Monday, March 12, 2012

Me Grow A Citrus Tree? Yes!

         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.


My name WAS Female, I shit you not! said...

Tried it once and ONCE was enough.
Good luck with yours.

FoxyMoron said...

Can't wait to see how they go. We grew a lemon tree in a pot on our front porch and got some nice fruit off it.

menopausal mama said...

I live in Florida and it seems everyone here has citrus trees in their back yard. Several years ago there was a bad fungus invading the citrus trees and the county came in and removed everyone's trees in town---a mandatory action. We all tried to fight it, but it took years in the courts and by then the county had wiped out the majority of trees. Turns out the dumbasses made a mistake---they discovered very FEW trees were infected in the area, and the others would have been fine. They gave everyone a $100 gift certificate to Walmart as an apology, but A LOT of people are now suing the county. Crazy stuff, huh?

AFwife7911 said...

Ever since arriving in FL, my husband and I have been talking about planting either a lemon or orange tree - we just can't decide if the wildlife would destroy them or not. I planted a queen palm on Tuesday and I'm so excited to watch him grow! :)

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