Hello friends, I have always wanted to grow citrus tree's, the thought of my own fresh lemons, and oranges yum! It's been just a dream since I live in Indiana and this year not withstanding we have horrible winters! No way would they live through them and I can't see me, the kids or my husband trying to keep them warm in the winter.
And dwarf trees until recently were expensive and not very easy to grow. Not any more! Now easy and affordable dwarfs have come a long way, so I bought three cause I, well couldn't decide I wanted them all! Here's what I learned this last year.
Growing Citrus as Houseplants
The keys to success are good light, adequate humidity indoors in the winter, well-drained potting soil, additional nutrients, and consistent watering. Take any one of those away and problems can develop.
Citrus requires eight to twelve hours of sunlight each day to be healthy and productive. A South or Southwest facing window with unobstructed light is generally ideal.
Citrus trees do not go dormant in winter and will tolerate slightly lower light conditions during this time of slower growth.
If your growing space receives at least five to six hours of full direct sun per day, supplementing with full spectrum bulbs or fluorescent plant lights can help trees perform well.
IF, however, the space provides less than five hours per day of direct, full sun, bigger grow lights may be necessary.
If you live in an area with cold winters (like me) and hot summers, consider treating your citrus as an indoor/outdoor plant.
Citrus grow best between 55°F and 85°F. They can usually tolerate temperatures down to 32 degrees for two to three hours or temperatures over 100 degrees as long as they are well watered.
Make sure they're not sitting by a heating vent, if you can't avoid that like I couldn't be sure to water more often.
Light, well-drained commercial soil mix, formulated for outdoor use works well. if you can't find any mix yours with sand etc, to make it lighter. Do not use the dirt from your yard(weeds) it's not the best for containers.
[ Also in other plantings I told you that you could use packing peanuts to make lighter, not with these guys.]
Water as needed to keep soil moist, not soggy. About1/2 gallon of water every five to seven days is good. Be sure the bottom of the pot is elevated above standing drainage water (I used rocks from the driveway).
In winter months, heated rooms may need additional humidity. Placing the pot on pebbles in a saucer will lift the tree above the drainage area, and improve air flow and humidity for citrus. Misting foliage with a simple spray bottle is another way to help citrus cope with insufficient indoor humidity in winter.
Meyer Lemon is easy to grow, prolific and does not need a lot of heat to ripen the fruit. Meyer is slightly sweeter than the classic lemons.
Trovita Oranges are the most suitable for indoor
growing. They ripens in the spring, can be taken
outdoors to finish ripening the fruit.
Some extra tips, start plants in smallest pot possible, can't cheat by putting it in a large pot it needs to grow into the pots.
Use plastic pots if your going to take it indoors/outdoors--to heavy other wise--but if your going to leave it outside use a heavy pot so it won't blow over.