As long as the winter temperatures in your area don’t get below 22 degrees Fahrenheit, you can grow citrus trees outdoors. If you live in an area where the winters are colder than this, try growing some of the dwarf varieties indoors. Here are 5 tips on growing citrus trees, both indoors and outdoors.
Nurseries will usually sell citrus trees in pots, but they can also be received through the mail in bare-root form. These need to be planted right away. Make sure the last frost has already passed before setting them outdoors, whether you are planting them in the ground or setting the entire planter outside.
Water your citrus trees at least twice a week during the first year and make sure to really soak them. You won’t have to do this if you live in an area where rainfall is prevalent. Watering before a frost will actually help protect the root system.
Special fertilizers for citrus trees are available. Granular fertilizers can be used on outdoor trees, while liquid fertilizer is better for indoor citrus trees. Whichever type you are using, be sure to water the tree very well before applying the fertilizer evenly around the tree.
Making sure to lob off any dead branches will not only make the tree look better, but also healthier. Keeping these dead branches and twigs off will also help you watch out for signs of pests or disease easier.
Large citrus orchards are able to afford giant fans or oil-burning heaters to keep trees from being plagued by frost. A potted citrus tree can be moved indoors or under some form of shelter if needed. It might be best to not plant a citrus tree outdoors if you live in an area where heavy frost is common. It will be difficult to cover a large citrus tree before each frost warning.
My grandmother has started many citrus trees from seeds, but she lives in an area where the new trees have to be brought inside every winter. She finally had to turn over her grapefruit tree to a local greenhouse. Have you found a certain type of citrus tree that is very easy to maintain? What do you like best about growing citrus trees?
Top Photo Credit: Elise Bauer
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