at the backyard.
My question is how deep and what size should my planting holes be?

My husband is a historian,

My husband is a historian, writing about a 17th century plant expert. He has found a statement that orange trees produce tiny fruit for the first fruiting year, producing full-size fruit thereafter. Can you tell me if this is correct? Interesting website!

I have two dwarf lemon trees

I have two dwarf lemon trees that I bought this past summer and planted in pots. When I bought the trees both had tiny lemons on them that are now quite big. The two trees have been together all the time but appear to be behaving differently.

About a month ago one tree started flowering and now has A LOT of tiny lemons (in addition to the now large lemons that were on the tree when I bought it). It seems to be doing quite well, but now I am noticing there are faint yellow spots on the leaves (nothing crusty, or with black in the spots like I see on pictures online).

The other tree has not flowered or produced new fruit. It also has no spots on its leaves and therefore to me looks a bit healthier. I haven't fertilized or added anything to either plant - only water.

Any idea why I'm seeing such a difference between the two trees - why one is flowering and the other is not? Any idea what the yellow spots might indicate?

Citrus trees need

Citrus trees need well-draining soil. You may add some compost to the soil around the tree and dig down outside of the rootball and add some compost. Consistent watering is important when the trees bloom and set fruit. Citrus trees are heavy feeders so during summer, you should fertilize every other month.
Since we can't see your tree's spots, here is a site that may help you identify the problem:

Our tree is beginning to

Our tree is beginning to flower (Victoria Australia)but still has some fruit which I prefer to leave on the tree until it is ripe enough to almost fall off into my hand. As the tree is flowering, should the remaining fruit all be picked?

Me and my family just moved

Me and my family just moved in a new house and there is 2 fruit trees in the yard and they are about the size of a half dollar and I picked one off the tree and they smell like Orange's but they are green on the out side and white on the in side can someone please tell me what kind of fruit this is

Interesting! We do not know

Interesting! We do not know where you live, however, there are a some citrus trees that have a greenish exterior and white interior that resemble a white grapefruit. I don't know if this is the fruit you're describing; you can see pictures on this page: http://www.sunkist.com/products/seasonal_specialties.aspx

hi! first great site! i

hi! first great site!
i already am learning about grafting citrus, and various other fruit trees, i have ordered lime seeds to plant for next year, since i know no one who has actual lime tree - must i graft in order to produce fruit or wait a very long time to produce from from a lime seed? since i would not easily be able to find a lime tree to graft from, once the seeds mature into trees, can i graft from the lime and expect fruit?


Citrus trees are usually

Citrus trees are usually grafted to produce the best fruit possible. What type of lime seed did you order? Most seeds are hybrid and don't grow fruit that's identical to the parent tree. If you ordered "true" or heirloom seeds you can grow a lime tree but it will take many years before it will bear fruit. Key limes, which grow true to seed, will fruit in two to three years.

how big is it suppose to get

how big is it suppose to get in 1 year.

Growth depends on the tree

Growth depends on the tree variety and many environmental conditions. A healthy Meyer Lemon tree will grow to about 12"-16" tall after Year One and about 20-24" tall after Year Two.

I live in Salem Oregon and

I live in Salem Oregon and want to grow a lemon and grapfruit tree. I am trying to find out how to do this. I know there is a dwarf lemon tree that does good but not sure about the grapefruit. I know containers are the way to do it here. Grapefruit is my fav but want to know if I will be able to grow ruby red grapefruit that taste good. Is it worth it to try? Do they have a dwarf grapefruit tree for containers? I really could use your advice.

Thank You

In cold climates, you would

In cold climates, you would need a potted citrus tree that comes inside in the cold months. Meyer lemons are usually sold on dwarf rootstock and can be kept at a reasonable container size of five to six feet. If you have a greenhouse, you can certainly have a range of citrus plants, including grapefruit. If you want a dwarf variety, you'd just purchase the grafted plant at a nursery; we'd suggest you ask them for local varieties.

in your care section above,

in your care section above, you say to mulch to retain moisture. I have heard that mulching citrus is a big no no. Can you help, explain this?

Good catch, Dan. We have

Good catch, Dan. We have revised the text above. Mulch has been proven to have the potential to induce foot rot disease; keep mulch at least a foot away from the trunk.

Dear Farmer's, I live in

Dear Farmer's,
I live in TX. I started a lemon tree from seed and is growing very well, about 6' now and is about 3yrs old. My question is when do you think it will start fruiting. O' its in a large tree pot on my patio. I give it plenty of food and water with good draining it gets 2/3rds of the days sun am I doing anything wrong or just being inpatient. Thanks for your help and have a great day.

My 15 year old dwarf lemon

My 15 year old dwarf lemon tree, planted in backyard has given me years of deliicious lemons. Now, I noticed the immature lemons are yellow and falling off and feel soft, and even the green lemons, still on the tree are soft. When opening a lemon found on the ground it looks brown and ugly. But, it is so moist, it seems like it gets enough water. Looking forward to fixing the problem, I know this years harvest is gone, but what can I do to bring it back to healt?

Is the tree itself healthy?

Is the tree itself healthy? Have you added nutrients to the soil?  You may need to test the soil to see if you need to add minerals or any other supplements. Please see link below for more information about citrus diseases and disorders.

I just brought 2 orange trees

I just brought 2 orange trees today 5/18/2014 is their a certain time to transplant these trees and is their a special way to plant them ? Thanks for your help.

Are there special hints for

Are there special hints for growing Citrus trees in zone 8b (Souther CA high desert)? Citrus trees do not seem to be common here.

It can be challenging, but

It can be challenging, but we've heard from readers who have grown some varieties such as Meyer Lemon and Kumquat. We would suggest you grow dwarf varieties in pots so you can haul them inside when temperatures drop.

Thank you. I love your web

Thank you. I love your web site!

Hi Almanac Staff, I was

Hi Almanac Staff,
I was wondering if you have the date which this information/page was published and last updated? I am putting together a research presentation on the orange and would like to use some of this information as a reference!

Thank you!

Does the fruit of the

Does the fruit of the grapefruit tree grow on new growth or older growth? I don't want to let the tree get scraggly but don't want to prune if I'm going to impact fruit setting.

Grapefruit flowers form on

Grapefruit flowers form on new wood, and the plant requires a certain number of leaf nodes before it will form fruit--so too much pruning will set the yield back. In the home garden, pruning of grapefruit trees is usually not recommended, unless there is dead, damaged, or diseased wood; crossing branches; suckers below the graft point; or an older tree needs rejuvenation. For young trees, sometimes gardners do light pruning for shaping. For dead wood or crossing branches, or for suckers, you can prune any time. For live wood, in spring after last expected frost is one time, or at least before summer heat; or, some prune just after the last fruit is harvested. Exact timing depends on your area and your goal. Rejuvenation pruning is done just before major growth starts.

Thanks guys. Big help. Guess

Thanks guys. Big help. Guess I'll let it grow for awhile. (Other than suckers).

I am planning to raise lemon

I am planning to raise lemon tree in a small piece of land say around 6000 s.ft.pls suggest how many trees can I grow and is it profitable once the tree start yielding fruits after the specified period...Your advise pls..Regds..Aks

In the first paragraph I see

In the first paragraph I see "Fruit bearing begins at three to six weeks." Is that supposed to be 'three to six years' perhaps?

Under CARE I see "Spread about 2 pounds of fertilizer over 2 or 3 doses in regular intervals." That needs explaining. You've just talked about growing from seed and about feeding high nitrogen fertilizer for the first few years. Two pounds of fertilizer sounds like it will bury or kill a seedling or young tree, even applied in 3 applications. At what growth stage (possibly in height or months) would that two pound suggestion apply?

Thank you, Gordon. We updated

Thank you, Gordon. We updated the page to address your comments and queries.

Hi, I live in Nelspruit in

Hi, I live in Nelspruit in South Africa. I have finally found limes at a store and was hoping to grow them from the fruits I bought. The weather here constantly changes between hot and cold. It can be very hot or just rain for days. I really want to grow these limes indoor so that when I move I can take them with me. Any tips on the best way to grow lime trees from the seed will be really helpful and also the care for the limes with this odd weather (currently moving into winter which means its rainy) thanks a lot for all the help!

Lemon & Orange - flowers well

Lemon & Orange - flowers well but doesn't grow much OR fruit.
We planted a 3-gal Valencia Orange and a 3-gal Meyer Lemon last spring and each small tree produces lovely flowers but hasn't really grown past its original size. The orange produced a fruit, but the lemon hasn't. I am in the Houston area, with a clay gumbo soil in coastal prairie 9a.
This year in late March I provided it with a citrus tree fertilizer (about 1/4 cup each) around the trunk (but not ON the tree to burn). The orange has been able to fend off the St. Augustine grass growing beneath, but the lemon has a full bed of grass beneath.
My three questions are: 1)should I continue with fertilizing every other month even through a Texas summer; 2)should I clear and mulch the base of the trunks / does the grass growing beneath inhibit growth; and 3)does a clay soil really prevent a tree from growing, and if so, how can I amend the soil without digging up the rootball to add sand and compost? Thanks a million, your advice is greatly appreciated!!

Citrus trees need

Citrus trees need well-draining soil. You may add some compost to the soil around the tree and dig down outside of the rootball and add some compost. Add mulch around the trees (not too thick) and consistant watering is important when the trees bloom and set fruit. Citrus trees are heavy feeders so continue fertilizing every other month during the summer months.

Thank you! Also, I originally

Thank you! Also, I originally planted them about 20-ft apart in the backyard, and it has been advised to me that they are too far away to be pollinated to each other. Should I dig up one or the other in the fall and bring it closer to the other tree? That would give a good opportunity to amend soil..

I'm looking to plant some

I'm looking to plant some citrus trees behind my back yard fence because they are going to be building houses further in the distance which used to be woods. I have been wanting some citrus trees anyway and figured this would be a perfect time. I would like it to cover a 45' stretch and was curious if I could plant four different trees. I see they could be anywhere from 10-25 feet apart but would like the trees to eventually touch completely obscuring the view. I would be planting a ruby red and have not decided on the others completely. The area would be in full sun.
1. Would spacing them 10' apart be acceptable and how far from the picket fence should they be planted?
2. Are there any suggestions as to where to buy good quality trees (good root stock) here in central Florida (Polk County).
3. Any suggestions on types of other citrus to plant (yes I know its subjective).


It is adviced not to plant

It is adviced not to plant citrus trees too close to other trees or structures. They may not produce much fruit and develop disease and insect problems. Make sure there is good air circulation around the trees.
See https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs132 for information about different varieties. You may want to plant varieties that bear fruit at different times during the growing season.

i planted a few lemon trees

i planted a few lemon trees from seeds about 2-3 months ago. And they began to grow until they stopped once they reached about 3-5 inches in height. So i moved them into bigger pots and they still dont seem to be getting any taller...any advice or knowledge you can share??


You'll need several hours of

You'll need several hours of bright sunlight each day. Please note: Though you can grow lemon trees from seeds, it can take about 15 years--a long time. It takes about 5 years to harvest lemons if you graft from the seedling to a mature lemon tree (i.e., usually bought at a nursery).

Our navel trees in Arizona

Our navel trees in Arizona have been producing the best oranges for the past 10 years. They have always been seedless. This year, each orange has about 6 large seeds. Any ideas why this happened?

Generally speaking, navel

Generally speaking, navel oranges are generally seedless, though they can have occasional seeds.
Do you have regular orange groves nearby? Could the flowers have been pollinated by a nearby plant?

I rent a home with 2 orange

I rent a home with 2 orange trees and 1 tangerine tree. My tangerine tree produces great fruit but, both of the orange trees produce terrible tasting fruit for the past 10 years, maybe longer my fiance has lived here longer. Only thing he said that we can do to help the tree is grafting. Which he says involves sticking branches of a new orange tree inside the old one. Not joking. Would really like to know if there's anything I can do. Thanks

Many orange groves and trees

Many orange groves and trees were established by grafting the sweet orange onto sour orange rootstocks because the "sweet" orange is susceptible to disease. If you orange tree is old, it's possible that the root stock has taken over. However, you can easily graft a new citrus fruit (that's more edible) onto it. Or, you can choose to re-plant. We'd advise that you speak to your local cooperative extension or a tree nursery on how to graft. All the best.

Hi, I have an older orange

Hi, I have an older orange and lemon tree that are together. One side orange the other side lemon. This year it seems the lemons are taking over the orange side. Will the lemons eventually take over the whole tree.

Yes, different varieties of

Yes, different varieties of citrus may be budded on the same tree. It sounds as if the original rootstock was a lemon and it is outgrowing the "orange" top that it is grated onto. This often happens. The original orange top may still be there as a part of the tree. If it is still there, you can cut away the "lemon" and restore the orange.

i have a lemon tree grown

i have a lemon tree grown from a seed in the ground. Live in Texas. The tree is between 10-15 years old and has never produced one flower! i have read they take 7 years to fruit. Am I at a loss with this tree? since it has been twice as long, does that mean it won't ever produce? thanks.

If this tree is from a

If this tree is from a seedling, it may or may not produce fruit. You really never know what you are getting as all seeds are different. A new fruit tree is best grown, or propagated, not from a seed but by grafting or budding. After this many years, we would guess you'll have a pretty plant, but no fruit. If you wish, Google "grafting fruit tree" to learn more about this.

I grew an orange tree from

I grew an orange tree from seed, it was from my grandmother's 60 year old tree, best oranges ever. The tree I grew is now 7 years old and I have a feeling it will not produce fruit. Is it possible to graft from the 7 year old non fruit producing tree to a new tree and expect fruit?

I live in a zone 9 area. I

I live in a zone 9 area. I bought and transplanted 2 navel orange trees and 1 valley lemon tree. The valley lemon tree produced one huge lemon. The leaves of my orange trees are wilting and they have white tracks on them. How can I get rid of this? Also, I have three 50+ year old Oak trees that give plenty of shade throughout the day. How much does that affect them? Am I depriving the trees of their needed sunlight?

Citrus trees need full

Citrus trees need full sunlight. If possible transplant your trees to a sunnier spot away from the oak trees. The trees also need a lot of water. Give them a deep watering every week. Add a layer of mulch around the trees to help keep moisture in the soil.

Our oranges (Washington &

Our oranges (Washington & Lane's Late) and mandarins (Japanese seedless, Imperial & Ellendale) have all produced fruit that is without juice - very very dry. Any idea what the cause is and how I might remedy it? Thanks.

Dry fruit is often associated

Dry fruit is often associated with fast growth. It also occurs more often on young trees, in humid climates and on trees growing in sandy soil. Make sure that your trees get sufficient water and fertilizer, and fruit should be harvested early. Amend sandy soil with loam or organic matter.

I have a Satsuma mandarin and

I have a Satsuma mandarin and Washington navel that do very well. I also have a grapefruit tree that was grown from a pink grapefruit seed. It took a very long time for it to produce but the last two years have been good. This year it didn't produce one single blossom. What happened? They are all in the ground and I live in the San Diego area.

Hi John, It could be weather

Hi John,
It could be weather related. Cold temps in the spring may have damaged the buds. If the tree is big it may also need a bit of pruning to help new growth and fruit set. Fertilize the tree next spring and again in late summer.

I have some very important

I have some very important tips, as I grow citrus fruits very successfully in my home garden.....

Don't fertilise your citrus tree when it is flowering - it will tend to drop its fruit and just produce lovely leaves! When you fertilise - spread the fertiliser around and inside the "drip line" (where the outside of the tree comes to meet the ground)

Potash is great to spread around the tree once it has finished fruiting, as this will help produce the flowers the following season.

Citrus trees hate having things growing around the bottom, like grass - so keep below your citrus trees free from any plant.

Good Luck Everyone from Down Under!

Jeff, Great tips! Thanks for

Jeff, Great tips! Thanks for sharing your advice from Down Under. We really appreciate it! –Your OFA editors

I recently moved into a home

I recently moved into a home in February and we had about two or three oranges on the orange tree. It is now September and we have about 6-8 green oranges.. Do I need to fertilize in order to get a larger amount of oranges or do you think this is all I will get out of it. I have no idea how old the tree is... but I want to say it is at is full height..its huge... is it to late to fertilize to get more oranges?? oh I live in Pensacola flordia..thanks for any help.

Without knowing much more, we

Without knowing much more, we can tell you:
An orange can take five years to fruit.  Is it flowering? If so, perhaps the flowers are not getting fertilized. You may need to snap a branch to shake some pollen onto the pistons to help it along. You should also get your tree IDed so that you know what variety it is; speak to your Florida cooperative extension.

we have an indoor miniature

we have an indoor miniature lime tree which has produced a lime when it was just a foot tall. How can u tell when its ripe and ready to be picked ,how long is the normal time until proper time to harvest fruit? We've had it for about 5 months when it was only a foot tall.

The time to harvest may

The time to harvest may depend on the location/conditions, the type of lime you have (dwarf key lime, dwarf Persian lime, etc.), and the health of the plant. In general, you might expect about 3 to 4 months from flower buds appearing to the time to harvest. Various lime types appear a bit different, but in general, here are some tips about when to harvest limes:
Note that limes will not ripen once they are removed from the tree, so timing of harvest is important.
Fully ripe limes are yellow, but you don't want to pick them at this stage, because they are bitter and don't have good flavor. Limes are actually picked when slightly immature. Look for when the green skin turns lighter, a sort of yellowy green or medium green color. Dark green skin indicates the fruit is not ready.
Also check that the skin is smooth (wrinkled means that the fruit is past its prime).
Fruit is fairly firm, just a bit soft; not hard.
When you cut it open, it should be juicy--if it isn't, it isn't ripe yet; in this case, allow the other limes on the tree to ripen a few more days.
The fruit should release fairly easily with a twist off the branch (although, fully ripe limes will come off even more easily).

planted a valencia orange & a dancey tangerine

We planted these trees about 2yr. ago. They do not seem to be growing. Could the grass that is under they be absorbing the fertilizer?

We don't know much about the

We don't know much about the age of the tree you planted, but note that it can take up to five years to mature. In the meantime, enjoy the tree itself!

citrus not growing

If the soil is heavy clay, the roots may not be able to grow.

wierd tree

My husband and I moved into a house where there is a citrus tree. my son picked some were greenish and lime like when we cut them and some where pinkish and grapefruit like. has anyone heard of this from the same tree?

It could be a lime tree or an

It could be a lime tree or an exotic type of tree. The best way to identify a tree is often by the shape of its leaves as well as fruit. For example, the leaves and fruit of a lime are oblong. We'd suggest you take a sample of both to the nearest Cooperative Extension office or a local nursery that has citrus to ID it. Here's another resource: http://www.treehelp.com/trees/citrus/citrus-types.asp

Maybe lemon

This sounds like a lemon tree that I have. It is a verigated pink lemon. The outside is lime color with stripes, the inside is pink lemonade color and tastes like a lemon. Hope you get some good fruit off of it, whatever it is!

Oranges from Seed

This article offered great advice with regard to caring for citrus, but it should have mentioned that most varieties of oranges do not run true to seed. If you plant the seeds from a navel orange for instance, you will get a thorny sour orange. It is best to buy grafted trees for best results.

One other thing, you didn’t mention my favorite variety of citrus as a recommended variety, which is the Poncan Tangerine. They produce a large, very sweet fruit that peels very easily.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon in Container

Tree is 4 yo and lost all of it's leaves and thorns, then bloomed and then zippo. Have fertilized with citrus fertilizer. Placed in full sun. I live in North Central Texas. Last year we got a bumper crop off of this tree. What else can I do?

pruning a lemon tree

I have this lemon tree, for about 2 years, when can i exspect to get fruit? should I prune this tree, and if so how do I prune it