How to Plant Citrus Trees in Pots


Citrus trees enhance landscapes in warm climates with their attractive, scented blossoms in the spring and their tasty fruit in the summer and fall. In cooler climates, these trees can be treated as houseplants. Indoor citrus plants require five to six hours of sunlight per day and should be fertilized with a high-nitrogen, acidic fertilizer in late winter, June and August, according to Colorado State University Extension. Planting these trees in containers brings a touch of the tropics inside your home and allows you to enjoy fresh fruit from trees.

Step 1

Select small seedlings or young trees to grow in containers. Look for citrus plants with numerous branches and upright, uniform growth. Avoid purchasing citrus trees that with roots above the surface of the soil in their nursery pots. The appearance of these roots often indicates crowding of the roots, causing stress to the entire plant.

Step 2

Choose large, deep pots for your citrus trees. Look for sturdy pots with drainage holes on the bottoms. Avoid repeated transplanting sessions by planting young citrus trees in pots that allow sufficient room for future growth.

Step 3

Cover the bottom of your pots with pieces of screen fabric to keep the soil from washing out of the pots. Place about an inch of fine gravel over the screen in the pots. Mix composted bark, peat moss, and clean sand in equal parts to form your potting soil. Add enough soil mixture to your pots to allow rootballs to sit on top of the soil with the surfaces of the rootballs just below the rim of the containers. Gently remove citrus trees from their nursery containers and center them in the pots. Fill in the sides with soil mix and press down the surface of the soil to remove gaps around the roots and edges of the pots.

Step 4

Slowly water your young trees until a little moisture appears near the drainage holes. Water your trees whenever the top 1/2 inch of soil becomes dry to the touch.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Screen
  • Gravel
  • Bark
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Water


  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production -- Citrus
  • Colorado State University: Citrus Trees

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Citrus Guide
Keywords: citrus in pots, container citrus trees, plant citrus trees

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.