How to Plant New Citrus Trees in Florida


Citrus trees come in numerous varieties including orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime and more. Citrus trees are cold sensitive and grow best in tropical or subtropical climates found in areas known as the "citrus belt." Florida provides the ideal temperatures in most locations for growing citrus trees. Grow cold-tolerant citrus trees in regions of northern Florida that occasionally freeze during the winter, or prepare to provide cold protection to your growing citrus trees when needed. Plant self-pollinating citrus (when possible), or enough citrus tree varieties required for pollination.

Step 1

Pick a location in your landscape providing full sun, shelter from the wind, and moist, well-draining soil. Space citrus trees far enough apart to allow for the full size, in both width and height. Plant new citrus trees on the south side of your landscape or near structures in regions of Florida that may experience freezes, according to the University of Florida.

Step 2

Plan to plant new citrus trees in Florida in spring to allow the root systems enough time to become established before cold weather arrives. In southern areas of the Sunshine State, you can plant citrus trees at any time, but spring plantings are still suggested for these regions. Dig a planting hole two times the width of the citrus tree's rootball, and the same depth.

Step 3

Carefully remove the new citrus tree from its container. Inspect the root system, and cut off any damaged or broken roots you find. Cut the roots vertically in a number of spots, if the roots are bound or twisted. Place the tree in a bucket filled with water for an hour before planting.

Step 4

Set the citrus tree in the center of the hole and spread out the roots. Check the height, and remove (or add) soil to the hole until the bud union is above ground level. Planting the new citrus tree a little higher than it was planted in the container will allow for settling. Backfill the hole until it is half full, and then gently firm soil to eliminate air pockets. Finish filling the hole, and pat down the soil again.

Step 5

Create a ring (out of leftover soil) wider than the actual planting hole surrounding the citrus tree for watering. Pile up dirt 6 inches high and wide that forms a barrier. Saturate with water to allow the new citrus tree to settle in place. Add additional dirt, if you can see the rootball of the citrus tree after watering.

Step 6

Add a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch in a 3-foot diameter around the new citrus tree, but do not put any mulch near the trees trunk. The mulch deters weeds from emerging, keeps the soil temperatures lower and retains moisture longer.

Step 7

Wait 14 days after planting to apply citrus fertilizer to the tree. Follow the directions provided on the label and saturate with water afterward. Florida citrus trees require additional fertilizer applications every six weeks up to October.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not add any fertilizer to the planting hole for the new citrus tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Mulch
  • Citrus fertilizer


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide: Site Selection
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide: Young Tree Care
  • Citrus Tree Care: Planting a Citrus Tree

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide
  • National Gardening Association: Citrus
  • Citrus Tree Care: Introduction
Keywords: plant citrus trees, grow Florida citrus, Florida citrus trees

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.