Botanical name: Citrus spp
Plant type: Fruit
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Soil type: Loamy
Soil pH: Slightly Acidic to Neutral
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. Fruit bearing begins at three to six weeks. Flowering is not seasonal, but occurs during warm weather and regular rainfall. Flowers and fruits may coincide.
- 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 1/2 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.
- For the first few years, feed the tree a balanced fertilizer high in nitrogen.
- Spread about 2 pounds of fertilizer over 2 or 3 doses in regular intervals.
- Double the quantity of fertilizer after 4 or 5 years of growth.
- Apply mulch to retain moisture.
- Fruit thinning is unnecessary.
- 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.
- Limes - 'Bearss' and 'Rangpur'
- Sour Oranges - 'Bouquet de Fleurs' and 'Seville'
- Lemons - 'Eureka' and 'Sun Gold'
- Grapefruits - 'Red Blush' (pink flesh), 'Marsh Seedless' (white flesh) and 'Star Ruby' (red flesh)
- Mandarins - 'Clementine' and 'Satsuma'
- Tangelos - 'Minneola' and 'Orlando'
- Sweet Oranges - 'Valencia' (Valencia), 'Ruby' (Blood) and 'Washington' (Navel)
Wit & Wisdom
Make your own air freshener: Slice some lemons, cover with water, and let simmer in a pot for about an hour.