Aah, the refreshing smell of citrus! The good news is you can grow your own citrus tree inside your home, adding lovely decor, freshening the air, and maybe even producing the occasional tangy fruit. The striking glossy foliage and pretty white flowers fill your room with a sweet fragrance.
Art’s Nursery carries a seasonal selection citrus trees, including oranges, lemons, and limes. Call ahead to confirm availability if you’re making a special trip!
HOW TO CARE FOR CITRUS
Citrus trees are tropical plants and love to bask in the hot sun. Place in the brightest area of your home, away from drafty windows or heating vents. While our climate will not sustain citrus outdoors in the cooler months, you can place them on your patio during the heat of the summer. Always acclimate your plant before changing locations.
Citrus plants like to be slightly root-bound, so choose a container that's equal to its grower pot or 1-2 sizes up. Choose a pot with good depth to help balance the tree when it grows and becomes top-heavy.
Drainage is also very important. Ensure your container has good drainage holes, ideally with a saucer underneath.
Terra cotta pots can help absorb excess water and allows the roots to breathe.
Important - never use regular garden soil as it is too dense and water drains too slowly.
Use a good quality potting soil that provides good drainage.
You can lighten up your potting soil with sand or perlite to further improve drainage.
Water only when the surface of the soil is dry to a depth of approximately 3", and let the water run through until it drains into the saucer. Always empting excess water from the saucer as the roots should never be waterlogged. Let the soil dry longer between waterings during the winter months when growth is slow.
Citrus trees need extra water when in bloom and fruiting!
To keep your plant healthy, it's important to mist the foliage as they like a high humidity.
The key to success with citrus trees is bright light. Place indoors in a well-lit, southern exposure where it will receive direct sunlight.
They don't like big changes in temperature and need to be kept away from drafty windows or heating vents.
When the nights turn warm, usually by late spring or early summer, you can move your tree outside to a sunny location.
Be sure to acclimate your plant before doing so (see below).
To help your tree flower and set fruit, fertilizing (and lots of light!) are both important
From spring to summer, feed your tree every three weeks with a high-nitrogen fertilizer made for citrus (you can substitute with a tomato and vegetable formula).
Feed half as often in fall and winter.
Some citrus trees self-pollinate, but others do not.
If your variety does not and you're keeping your tree indoors, you can pollinate with a paintbrush, cotton swab, or pipe cleaner. Gather pollen from one flower and then transfer it to another. Continue doing this until you have pollinated most of the flowers on your tree.
Citrus fruits only ripen on the tree, so pick when the fruit has reached its full colour. You can test ripeness by applying a little bit of pressure to the rind, and if it slightly softens then your fruit is ready to pick.
Thin out young fruit to increase the size and quality of the remaining fruit
MOVING YOUR CITRUS OUTDOORS
If desired, you can move your tree outside in the summer time while the weather is warm, but bring it indoors when outdoor temperatures start to cool off in the fall months. It's very important that you make the transition outside gradual to avoid shock and scorched leaves.
Likewise, be aware of lower humidity and dryness indoors when you move your tree in for winter. Keep an eye out for spider mites and scale that is caused by this. Both can be easily treated.
On the first day, place your tree in a location with bright but indirect sunlight and protected from wind. Closely monitor your tree and only allow it to receive one hour of direct sunlight on the first day. Continue moving your tree into and out of direct sun each day, adding one hour every second day. Keep doing this until the tree receives eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Water the tree well while outdoors, as the soil may dry out quicker with the elements.
When temperatures begin to cool, slowly reverse the process well before the first anticipated frost date.
INTERESTED IN CITRUS?
Art's Nursery sells a variety of lemon, lime, and orange trees and our knowledgeable staff is always happy to help you.
Our stock varies throughout the year, so if you’re making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability 604.882.1201