- Citrus Tree Questions & Answers
- Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Citrus
- Citrus Tree Fruiting – When Will My Citrus Tree Fruit
- What Age Do Citrus Trees Produce Fruit?
- When Will my Citrus Tree Fruit?
- A Versatile Landscape Addition
- Plenty to Choose From and Where to Buy
- Morning or Afternoon – Just Give Them Sun
- The Perfect Dirt
- Shaping: It’s Up to You
- Fertilizer? Only if They’re Really Hungry
- Bugs, Be Gone!
- More to Watch out For: Diseases
- Harvest: When Are They Ready?
- Michelangelo-Perfect Palate Pleasers
- All the Flavor in Much Less Space
- Dwarf Citrus Trees for the Small Garden
- Caring For Citrus Trees
- Popular Citrus Trees for the Home Garden
- Harvesting Citrus
- Dwarf Citrus Trees Indoors
- Citrus trees
- Balang Tree – Citrus medica
- Bearss Lime Tree
- Cara Cara Orange Tree
- Dancy Mandarin Tree
- Eureka Lemon Tree
- Honey Mandarin Trees
- Mexican Key Lime Tree
- Meyers Lemon Tree
- Moro Blood Orange Tree
- Nagami Kumquat Tree
- Oroblanco Grapefruit Tree
- Persian Lime Tree
- Persian Sweet Lemon – (Limu Shirin)
- Satsuma Mandarin Tree
- Sour Orange Tree- (Naranj Shiraz – نارنج)
- Washington Navel Orange Tree
Citrus Tree Questions & Answers
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Citrus
Where should I plant my citrus in the yard? And, what about the soil?
Good drainage is the key. You can check the drainage by digging a 30” deep hole and filling it with water. The next day refill the hole and watch how it drains. If it drops 2” in two hours, the drainage is OK. In areas with poor drainage, a raised bed or a container is recommended.
What about planting in a container?
Use a light, well-drained soil mix. Be sure your container has plenty of drainage holes. Upper roots may be exposed (this is OK). Water thoroughly, then fertilize after a week or two. Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Containers in hot areas may need daily watering.
I get frost in my area, is there anything special I should do?
The age, location, variety and condition of the tree, degree and duration of cold determine frost damage. Healthy, well-fertilized trees can tolerate brief dips into the upper twenties. Anti-transpirent sprays give a few degrees of protection. Christmas lights or drop cloths will add warmth for unusually cold nights.
How often should I fertilize my new tree and what should I use?
Citrus are HEAVY feeders. You should fertilize your citrus tree once a month during the growing season with a citrus fertilizer (February to October). It is best to use a balanced fertilizer which contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. You may need to supplement Iron, Zinc and Manganese. Ironite is a good source for those nutrients. Follow the directions on the container for correct application.
Should I prune my citrus tree?
Although pruning is not a necessity for citrus you may want to prune it occasionally to keep it attractive. Trees may be pruned to any shape. Selective pruning is best. Don’t hedge. Clean out interiors and any crossing branches. Pinching back tips of new growth will help trees to round out. Light pruning every year should keep it shapely and the size you desire.Prune after harvest, avoid pruning during the winter as this may cause new growth which is more susceptible to cold damage.
I just purchased a citrus tree and the tag says it is a semi-dwarf. How big will this tree grow?
The following are general guidelines for the growth habits of these different types. Please note that the final tree size of any tree is not always predictable. Growing conditions, variety vigor and climate, greatly effect how big a tree will grow.
|The approximate size at maturity will be 20’ to 30’ tall. Citrus is a rather slow growing tree and it could take 10 to 15 years to reach its full height.||A semi-dwarf citrus grows to about two-thirds the size of a standard tree. Depending on the citrus variety a mature semi-dwarf tree reaches between 15’ and 20’ tall.||A dwarfing rootstock reduces the proportions of the tree, however, dwarfing does not change the fruit size. Most dwarf citrus will reach a height of approximately 6’ – 8’ at maturity.|
Citrus Tree Fruiting – When Will My Citrus Tree Fruit
The best thing about growing citrus trees is getting to harvest and eat the fruits. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, and all the many varieties are delicious and nutritious, and growing your own can be so rewarding. As you get into citrus trees, know that you won’t necessarily get fruit right away. You may have to be patient with citrus tree fruiting, but it is worth the wait.
What Age Do Citrus Trees Produce Fruit?
A lot goes into growing citrus trees that are healthy and productive, so be sure to do your homework before you choose and plant a tree. One of the most important questions you need answered is ‘How old is a citrus tree when it fruits?’ If you aren’t aware of when a tree will begin to produce, you could be really disappointed.
Citrus tree fruiting depends on citrus tree maturity, and when exactly a tree will be mature depends on the variety. In general, though, you can expect that your citrus tree will be mature and ready to produce fruit in the second or third year after you plant it. If you are growing a citrus tree from seed, however, which is possible to do, your tree will not be mature and fruiting until at least its fifth year.
Size is not necessarily an indication of maturity. Different types of citrus may be different sizes at maturity. For instance, there are standard trees, semi-dwarf, and dwarf trees, the smallest of the citrus, which may only be four to six feet (1 to 2 meters) high when it begins to produce fruit.
When Will my Citrus Tree Fruit?
Patience is necessary, especially when growing a citrus tree from seed. Even if you get a tree from a nursery, it is typical to not see any fruit until the third year in your garden.
You can ensure you do get a good yield when your tree is ready by using a balanced fertilizer in its first few years in the ground. Also, keep it well watered to ensure good growth; citrus trees do not produce as much fruit in drought conditions.
Waiting for citrus tree maturity and to get those first tasty fruits can be maddening, but everything that is worth enjoying is worth waiting for. Take good care of your citrus tree, be patient, and you will soon enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Advice from the Help Desk of the
UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
Client’s Request: What do you think caused my lemons to be too big (Picture 1). The second picture has a normal size Meyer lemon next to my too big Meyer lemon. All the lemons on the tree this year were like this. Last year most of the lemons were normal size except for three. The tree is about 8 to 10 years old. It’s always been in the same pot on my deck. I fertilize it about three times a year. I appreciate any advice you can give me.
Comparison of “Normal” vs. “Too Big” Lemons
Response from the MGCC’s Help Desk: Thank you for contacting the UC Master Gardener Program Help Desk with your question about your Meyer’s lemon. It was a pleasure to talk to you in order to find out a bit more about your dwarf Meyer Lemon that has over-sized lemons with thick rinds and little juice.
After completing some research, reviewing the photograph of your 10 year old potted plant, and learning more about your fertilizing and irrigation routines, we have some information and suggestions to share with you that we hope you will find helpful.
Fruit Left on the Tree Too Long
Lemons may develop thick, puffy skin when left on the tree for too long after they ripen. You can wait to pick until the lemons have turned fully yellow, but to ensure juiciness and thinner skins, pick them while there is a little green still on the fruit.
Environmental Moisture and Watering
Dry weather or infrequent watering may cause your lemons to have a dry pulp. Water stress may prompt the tree to absorb moisture from the fruit’s pulp, resulting in lemons with little juice. This reabsorption may also occur if you leave the lemons on the tree too long after they ripen. To prevent water stress, keep the top 5 to 6 inches of the soil moist; for dwarf lemons grown in a container, keep the top 1 to 2 inches of soil moist. Alternatively, excessive moisture in the air from high humidity levels may cause puffy rinds with a coarser texture and duller color, though the amount of juice may not be affected.
It’s Time to Repot your Meyer Lemon
It is probably time to repot your Meyer Lemon. Potted lemon trees require repotting every two to three years, or when the roots begin growing out the drainage holes. The best time to repot your tree is in spring during heavy growth so it has time to establish in the new container.
Select a container one size larger than the current container. For example, upgrade from a 5 gallon to a 7-gallon pot or a 7-gallon to a 15-gallon pot.
Fill the new pot one-fourth full with a potting soil similar to the type used in the old container. Water the soil until it’s evenly moist and the excess just begins to drain from the bottom.
Insert a trowel or knife between the soil and pot sides to loosen the root ball from the container. Grasp the tree near its base and lift it up while a second person pulls the pot downward.
Thoroughly examine the roots and locate any roots that are completely encircling the root ball. Slice through these roots with a clean knife; otherwise, they may constrict the root ball as they grow and cause the tree to die. Remove any dead root material.
Set the tree in the new pot. Adjust the depth of the soil beneath the root ball so the top of the root system sits 2 inches beneath the pot rim. The top of the roots should be just beneath the soil surface, and crown roots (root collar area) should show above the soil line.
Fill in around the roots with additional soil until the lemon tree is potted at the same depth it was at previously. Water thoroughly so the soil settles around the roots and add more soil, if necessary.
Possibly Over Fertilizing Your Tree
Most mature citrus require regular fertilization with nitrogen. Your fertilizer should have more nitrogen (N) than phosphorous (P) or potassium (K). Use at least a 2-1-1 ratio. Typically, most other nutrients are available in sufficient amounts in the soil. Nitrogen should be applied in January or February just prior to bloom. The second application then can be applied in May and perhaps a third in June. Avoid late-season fertilization as it may affect fruit quality, delay fruit coloring, and make the rind tough. Dwarf plants or trees in containers with restricted root space may require less fertilizer. Be careful not to over-fertilize as this could cause excessive new growth, which makes trees susceptible to other disorders.
Here is a list of citrus care articles that you may find helpful for the continuing health of your tree:
We certainly hope this information is helpful to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us again should you have any other questions about your lemon tree or other horticultural needs.
Help Desk of the Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County (WHM /SLH)
Fragrant flowers. Beautiful, shiny, and evergreen foliage. Colorful, edible, and delicious fruits. A well-behaved root system. The ability to adjust to different types or methods of cultivation.
All of these make the dwarf citrus a valuable plant for modern home gardening.
Dwarf citrus trees are simply regular fruit trees that are grafted onto smaller plant rootstock. This means you get the tasty fruit of a normal citrus tree from a plant that works well in landscapes that can’t accommodate a full-size tree.
And most importantly, of course, smaller trees mean more easily accessible fruit! Dwarf citrus trees generally grow to be a maximum of 8 to 10 feet tall.
The fruit of dwarf trees is the same size and quality as that grown on a standard-sized tree, assuming it receives the same care. And dwarf types produce a larger crop, for their size, than standard-sized trees.
Ready to find out more about adding one to your garden? Here’s what to come:
Let’s get to the tips, talk about techniques and things to be aware of, and hopefully we can even help you to find your perfect tree.
A Versatile Landscape Addition
Dwarf citrus — lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, tangelo, and kumquat — has as many uses in the garden as there are places for plants.
You can use it as a hedge to mark a property line or to screen off a given area, or you can grow it as a specimen plant in the lawn.
You can use dwarf citrus to add a little height to a perennial background, or use it as a foundation planting close to the house.
It will make a lovely addition espaliered against a wall to break the glare, or simply to ornament it.
Espaliering is the process of training a tree, shrub, or woody vine to grow flat against a surface, usually a sunny and protected wall or a fence. This is often done with a specific geometric design in mind that can turn the tree into a rather breathtaking artistic statement. Or other trees are allowed to maintain their natural form, with protruding branches merely pruned off.
Dwarf citrus varieties are also quite suitable for container plantings. They bring significant interest to porches or patios as specimen plantings, and they’re convenient to access come harvest time. Close proximity to the house also means it will be easier to bring your plants indoors if you live in a climate where a citrus tree cannot overwinter outdoors.
Plenty to Choose From and Where to Buy
Dwarf citrus fruits are available in a number of types and varieties. Nearly every worthwhile variety of edible citrus in the world is now available to gardeners on a dwarfing rootstock.
If you’re looking for the lemony-orange flavor of Meyer lemons, consider this small tree, available from Nature Hills Nursery.
Improved Dwarf Meyer Lemon Trees
You’ll get a plant in a container that’s somewhere between two and three gallons. Dwarf Meyer lemon trees grow well in pots, where they will grow to 4 feet or so. And they do well in the landscape, too, in zones 9 and 10.
Dwarf Meyer lemon trees can reach 10 feet, but will easily adjust to less than four feet indoors.
If Clementine oranges make your palate sing, consider ordering a sapling from Brighter Blooms, available via Amazon.
Brighter Blooms Nules Clementine Dwarf Fruit Tree
You can choose a 1- to 2-foot tree or a 3- to 4-foot tree of the ‘Nules’ variety, which will produce copious amounts of sweet orange fruit.
Looking for lime? Consider a dwarf ‘Bearss’ seedless lime, available from Nature Hills Nursery.
Bearss Lime Tree
Also known as the Persian, Tahini, or seedless lime, you’ll get an evergreen plant that is a minimum of 3 years old, and will grow to about 10 feet tall at maturity. This option does well in the landscape as well as in containers.
Looking for mini fruit to ornament your miniature tree? Nature Hills offers a dwarf ‘Nagami’ kumquat in a two- to three-gallon container that will grow to about 10 feet tall.
Kumquats are known for their edible peel and lively, tart flavor.
Morning or Afternoon – Just Give Them Sun
Like all plants, small trees have a few simple needs. And you need to attend to these if you’re aiming to produce beautiful trees with delicious fruit.
The first and most important of these needs is good drainage. While the roots must have a constant supply of moisture, they cannot tolerate waterlogged soil, or water that stands for too long. For a primer on drainage, see the green boxed-out reference section below.
Citrus trees also need warmth and sunshine to produce colorful, juicy, and flavorful fruit. I know of one gardener who has some trees that only get morning sun, and other trees that only get afternoon sun. In both locations, the plants do a good job of setting and ripening their fruits.
The Perfect Dirt
Plants grown in containers do best with the least effort when they are planted in a lightweight, perlite-containing potting mix that drains well. An all-organic matter or native soil will compact too quickly, reducing aeration for roots.
Commercial growers are fond of the “UC mix.” This was developed by soil scientists at the University of California Riverside’s world-renowned Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station.
In addition to the special soil mixture for container-grown plants, the Citrus Experiment Station has developed new citrus varieties and worked to address disease and pest management, post-harvest handling methods, and practices for improved commercial fruit production.
UC’s soil mixtures have been so successful that commercial growers all over the western world are using them for all types of plants.
Unfortunately, unless you need a few cubic yards of this mix, and live in Southern California, backyard gardeners will likely not be able to find UC mix.
Instead, look for planting mixes that are specially blended for citrus or fruit trees.
When setting plants out in the garden, the citrus-specific planting mix should be combined with the soil removed from the hole in a ratio of one part mix to one part native soil.
As plant roots are generally reluctant to enter a new growing medium, mixing a citrus-specific soil with the native soil will make the tree’s transition easier.
Keep in Mind: Drainage Is Essential
Appropriate drainage is the #1 need for citrus plants. Overwatering causes citrus foliage to drop off. Under-watering can also cause this trouble, but drooping foliage usually calls attention to the lack of water in time to ward off serious leaf drop.
There is seldom any overwatering problem in containers if a well-draining soil is used. In garden soil, excess water must have a means of escape. If the soil has naturally good drainage, there is little to worry about.
Here’s how to check for well-draining soil in an existing area where you would like to plant, and what you can try if you have a problem:
- Dig a hole of the needed size and fill it with water, keeping the water running until the soil all around the hole is saturated.
- Check the time it takes for the water to drain completely through the saturated soil. If it drains away within a couple of hours, there is no drainage problem.
- If water stands in the freshly dug hole for longer than two hours, however, something should be done before a plant is placed.
- One way to address this is to dig the hole a foot deeper than is needed. Slope the bottom of the hole at a steep angle and dig a trench from the low side leading away from the planting area. Fill the bottom of the hole and the trench with 6-10 inches of drain rock or gravel.
- Be sure the trench is long enough to carry off heavy winter rainwater. Fill in above the rock with the half and half mixture of the citrus soil and native soil and set the plant in place.
When transplanting your tree, set the root ball high in the hole, high enough for the soil over the finished job to slope from the tree trunk to the surrounding soil level.
The top of the root ball should be two or three inches higher than the surrounding soil level. Backfill with your soil mixture, but create a shallow “moat” around the circumference of the newly planted tree. If you were unable to find a citrus-specific potting mix, scatter half a cupful of balanced fertilizer around the moat.
Add a layer of mulch around the planting area, including in the moat. Slowly fill the moat with water. Keep the water dribbling away in the full basin for half an hour or so, wait two or three days and do it again, then leave the plant alone until it needs watering.
Shaping: It’s Up to You
Young plants may look a little one-sided, but give them a few years and they will become neatly rounded specimens – unless an espaliered miniature growing along a fence or garden wall is what you’re after. They can be trained to do this as well.
If you want to keep the plants quite low or add fullness, you can pinch out the tips of the new growth from time to time.
You’ll also want to prune away any deadwood, and prune to maximize airflow. Prune off any branches that cross others and prevent sunlight from reaching the lower branch.
Fertilizer? Only if They’re Really Hungry
In general, these little trees do need fertilizing. You can be as fancy or simple as you like with this garden practice.
If your plants appear to need some nutritive love, a 10-10-8 fertilizer with an acid reaction, such as what you would use on camellias and roses, should keep the plants growing if you follow the directions on the package.
Or, if you like to play around a bit, you can leaf spray with zinc and manganese in the spring before growth starts and then supplement with a spray containing nitrogen. Any iron deficiency can be cared for with iron chelate.
Bugs, Be Gone!
Like all plants, dwarf citrus is bothered by common pests such as ants, snails, aphids, thrips, and spider mites.
Get rid of ants and spider mites with diatomaceous earth. And check out this article for ideas about how to naturally rid your garden of snails and slugs.
Treat aphids and thrips with a hard, firm spray with the hose, or an insecticidal soap such as this one from Garden Safe, available on Amazon.
Garden Safe Houseplant and Garden Insect Killer, 24-Ounce Spray
This 24-ounce spray bottle is ready to use.
Sometimes citrus gets scale. Be watchful for this pest and pick it or water-blast it off before it can become an infestation. A spray made from neem oil is the only really effective cure for these pests.
Try this neem oil extract concentrate from Garden Safe, available from Amazon.
Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract Concentrate, 4-Pack (16 Fl. Oz.)
Each 16-ounce container will make about 16 gallons of spray.
More to Watch out For: Diseases
Citrus suffers from its share of bacterial and fungal diseases, also.
A fairly recently arrived and particularly devastating illness that is plaguing US citrus trees — both commercial and backyard — is huanglongbing, also known as HLB, yellow dragon disease, or citrus greening disease. Presence of the disease has been identified in Florida, California, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas.
Originating in Asia, and first reported in the United States in 2005, HLB is spread by a pest called the Asian citrus psyllid.
Symptoms include asymmetrical yellow discoloration on leaves, and fruit that only partially ripens.
There is no cure for an infected tree, which will die. The best prevention is to immediately treat an infection of Asian citrus psyllid with neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural spray oil, such as this one from Bonide that you can purchase via Amazon.
Bonide Products All Seasons 210 Horticultural Spray Oil Concentrate 2-Pack (16 Fl. Oz.)
Dilute this concentrated product according to package directions (applying chemicals article), depending on what plants you are treating. For more information on preventing and treating this disease, you can read our full article here.
Another disease to look out for is citrus canker, a bacterial disease that causes lesions on the leaves, stems, and fruit of plants. There is no cure for this highly contagious disease; it is spread by wind-driven rain, contact with infected tools or hands, or by birds. Infected trees must be removed.
Melanose is a fungal infection that is best contained by pruning affected areas. It presents as small, dark spots on leaves and scabbing on fruit. A fungicide, such as this one from Bonide and available via Amazon, may be helpful if the infection is caught early.
Bonide Products Fung-Onil Ready-to-Use Fungicide, 32-Ounce
This 32-ounce bottle is ready to use.
Greasy spot is another fungal problem, characterized yellowish-brown blister spots on leaves. Sooty mold is also caused by a fungus, and it causes a blackening of the plant’s leaves.
Root rot, sometimes called brown or collar rot, is caused by soil-borne water molds. With this one, you’ll see dark brown patches of hardened bark on the tree’s trunk.
Harvest: When Are They Ready?
Eating the fruit that you’ve grown is the most rewarding part of the process. Different types of citrus fruits ripen at various times of year. In the south, for example, most orange varieties are typically ready to pick December through May. Mandarins are usually ready in January through April. Lemons and limes ripen all year.
Consult the planting information that came with your tree when you purchased it to know approximately when its fruit will be ready for harvest.
The fruit signals its harvest readiness by turning from green to its ultimate color. In some cases, the fruit will simply drop from the tree when it is ready to eat.
Be sure to pick up dropped fruit right away because a) you want to eat it, and b) you want to keep a tidy garden to prevent disease!
You can also perform a taste test. Pull a couple of sweet- and fresh-smelling fruits from different places on the tree, cut them open, and sample.
Michelangelo-Perfect Palate Pleasers
When it comes to eating your citrus fruit, there is no shortage of options. Fresh from the tree is best for some, but with so many recipes utilizing citrus, we suggest exploring ways to incorporate this versatile fruit into drinks, sides, main courses, and desserts.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
The classic combo of tequila and lime partner up in Tequila Shrimp Tacos with Jicama Cucumber Slaw, a quick-fix recipe from Vintage Kitty. Pluck a few limes to flavor the slaw, and a few more to squeeze over the finished tacos. And maybe some more for the accompanying margaritas — here’s a recipe for a delicious Mango Madness Margarita from Shola over at Our Perfect Palette.
If you’ve got a grapefruit tree, consider adding this Grapefruit and Fennel Salad to the menu. From our friends at The Fitchen, this recipe also features onion and avocado. And it also calls for lemon juice, so you’ll be able to make use of more than one homegrown citrus fruit.
Collect a few lemons for this Sheet Pan Chicken Piccata, from Hunger Thirst Play. Capers and lemons go together like Michelangelo and the Renaissance, and this classic Italian dish highlights the flavor profile perfectly.
You can put The Gingered Whisk’s Mini Meyer Lemon Donuts in either the dessert or breakfast category. Crafted with buttermilk and topped with a sweet icing, these baked morsels are tasty any time of day.
Don’t miss an opportunity to juice one or two small oranges for this light and fluffy Gluten-Free Mandarin Orange Sponge Cake . This lactose-free dessert is moist and delicious.
All the Flavor in Much Less Space
These miniaturized fruit trees are a wonderful solution for gardener-cooks who want the convenience and deliciousness of home-picked fruit, but don’t have space for a large tree.
Dwarf citrus trees are fairly easy to care for, and can serve a number of purposes in the landscape, or be placed in containers for easy overwintering.
Do you grow these small, yet bountiful trees? Which does well in your area? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below. Or, if you’d like to try your hand at growing peaches instead, check out this article.
Product photos via Nature Hills Nursery, Brighter Blooms, Garden Safe, and Bonide. Uncredited photos: . Originally published by Mike Quinn on September 8th, 2014. Last updated: January 5, 2020 at 15:52 pm.
About Gretchen Heber
A former garden editor for a daily newspaper in Austin, Texas, Gretchen Heber goes through entirely too many pruners and garden gloves in a year’s time. She’s never met a succulent she didn’t like and gets really irritated every 3-4 years when Austin actually has a freeze cold enough to kill them. To Gretchen, nothing is more rewarding than a quick dash to the garden to pluck herbs to season the evening meal. And it’s definitely time for a happy dance when she’s able to beat the squirrels to the peaches, figs, or loquats.
Dwarf Citrus Trees for the Small Garden
- Photo by A Suburban Farmer.com
- Meyer lemon by Deb Roby.
- Kumquat by Shioshivilli
I don’t know about you, but I think if there’s anything as awesome as fresh vegetables from my garden, it’s fresh fruit from my own trees. My orange and lemon trees are my favorite fruits to grow — and eat. Plus they’re handsome trees, evergreen, and add a most heavenly scent to the air when they’re blooming.
If you haven’t done any citrus gardening yet (but would like to), consider foregoing the giant standards and planting their dwarf cousins instead. When planted in the ground, dwarf citrus grow anywhere from 8′ to 12′ tall and if they’re planted into a large container they’ll remain much smaller.
The only drawback is that many (such as oranges and lemons) won’t do well outdoors year-round much under zone 9. Still, some citrus such as mandarins can take a little bite of frost. If your zone is below a 9, it’s easy to plant citrus into containers and just wheel it into the house for the winter (or under an overhang in semi-mild areas).
Caring For Citrus Trees
The best way for any fruit tree to become established in a new yard or garden is to purchase them bare-root and get them into the ground while they’re dormant. If you miss that window you should be able to find some that are already happily growing in containers. They’ll go through a little transplant shock when they’re first planted as opposed to the bare-rooted ones that simply “wake up” in the spring not realizing that they’ve been disrupted at all.
Citrus enjoys full sun and soil that’s full of organic matter. But more important than loamy soil is at least a well-draining one. This is pretty much a requirement for citrus. These trees want evenly moist soil. On the other hand, they’ll end up dead in a constantly soggy area (especially bad in clay types).
I found out the hard way that my citrus trees do best on a regular watering schedule. One summer I did the whole hit-and-miss watering routine and ended up with a lot of split oranges on the tree. What happened is that I let the soil entirely dry out before I watered again — hard lesson. Learn from my mistakes, people.
Popular Citrus Trees for the Home Garden
Listed are some citrus varieties to get you started. In no way is this list exhaustive. In fact, many traditional standard types have been grafted onto dwarf or semi-dwarf rootstocks.
- Lemons — ‘Improved Meyer’, ‘Dwarf Lisbon’
- Limes — ‘Dwarf Bearss Seedless’
- Oranges — ‘Dwarf Campbell Valencia’, Dwarf Washington Navel’
- Mandarin Oranges — ‘Clementine’, ‘Satsuma’, ‘Dwarf Tango’
- Blood Orange — ‘Moro’ (semi-dwarf), ‘Smith Red’
- Grapefruit — ‘Dwarf Redblush’
- Kumquats — ‘Nagami’
Fruit on citrus trees depends on the type of fruit and sometimes the variety. My oranges are almost ever-bearing and have ripe fruit on them the same time they burst into bloom (did I mention that I love my orange trees?). Some will ripen during late fall and early winter.
The most important thing to keep in mind before you break out your bushel basket and start plucking the fruit off of your tree is that citrus only ripens while still on the branch. In other words, don’t think in terms of tomatoes (which will further ripen on your window sill); if you harvest a near-ready crop of not-so-sweet oranges, that’s what you’ll be left with. My best citrus harvesting advice is to become familiar with your variety’s harvesting time-frame for your varierty and pick one off the tree and taste it before harvesting more fruit.
Dwarf Citrus Trees Indoors
If your citrus tree has been soaking up the backyard sun for several months and you’d like to bring it indoors for the winter, it’s best to place it under an overhang for a couple of weeks beforehand. This allows the tree to become accustomed to it’s new environment gradually. Reverse this process about two weeks before you bring it back outdoors in the spring.
Be sure to place it near a window that has a southern exposure (away from direct heat) so it can soak up the most sun. The next best place would be a western exposure, but the more sun exposure you can offer, the healthier the tree and the more fruit it’ll produce. Citrus want their soil on the acidic side, so use an appropriate fertilizer about every four to six weeks.
I have to admit that I’m pretty lucky to be living in a zone that allows my citrus trees to live outdoors year round. But that doesn’t stop me from keeping a sweet-smelling Meyer Lemon tree as a fruit-producing houseplant indoors, as well.
- Grapefruit Trees
- Kumquat Trees
- Lemon Trees
- Lime Trees
- Mandarin Trees
- Naranj – Sour Orange Trees نارنج
- Orange Trees
- Specialty Citrus Trees
Balang Tree – Citrus medica
Quick View $120.00 Balang belongs to the citrus family and is predominantly used for its rind, which is used to make a delicious jam. It is originally from the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran in Northern Iran, and distinguished from other … Select options
Bearss Lime Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 Bearss lime (Citrus x latifolia), commonly known as Persian lime or seedless green lime, is the most popular lime sold at the markets in California and much of the world. The skin of the Bearss lime has smooth texture, … Select options
Cara Cara Orange Tree
Quick View $120.00 A light red color flesh, medium size orange with sweet and juicy flavor. The skin is Fruits have navel, and thought to either be a mutation of the Washington navel orange. However, it may have been a cross of the Brazil… Select options
Dancy Mandarin Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 Citrus reticulata Blanco The Dancy Mandarin is sweet and easy to peel. The fruit is medium size with red-orange skin. Juicy flesh with rich flavor. Very popular in California, marketed as “Cuties”. Thought to be from Tangier, Morocco, these a… Select options
Eureka Lemon Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 The Eureka lemon is most common lemon in California supermarkets. Very juicy and delicious, sour tart flavor flesh. Deep yellow color, smooth texture skin that becomes thinner as the tree matures. A fast growing… Select options
Honey Mandarin Trees
Quick View $120.00 – $395.00 The Honey Mandarin tree produces sweet, seedless, and easy to peel fruit. They have thin skin that is red-orange in color. Also sold as tangerines, the fruit can become medium to large in size. The tree produces fragrant, … Select options
Mexican Key Lime Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 The Key Lime fruit is small, juicy, tart, and very delicious. Often used with tequila or in the sliced and placed neck of a glass beer bottle. Vigorous and prolific tree, harvested green and consumed yellow. Select options
Meyers Lemon Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $120.00 Citrus × meyeri The Meyers lemon tree produce juicy and delicious tart flavor fruit with a hint of sweetness. This lemon has thin skin and a rounder shape than a true lemon. A very great for cooking and baking. With a rich flavor, this le… Select options
Moro Blood Orange Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $120.00 The most popular red flesh orange is the Moro blood orange. The deep red, maroon color inside is intense. The fruit is round, medium size, has smooth texture, and a red tinge color skin. The flesh is juicy, sweet, delici… Select options
Nagami Kumquat Tree
Quick View $120.00 – $395.00 Very attractive citrus tree that produce small, orange colored, oval shape fruit. It’s tartness makes them great for use in cooking, and often eaten with the skin to balance the sweet and tart flavors. Select options
Oroblanco Grapefruit Tree
Quick View $120.00 – $395.00 Oroblanco grapefruit is the most popular white fleshed variety. The fruit is large, seedless, oblong or round shape, with smooth yellow skin. The rind is very thick and a creamy white color. The flesh juicy and s… Select options
Persian Lime Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 The Persian lime is one of the most popular citrus fruits grown in Los Angeles and California homes. The Persian lime is seedless, medium size fruit with smooth green skin. The flesh is very juicy and delicious, and very p… Select options
Persian Sweet Lemon – (Limu Shirin)
Quick View $165.00 – $395.00 The Persian Sweet Lemon is juicy and completely sweet. Very delicious with no acidity at all. Very high in Vitamin C, and a natural cold remedy. Cut into fours and eat fresh. So sweet and tasty, you can make lemonade wit… Select options
Satsuma Mandarin Tree
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 The Satsuma Mandarin tree produce sweet and juicy fruit with puffy, very easy to peel skin. Considered to be ugly looking fruit with an unusual shape. Very delicious flavor. Moderate size tree that bears tiny white fragran… Select options
Sour Orange Tree- (Naranj Shiraz – نارنج)
Quick View $195.00 Originally from the Southern city of Shiraz, Naranj is known in the Middle East as the “King of the Citrus” for its distinct taste and aromas. Naranj trees are beautiful evergreens that produce white blossoms and delic… Select options
Quick View $40.00 – $395.00 The Washington Navel Orange tree is the most popular eating orange in California. Large round to oval medium to large navel fruit. seedless. Especially well-colored (deep orange). The rind is average thickness with the fle… Select options