Citrus Growing Tips


Few things are more rewarding in life than growing your own citrus and basking in the bright, zesty fruits of your labors. Although these flavor-packed plants belong to a subtropical genus, they can be grown almost anywhere when given the proper care. Want to know more? Get all the dirt on growing your own 'main squeeze' below!

Tips for Growing Citrus in Containers

Live where it's cold in the winter? (Zones 7 and higher), you can grow lemons, limes, oranges, and even grapefruits in containers.

Many citrus trees are well-suited for containers because you can prune them to stay a fairly manageable size. 

Keep containers outside during the summer and bring them indoors during the chilly winter months.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when growing citrus in containers:

  • Make sure to use a container with plenty of drainage holes and light, well-draining soil mix.
  • Give your plants plenty of outdoor time in the sunlight during the warm months, bringing them back inside if temperatures drop below 45°F.
  • Never allow the plants to sit in soggy soil, but maintain even moisture for healthy root growth.

Citrus Fertilizing Schedule

Apply a balanced fertilizer such as 6-6-6 or 6-4-8 to your citrus trees a few weeks after planting. Then, we recommend offering another hearty dose of citrus fertilizer after flowering to keep them happy. Always follow the label directions on the bag of fertilizer that you're using for correct amounts to use on your citrus. Yellowing leaves are a good indication that your plants are lacking in fertilizer or don't have adequate drainage.

Growing Citrus Indoors

Citrus trees make fantastic houseplants and can easily be grown indoors with good light, humidity, well-drained soil, consistent moisture, and additional nutrients. Follow the tips below, and you'll be well on your way to a healthy citrus tree!

  • Place the containers where they will get the brightest light indoors, such as by a sunny southern window.
  • Keep the plants away from cold drafts or drying heat sources.
  • Offer additional humidity as needed during winter by misting or placing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles.

Common Citrus Issues

Now, let's talk about a few of the common issues people face when growing citrus.

  • Overwatering: As we mentioned earlier, Citrus trees require regular moisture but can't stand to sit in soggy soil. Beyond making it difficult for the plants to absorb nutrients, wet conditions also make them vulnerable to pests and diseases.

  • Nitrogen Deficiency: Citrus trees are heavily dependent on nitrogen, and when it's lacking, the leaves will become pale or yellow. Avoid this issue by using the balanced fertilizer in timely intervals as per the instructions on the fertilizer bag label. 

  • Sunburn: Citrus trees appreciate plenty of sunlight, but for those gardening in warmer southern climates, a bit of protection for trunks and branches will help bypass potential sunburn. 

Resources for More Information

University of Florida

University of California

University of Arizona