Have you been tempted by the dwarf lemon trees for sale on Citrus.com, or thought you might like to look for a kaffir lime tree for sale? Believe it or not, you can grow your own citrus fruit at home no matter where you live! Here’s how to do it so your tree (whether it’s a temple orange tree or a sweet kumquat tree) produces as much fruit as possible.
Getting the Most (Fruit) From Your Potted Citrus Tree
Unlike other plants, citrus trees don’t need pruning to fruit well. Plenty of sunshine (at least 5 hours per day), soil that drains well and easily, regular feeding, proper watering techniques (infrequent but deep) – these are the keys to growing a citrus tree that produces well, whether it’s planted in the grown or kept in a container.
When grown outdoors, citrus should be planted in a warm, sunny, north-facing position. Growing them alongside a sunny wall will help keep them warmer in cooler climates, while trees kept in pots (like a dwarf eureka lemon or dwarf grapefruit tree) can be brought indoors during winter months.
If you keep your potted citrus fruit cocktail tree outdoors some or all the time, be sure to use good watering techniques. Turn a hose to the low flow setting at the base of a potted cocktail tree several inches away from the trunk and let it run until water flows out of the bottom of the pot. Never spray your fruit cocktail trees with water because water droplets can catch sunlight and burn the leaves or encourage diseases on stems, blossoms, and fruit.
Remember – all citrus trees can die from overwatering just as easily as from insufficient watering. Potted lemon and lime trees are at particular risk for being overwatered. Never water a standard or dwarf citrus tree when its soil is soaking wet, and don’t let your potted citrus tree remain in a saucer filled with water for longer than a few hours. Too much water can hurt the roots and prevent the tree from getting adequate nutrients.
Citrus leaf curl is sure sign your indoor citrus tree may not be getting enough water, but you must take care not to overwater. Experts advise using the “two-knuckle-deep” rule to determine if your plant needs water: insert your finger into the soil to the second knuckle, and if it’s still most, put away your water can. Make sure the tree is will drained and do mist the leaves with a spray bottle regularly.
You should also provide citrus tree fertilizer twice a year – once in the spring, and again in the summer. (During fall and winter, when the plant is about to flower, citrus fertilizer isn’t necessary.)
Rinse your citrus tree with the garden hose to remove any unseen pests before bringing it inside for the winter. Spray the foliage and trunk thoroughly and allow it to drip dry. Treat the lemon tree with insecticidal soap to pick off any bugs you may have missed. Aphids and scale are common indoor citrus pests, and the soap will kill most pests on contact. Follow the packaging instructions.
If you follow these tips, you should enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh fruit from your citrus tree!