Citrus plants can be enjoyed year round by planting them in containers. They can be successful both indoors and out with these few guidelines.
Buying. Citrus plants can be purchased as a bare-root or in containers. There are many varieties of plants that do well indoors, do your research and find the plant you can manage and enjoy. Before you purchase, make sure your plant is disease and insect free.
Planting. It is best to use a soil that is well drained with a pH between 5 and 7. Try a specially formulated potting soil that is premixed. These soils improve drainage and aeration as well as provide additional nutrients. When choosing a container for store-bought plants, go up one size. For bare-root plants choose a container that is large enough for effective growth (usually around 12”-18”).
Watering. The trick is knowing the right time to water. As soon as the top 2 inches of soil is dry, thoroughly water the plant until it drains. Keep the soil moist; not soaked.
Fertilizing. It is essential to provide your plant with nutrients. Citrus plants need high nitrogen and moderate amounts of phosphorus and potassium. For best results, use a specially formulated fertilizer for citrus plants.
Temperature. A citrus plant requires a warm environment with subtropical temperatures (60 to 90 degrees). Increase the temperature during the winter months and lower it in spring and summer. During the summer, plants can be placed outside for better growing conditions. Acclimate the plant for the first several days before exposing it to direct sunlight. (Don’t forget to re-acclimate the plant when bringing it back indoors.)
Pruning. Prune if the branch is dead, broke, or diseased. The leaves contain the citrus plant’s food. Therefore, it is important you only remove what is necessary. Prunning will also help to shape and balance the plant.
Pests. Always make sure your plant’s foliage is clean by occasionally washing the leaves. Be sure to check the top and bottom of the leaves. For chemical treatments, check your local lawn and garden retailer. Read the directions.