Citrus trees are great shrubs that can work as much indoor as out. Their deliciously scented flowering and fruits are added benefits to how easily you can take care of them.
Here’s how to pick and grow your own citrus tree the simple way.
All citrus fruits are created equal when it comes to growing them indoor or on your balcony/patio.
If you’re just starting out, try your luck with the easiest of them all: the calamondin, with its small green leaves. You’ll enjoy its size and propensity to produce great orange fruits, all year long (even if they’re not comestible). It also can handle apartment heat very well.
The kumquat is a great second choice when it comes to ease of cultivation. Its berries are ovoid and have a very thin skin, which means you can directly chew on them without peeling, or pickle them easily. Fruiting occurs in winter. The plant can handle temperatures down to 14°C/-10°C and is perfect for an unheated porch.
The lime tree exhibits staggered fruiting throughout the year, especially in autumn and winter. Its fruit is of good size, elongated and pointed, and are mainly used in cooking (and cocktails).
The mandarin tree produces tasty fruits in winter. It also forms into a beautiful shrub of with average-sized fragrant leaves. You can grow one very well on a slightly heated veranda.
An orange trees will require more heat and larger containers. They produce their large fruit from fall to spring. Same goes for lemon trees, although their fruits can be harvested year-long.
Lovers of originality, will enjoy Buddha’s hand, also known as the fingered citron. The shrub carrying this winter fruit loves chilly weather. Same goes for the kaffir lime, especially popular in the kitchen for its dark green leaves, very aromatic.
Finally, the sour orange tree is more rustic, and resists to lower temperatures. It produces a bitter orange, with usually very large fruits during the winter. It is great to prepare jams.
Taking care of your citrus tree
When it comes to your citrus trees, give them a nice volume of acidic soil. Mix potting and peaty soil, well drained, with a bit of coarse sand.
There are also fertilizers specific for those trees, great for potting. Water without overdoing it, and add a swig of liquid fertilizer every other week during the fruiting period, always on fresh soil.
At the end of fruiting, do a light pruning of branches with flowers, and water less. Stop liquid fertilization for two months. Be sure to provide a non-calcareous water. If your water is “hard”, rush out the limestone with a little bit of vinegar in the watering can, or let the water sit in a container with a cloth pouch filled with peat to acidify the water.
In the summer, get your citrus out so they can enjoy the warmth. If you have a patio, balcony or garden, they’ll enjoy spending their season outdoors, preferably in the sun. You can water them accordingly, but without excess.