How to Care for Your Citrus Trees


Citrus trees are so simple to grow that in colder climates, where they will not withstand winter frosts or freezing temperatures, the plants can be grown in containers. Container citrus are easy to care for and will provide fruit just as a full-sized citrus tree will. Although you can plant citrus seeds to obtain a tree, your tree will bear fruit more quickly if you plant a grafted tree. Trees grown from seed may take up to 20 years to bear fruit.

Step 1

Pull the tree out of it's container and place it in a bucket of water to moisten the roots.

Step 2

Fill a container with a potting mix made of 2 parts sand, 1 part peat moss and 1 part compost. Citrus trees do not like wet feet, and this mixture will drain well.

Step 3

Select a container that can be moved indoors easily in winter. Citrus trees grow well in a 20-gallon container or half of a whiskey barrel that can be put on casters.

Step 4

Fill the container with potting soil up to the brim. Do not leave space at the top of the container for water to collect in.

Step 5

Dig a planting pocket for the tree that is slightly shallower than the tree's root ball. Place the tree in the container, and close the soil around the root ball.

Step 6

Check the tree's soil daily, and water so that the soil remains as damp as a wrung-out sponge.

Step 7

Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10) over the surface of the soil once per year according to package directions.

Step 8

Move your plant outdoors in summer to a location that receives between 8 and 10 hours of sun.

Step 9

Prune limbs to maintain the tree's balanced shape, and remove any fast-growing limbs that outgrow the top of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • 20-gallon container
  • Plant casters
  • Garden trowel
  • Balanced, slow-release granulated fertilizer
  • Limb pruners


  • Texas A&M University Extension: Growing Citrus in Patio Containers
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide - Young Tree Care

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M Extension: Growing your own citrus
Keywords: growing citrus trees, raising fruit trees, container trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."