It’s the middle of winter now, with its snow, ice, and cold winds. It would be nice to have something inside our homes to remind us of long, hot summer days. For example, a citrus tree. The tradition of growing citrus trees inside a building dates back several centuries when the nobility in Europe had orange and lemon trees in pots within the walls of their palaces. You can have them in your house, too. The best part is that you don’t need anything special for that. Read on to learn about growing these plants with a beautiful scent and look right on your windowsill.
In addition to helping you remember the best moments of summer, a citrus tree in your house gives you other benefits.
- The air in your room will be filled with beautiful fragrance. The green, yellow, and orange colors are pleasing to the eye and enliven the interior.
- Citrus fruit are very good for health. They enhance the protective powers of our body against disease thanks to a high concentration of Vitamin C.
- Citrus fruit are tasty and can be used in making dishes like desserts, marmalade, or Thai curry.
- You don’t have to pick fruit once they are ripe. They can remain on the tree for a long time, up to several months. Thus, you don’t have to find a place for storing them in your house.
2. Types of potted citrus trees
Indoor plants can’t be allowed to grow too large. When selecting a citrus tree for your home, choose its dwarf variety. It is a plant grafted onto rootstock that makes excessive growth impossible. There are many types of dwarf citrus trees including the following:
- Meyer lemon
- Ponderosa lemon
- Kaffir lime
- Rangpur lime
- Persian or Bearss lime
- Trovita orange
- Calamondin (a small orange plant with sour fruit, good for beginners)
- Tahitian or Otaheite orange (something in the middle between a tangerine and lemon)
- Satsuma (a variety of tangerine)
- Eustis Limequat
- Nippon Orangequat
Here are the steps you need to take for planting a citrus tree.
- Select a tree. It’s possible to grow a citrus tree from a seed. That said, you will have to wait 3-4 years until you can have any harvest at all. So, visit the nearest nursery and select a tree that is two or three years old. The height of a tree like that is normally about 3 feet.
- Select the right pot. Selecting the right pot is essential for growing healthy and fruit-bearing citrus trees. The pot should be small, just about 20-25% larger than the root ball of the tree. A very important characteristic of a good pot is drainage because citrus trees don’t like “wet feet”. In this respect, clay is the most suitable material as it has pores and water vaporizes from its sides. You can also have a plastic pot. It’s light and you can easily carry it around your house in the hunt for sunlight. However, you should drill several holes in its bottom to ensure proper drainage. Finally, try to choose a deep container. It will help you balance the tree once it grows quite big.
- Put a dish under the pot. Find a saucer or dish that is slightly larger than the pot. Put pebbles or Styrofoam packing peanuts on the dish and place the pot on it. That will enable the soil to remain dry and create a good airflow for the plant.
- Prepare the soil.The right soil is crucial. It must be well-drained and contain the right concentration of pH. The best pH value is from 5 to 8. The soil should also contain enough organic substances like compost, peat moss, or leaf mold. Professionals recommend the following mixture for growing citrus trees: one part sand, one part bark (vermiculite or perlite), and one part peat. Again, you can buy that at your local nursery.
- Fill about a half of the pot with the soil you have prepared.
- Take the tree out of its original container and press on the roots with your fingers slightly to make them more elastic.
- Put the tree into the pot and cover its roots with more soil. Then, put some pressure on the base of the root.
- Water the soil.
It’s not enough just to plant a tree and wait for juicy fruit. You also need to regularly take care of the tree throughout the year.
- Give the plant enough sunlight. Citrus trees should get no less than 10 hours of direct sunlight daily. Gardeners recommend putting your plant near a south-looking window with a good air circulation. You can carry the pot around the house and place it wherever there is good sunlight. During dark winter days, use a special grow light to compensate for the sun.
- Water the tree regularly. Watering citrus trees frequently is also important. However, make sure that the soil is not too wet so that no fungal infections could spread. Make sure that at least the top 2 inches of the soil are dry before you water next time. During summer, watering citrus trees twice a day is recommended. In winter, you can water the plant once or twice a week.
- Ensure enough humidity. Citrus trees require moist air. You can run a humidifier in the room with the plant. You can also pour some water in the dish with pebbles that you put under the pot. The most appropriate humidity level is 50%.
- Maintain the correct temperature. The ideal temperature in the place with your citrus tree should be within 55-85 degrees. It’s important to avoid exposing the tree to abrupt temperature fluctuations. Placing it near heaters, radiators, or fireplaces will negatively affect the plant’s health.
Growing citrus trees inside your home will give you a number of benefits. If you want to enjoy fragrant citrus fruit, though, you need to take meticulous care of your home tree every day. With all this advice we wish you happy gardening!