Growing a citrus tree at home takes a lot of work but it sure is an enticing endeavour. Most of the citrus trees are thermophilic and light-loving. They are also sensitive to the kind of soil, the watering frequency and the fertilization type. However, a lemon tree will help you answer the question how to grow your own citrus trees, since it’s the most popular. Lately some Mediterranean kinds also have gained in popularity, such as calamondin and kumquat. They fall in the category of picky citruses which, under the optimal conditions and special care, will grow normally at home. The lemon and calamondin fruits are quite sour, whereas the kumquat has a very pleasant sweet-sour taste. It’s popular in Greece, where they make different kinds of jams and liquors out of it.
After buying the citrus tree, leave it for around 2-3 months to adapt to the environment, and only then you can replant it in a slightly larger pot.
How to Grow Your Own Citrus Trees
While the adapting process lasts, and even beyond that, the following conditions must be met:
All citrus trees love plenty of light, since they normally grow in countries with longer days. This means that it’s necessary to add an extra light source. It’s not a difficult task to achieve if you place a 40W light bulb on top of the plant. Its presence is especially important during the winter time, when days are shorter, since the plant needs around 12 hours of full light. During summer, place the tree under the direct sunlight, in a room with a southern view. When the days are warm and windless, you can safely take it outside. The citrus will absorb directly the sun rays.
The citruses aren’t resistant to cold and temperatures around -5°С and lower can damage them. During the summer the room temperature is optimal, but don’t be afraid to use the hotness of the day and bring the pot outside. Although it’s an evergreen plant, during winter you should put the tree in a condition of a natural rest. Simply lower the light intensity.
It is also an important condition for the right citrus growing. Those trees don’t bear dry air and soil. When possible, the watering should happen daily, but in moderate amounts. Sprinkle the plants with water regularly, and bathe them under the shower once a week. This removes any dust from the leaves, raises significantly the air humidity (ideally at 40 to 50%), and refreshes them. Another thing you can do is slightly wipe the leaves with a soft sponge. However, execute those procedures when the weather is warmer and drier. If it is cold, the water will only damage the leaves. Use water that’s around 2 to 3°С warmer than the temperature of the room. Make sure no extra liquids remain in the bottom of the pot. These can become a source of harmful bacteria or suffocate the roots.
The soil should be slightly acidic. As a whole, you can use the regular peat substrate, which is sold in every other flower shop. The citrus mixtures are also a good decision, since they contain the necessary nutrients and are an appropriate environment for the development of a larger root system.
How to Care for a Citrus Tree
Spring is the best time for fertilising. It’s good to use manure, sand and regular soil in the fertilising mix. Liquid fertilisers are also appropriate and you can infuse them weekly. If the plant hasn’t adapted yet, you might want to put off the fertilising in the beginning. Drain the soil well – the excess moisture causes the roots to rot. The moisture can be a reason number one for the yellowing and falling off the leaves of your plant.
Any small pests are also a big issue for the citrus trees, since they are prone to their attacks. It’s not recommended to use pesticides to fight them off, since the fruits won’t be appropriate to eat. Your best three ways to remove them – manually, with soapy water or flush them with water. There are different products in the flower shops that successfully deal with chlorosis (that is, the yellowing of the leaves).
Pruning the tree helps it form new and more abundant branches, as well as a richer flowering and more fruits.
With proper care, the citrus will soon begin to blossom. During the first couple of years, it’s recommended to pick out the flowers, so that the plant can get stronger and develop. Those blossoms are very attractive – soft, white and sweet-scented. The fruits can form without a human touch, but you’d better get yourselves a small brush to spread out the pollen dust from one flower to another. This way the delicious fruits will appear quickly – a dream for everyone who adores the exotic citrus fruits.
We hope that we have shown you the way how to grow your own citrus trees at home is quite possible. With this positive thought in mind, do not fall into despair but keep taking care of your citrus tree and it will repay you with healthy fruits and beautiful blossoms.