How to Fertilize Orange & Lemon Trees in Southern Florida


Fertilizing gives orange and lemon trees proper nutrition needed for growth. Orange and lemon trees need a balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen (n), phosphorus (p), and potassium (k) to grow properly in Southern Florida. In the summer and spring, the fertilizer should be 25n-15p-15k; the bag will read 25-15-15. In winter, they need equal portions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; the bag will have 20-20-20 written on it. Both of these fertilizers include low levels of boron for development of leaves, calcium and nitrogen for plant growth, copper for dieback, and iron for leaf development. The fertilizers also contain magnesium, manganese and molybdenum for proper leaf health and to prevent yellowing. Phosphorus is added to fertilizer to control brown spots on leaves, potassium is for fruit development, sulfur is for fruit color, and zinc is for prevention of premature leaf dropping.

Step 1

Remove mulch and debris from around the orange or lemon tree.

Step 2

Put on disposable gloves to avoid fertilizer coming in contact with the skin.

Step 3

Read directions on bag of fertilizer, along with all warnings and precautions.

Step 4

Prepare fertilizer according to the directions on the bag, using the measuring cup for proper measurements.

Step 5

Apply fertilizer around the orange or lemon plant as per directions on the bag. Do not put fertilizer at the base of the trunk to avoid burning the plant.

Step 6

Water lightly to prevent fertilizer from spreading to other trees as this type of fertilizer is not good for other types of trees.

Step 7

Store leftover fertilizer in a cool, dry and safe place away from children and animals. Dispose of gloves and cup in a plastic bag.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizers are harmful if swallowed and may cause skin irritation and eye irritation. If you get any fertilizer on your skin or in your eyes, wash the affected area immediately and continuously for 15 minutes. Call the poison control center if this does not solve the irritation. Avoid breathing dust as it can be harmful to the lungs and respiratory system. Fertilizers can stain concrete surfaces, so clean surfaces immediately if product gets on these surfaces.

Things You'll Need

  • Disposable gloves
  • Disposable measuring cup
  • Fertilizer


  • Growing Citrus; Martin Page; 2008
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide - Young Tree Care

Who Can Help

  • Citrus Growing in Florida; Fredrick S. Davies and Larry K. Jackson; 2009
Keywords: orange trees, lemon trees, fertilize, Florida citrus

About this Author

Katherine Bostick has been writing since 1993. She is a freelance writer and has written articles for both the 'Spectator' and the 'Crossties' newspapers. Bostick writes articles on educational topics, personal essays, health topics, current events, and more. Bostick performs copy editing and book review services as well as produces her own local newspaper in South Florida.