Growing citrus fruits is a bit delicate and requires lots of maintenance. In addition, they appreciate warm climate and can adapt to many soil types. The specificity of citrus fruits lies in the fact that they can be grown outdoors as well as indoors. Just follow a few instructions and you will have the pleasure of picking citrus fruit that you will have planted.

Citrus fruit trees are native to hot countries. For this reason, growing them requires some adjustments in other regions. You can also plant either plant them in-ground or in containers, provided that the earth is not too calcareous. These trees are often thorny and leaves are trifoliate, unifoliate, entire or crenate. They release a strong and pleasant scent and its seedlings are often obtained by cuttings, layering or from seeds.

What are the different types of citrus?

There are many kinds of citrus but we will only mention the most popular ones of which the cultivation is the most widespread. First is the bitter orange, a mixture of lemon-orange that has thorny branches, elliptical leaves and its fruit bears bark that is both bitter and fragrant. Its leaves and flowers are used to produce Neroli oil. Then, there is the laraha citrus tree, that produces small fruits that have rough bark and yellow pulp. It is widely used in the manufacturing process of curaçao, distilled water and essential oil. Then, there is the lemon tree which has reddish purple buds, oval and acute leaves and produces egg-shaped fruit. Next, there is the bergamot which has thorny branches with fragrant flowers and  produces very tasty pear-shaped yellow fruit.  Also, do not forget the pomelo and grapefruit, both of which are thorny, have thick leaves, and produce large fruits, such as the grapefruit. And finally, the most popular citrus tree is the orange tree which is very close to the bitter orange. Several varieties exist, including the mandarin orange with its bloody flesh and the strong scent and the clementine, a sort of mandarin and orange hybrid. In fact, the species best suited for indoor cultivation is a type of orange: the calamondin.

How to grow citrus?

Citruses love the sun but not the wind, so it is important to plant them in a sunny location that is sheltered from the wind. The areas that are best suited to their growth are located near the Mediterranean. They are also grown in containers in the northern regions and need to be sheltered during the winter to protect them from the frost. They are brought inside a greenhouse or sun room. They bear fruit from November to May, except for the lemon tree which produces them all year long. There are two ways to plant citrus trees. The first method is in container and, therefore, often destined for indoor cultivation. To do this, fill the pot with a mixture consisting of 2 / 3 of non-calcareous fresh earth and 1 / 3 of potting soil. Put it in a cool place during the winter and start to bring it back out around the month of May. The second solution is to plant in-ground. To do this, start by soaking the root ball in water to hydrate it well before digging a square hole of which the length of one side should be 40 inches (1 m) and its depth 31.5 inches (80 cm). From that point on, procedures differ depending on soil type. For heavy soils, keep 1 / 3 of the garden earth, add 2 / 3 of quality soil and nearly 27 pounds (10 kg) of rotted manure or humus. For clayey soils, add non-calcareous river sand. For sandy soil, keep half of the available earth and fill the rest with humus and potting soil. As for calcareous soils, just replace the potting soil with heath earth. And finally, do not cover the neck of plants as this may cause them to rot. Water abundantly and regularly.

How to maintain them?

Citrus fruits require a lot of attention. Regarding those grown indoors, they need to be placed in a well-lit room that has no heater. Also avoid exposing them to direct sunlight. Fill their containers with clay pebbles or gravel for good drainage and do not forget to water them regularly and bring them out at the end of winter. Citrus fruits also need special fertilizer at least three times a year, before flowering in June and in September. Furthermore, include organic matter in autumn to improve the soil. To prune them, just get rid of the dead wood and clean out the tree’s centre. Use a sponge to remove dust from leaves. During the summer monitor the plants to detect the presence of parasites and treat them as soon as the first symptoms appear.

Related posts:

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  2. Fruit Trees & Orchard
  3. Growing an apple tree
  4. Stimulating plant growth and preventing diseases
  5. Maintaining fruit trees

Published in Creating a vegetable garden by Alexander on 06 Sep 2011