The flavour, fragrance and bright colours of citrus fruit can bring warmth to both your house and garden. Zesty lemons, tangy limes and sweet oranges not only taste delicious, but are also super easy to grow!
These days most home-grown citrus fruits are produced using a dwarf variety, a plant that is grafted onto special rootstock preventing the tree from growing too large. So if you’re a little short on space or don’t want an overgrown tree towering in your living room, then this plant is for you! Here are a few tips to have you making home made marmalade and lemon tarts from your very own tree!
Sweeter citrus plants like oranges, mandarins and tangerines work great in your backyard or on your apartment balcony as they need more heat. Acidic fruits like lemons, limes and kumquats can be grown inside your home.
Use a lightweight pot with large drainage holes and that is raised off the ground with “pot feet”. If you have trouble finding one like this that looks gorgeous too, buy a larger, more stylish pot and put this smaller pot with drainage holes on the inside. The black plastic pots that the citrus plants are in when you buy them are not suitable to keep the plant in once you get home – they heat up too quickly and won’t help your plant in growing properly.
Good quality potting mix is a must (don’t use garden soil in pots); choose one that retains some moisture.
Water your plant thoroughly each time the surface of the compost begins to dry: this may be daily in sunny summer weather, or 2-3 times a week in cloudy winter weather. Don’t water the plant before it needs it or the compost will become soggy and the roots begin to rot. Never allow the plant to stand in water.
Citrus trees like sunshine but not heat. So try to find a position where the tree can receive plenty of sun throughout the day but perhaps is close enough to an open window for plenty of air flow.
Indoors, citrus plants don’t do well in areas of very high heating like living rooms where the temperatures with a fire or radiator can rise very high and the air becomes very dry. They will do better in another room where the temperatures don’t fluctuate drastically.
Citrus plants need to be well nourished, so ask your local nursery for a citrus tree fertilizer. Apply once a month or according to the instructions.