How to Grow Citrus in Florida

Overview

Citrus trees such as tangerines, oranges, kumquats, tangelos and even lemons and limes are grown throughout the central and southern regions of Florida. Citrus trees are regarded as tropical to sub-tropical plants that require protection from cold and freezing temperatures. Whatever variety of citrus tree you want to grow in Florida, make sure you provide it with full sun and excellent drainage.

Step 1

Cultivate and prepare a 4-foot by 6-foot section in the planting area, as suggested by the University of Florida. Use a garden hoe to eliminate all weeds and roots from the planting area. Dig down to between 2 and 3 feet.

Step 2

Amend the soil in the planting area if it offers poor drainage, such as is found in areas in South Florida. Mix into the soil a 3- to 4-inch layer of aged manure or compost, rotted leaves or any other similar type natural material.

Step 3

Dig planting holes for the citrus trees that are twice the diameter of the containers and about the same depth. Grapefruit trees should be spaced 20 to 25 feet apart. Kumquats can be planted 10 to 15 feet apart and tangerines and oranges between 12 and 16 feet apart.

Step 4

Remove the citrus tree from its growing container. Lift the citrus tree up off the ground and use a hammer to strike down on the rim until it slides off the root system. Make three to four vertical cuts in the root ball if the root system appears matted or root bound. According to the University of Florida, this will help stimulate new root growth.

Step 5

Place the citrus tree into a planting hole. Necessary for success in growing citrus in Florida is to ensure it is not planted too deeply. Look for where the bud union, or graft union is located. This is typically indicated by a slight bulge, or bend located at the base of the trunk. The citrus tree requires being placed in the planting hole so that the bud union is sitting about 1/2 to 1 inch above the surrounding topsoil.

Step 6

Add or remove soil from the planting hole until you are sure the citrus tree is planted at a correct level. Fill the planting hole between one-third and half full. Fill the planting hole with water, then tamp the soil down firmly in the hole. Fill the remainder of the hole full of soil and pack it down one last time.

Step 7

Create a 24 to 30 inch wide ring of soil that is approximately 3 to 4 inches tall around the citrus tree. Fill up the ring of soil with water slowly, so the water can soak down to the root system. In Florida during the first two weeks after planting, it will be necessary to water the citrus tree approximately three times a week. Then water once a week if there is no rainfall.

Things You'll Need

  • Citrus tree
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendment
  • Knife

References

  • Purdue University: Growing Citrus
  • The University of Florida: Citrus Tree Growing
  • Texas A&M: Growing Citrus
Keywords: growing citrus in florida, florida citrus growing, planting citrus trees in florida

About this Author

Katelyn Lynn is a certified holistic health practitioner who specializes in orthomolecular medicine and preventative modalities. She also has extensive experience in botany and horticulture. Lynn has been writing articles for various websites relating to health and wellness since 2007. She has been published on gardenguides.com. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in alternative medicine from Everglades University.