How to Grow Your Own Citrus Tree

Keep Them Warm

Each tree varies as far as hardiness, even within the same fruits (for example, Improved Meyer lemons can withstand cold weather better than Eureka lemons). But as a general rule of thumb, citrus trees don't like the temperatures dropping below 28 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees. This is why in-ground citrus production in the United States is limited to California, Florida and in some cases, southern states like Arizona and Texas.

If you're not in those warm-weather locales, be mindful of overnight temperatures and make sure you bring your pot inside before the first freeze in the fall.

In addition, make sure your tree gets as much sun as possible. A south-facing window is important if it's inside for the winter.

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Deep Watering

Citrus trees do not do well in soggy soil, so the key is to do a deep watering and allow the soil time to dry out.

The amount of time between waterings varies depending on factors like your soil type, but watering once every 5-7 days is a rough estimate. The weather plays a factor, too—like most plants, the hotter the weather, the more water your tree will need.

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Fertilizer

Citrus thrives, and creates tastier fruit, when you give it food. Nitrogen is a must, though other minerals can also help the tree maintain its health.

If organic is important to you, one useful fertilizer is the Dr. Earth organic fertilizer. For fruit trees, it's a 7-4-2 blend, which is a good ratio for citrus. Apply a few times a year.

Troubleshooting?

This is just an introduction—there's a lot more to learn about growing citrus and growing it well, so keep reading!

Citrus trees can be a bit demanding, unlike some plants that prefer to be left alone. Inconsistent watering, pests, mineral deficiencies and other hiccups can cause a tree to drop leaves, make the leaves lose their color, prevent fruit from growing or even make the fruit taste bad.

Besides an abundance of books on the topic of caring for citrus trees, several online communities exist for more personalized help. One example is GardenWeb, which has a citrus forum where people with problems ask questions and fellow citrus growers with more experience weigh in with answers. Both in-ground citrus and potted citrus are discussed here.

Other possibilities include your local greenhouse or the local master gardners association.

Eventually, you will get the hang of growing citrus. And whether you have an in-ground plant that produces hundreds of fruit a year, or a pot with a beautiful plant that produces just a couple, citrus trees are just one more fun way to grow your own food.

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