Mistakes To Avoid When Growing Citrus Inside

Growing citrus is therapeutic and could easily turn into your very pastime. They produce some of our most beloved, healthy, juicy, tasty fruits. Citrus grows well in warm climates and are often found in hardiness zones 9-11. There are a variety of citrus fruits, some of the most popular of those being oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruits.

There are a handful of reasons why people love citrus, including the zest it adds to recipes and the abundance of immune system-enhancing vitamin C. Growing them can be rewarding, engaging the senses with their fragrant smells and bright colors.

Want to get started? There are plenty of citrus trees for sale on yarden.com. There, you can find key lime trees and lemon trees to help get you started and add life and fragrance to your house or garden. Have you ever wanted to have freshly squeezed orange juice at home? There are orange trees for sale, too.

All of citrus’ great qualities aside, there are some key mistakes to avoid when growing citrus. They require a lot of attention, and it’s best to check on them every day, even if they look healthy. To help you tend to them, here are the mistakes to avoid so you can grow healthy citrus trees that produce delicious fruits.

Not Enough Sunlight

Citrus trees need a lot of sunlight. Farmers growing orange trees in the Sunshine State of Florida or California might come to mind when you think of citrus. It’s no coincidence that countries in South America and India are big producers of citrus fruits. They get ample amounts of sunlight.

Ideally, they need 6-8 hours of sunlight. That means investing in a grow light during winter might be necessary. If not, finding the sunniest window to keep a healthy indoor citrus tree is key. Citrus trees can tolerate a bit of light shade, but direct sunlight is always best.


Overwatering can lead to root rot. This problem goes hand in hand with inadequate drainage. Citrus trees need outstanding drainage. Besides a careful watering schedule, a solution to this problem is using a pot with drainage holes. Signs of poor drainage are soggy bottoms, constantly moist soil, and yellow leaves. It is recommended that a well-draining potting mix be used to prevent soggy soil. You should allow the top inch to dry before watering again.


Learning when citrus trees need water is essential. Leaves that droop are a sign of insufficient water. Also, young citrus trees need water more often than their mature counterparts. This is because the water needs to flow deep enough to reach the roots.

Watering to a depth of 18-24 inches ensures the roots are getting enough water. Soil probes help determine how deep the water is flowing. Providing a sufficient amount of water is especially important during extreme heat. A little extra hydration can prevent withering or damage.

Under Fertilizing

Citrus trees are heavy feeders meaning they need nutrient-rich soil to produce fruit.

You should use an organic fertilizer specific to citrus trees. Using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer regularly for Meyer Lemon trees is best.

During the summertime, fertilizing every 2-3 weeks will do. Avoid using it during the winter to give the citrus tree some rest. Remember to water well before and after fertilizing.

Signs that citrus trees are lacking nutrition, usually iron, magnesium, and nitrogen, include:

  • Leaf discoloration: usually lack of iron or magnesium
  • Pale, yellowing leaves: usually lack of iron or nitrogen

Research the best NPK ratios specific to citrus trees to provide adequate nutrition. Citrus fertilizers are rich in macronutrients and micronutrients.


Knowing how to and when to prune a lemon or orange tree is vital to keeping it healthy. There are a couple of mistakes to avoid in this regard.

Skirting, which is removing all the limbs, is not advised when caring for citrus trees. Allowing the limbs to reach the ground helps maintain soil moisture and reduces the temperature. An added benefit is protecting the trunk from being sunburned, so it is also best not to prune in the summer.

You should prune dead or crossing branches as well as shoots and sprouts. Pruning in early spring before new growth begins will prevent overcrowding.

Panicking At Leaf Loss

It is normal for citrus trees to lose leaves when transitioning from indoors to outdoors or vice versa. Most people panic and start over watering or overfertilizing their plants. This is a key mistake to avoid.

Even if the tree loses most or all its leaves, as long as it is inside during the winter by a sunny window, it will usually recover. The main thing to remember is NOT to overwater.


When does citrus bloom?

In spring, around March and April. Some, like oranges and lemons, can spring later in the year. Also, limes and lemons can produce up to 4 times a year. It is important to try and replicate environmental conditions for the healthiest blooms and fruit production, so moving the plants outdoors in the spring is key.

Citrus trees are frost sensitive so planting after any dangers of frost is important, typically in early spring, allowing enough time for the roots to develop before the high summer temperatures.

When and how often should I fertilize?

During the summer, every 2-3 weeks. Fall and winter time is when they’re dormant so fertilize sparingly about every 2-3 months. You don’t want to promote growth when citrus is inactive. You should only fertilize mature citrus trees during spring and summer.

Over-fertilizing can result in less fruit or poorer quality fruit. Citrus trees with lighter green foliage and dropping fruits need to be fertilized more often than healthier-looking ones, so check on their appearance.

A common and recommended schedule is Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

When does citrus bloom?

Yes, sapodilla trees are self-fertile. You will harvest the fruit with just one tree; however, adding at least one additional tree will greatly increase your yield.