How to Grow a Citrus Tree Indoors

Overview

You can easily follow the idea that King Louis the XIV of France developed during his reign in the 17th century by growing citrus trees indoors. Citrus trees are subtropical, so they are sensitive to frost and temperatures that fall below freezing. You can overcome this environmental drawback by growing various types of citrus trees in a greenhouse or your own living room. Just make sure your citrus tree receives plenty of sunlight or artificial light.

Step 1

Purchase a dwarf or miniature variety of citrus tree. Transplant it from its nursery pot to a large pot that is at least 12 inches in diameter and has a drainage hole. Use an acidic potting soil.

Step 2

Fill a plant saucer with small pebbles and then place your tree on it next to a window or other area that receives full sun for at least 8 hours each day. If full sun is not possible, hang one full-spectrum fluorescent grow light above your plant and keep it burning for 12 hours each day, turning it off at night.

Step 3

Water your new tree until the water comes out of the pot's drainage hole. Four Winds Growers recommends 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of water every 5 to 7 days. Keep your soil moist, but not soggy, to avoid root rot and other problems.

Step 4

Maintain the room temperature at 65 F or higher for best results.

Step 5

Fertilize your indoor citrus tree with a special plant food designed for citrus. Professional growers suggest fertilizing indoor citrus once every 3 to 4 weeks. Follow label instructions for correct dilution and application of the plant food.

Step 6

Prune your citrus in winter to maintain a balanced, compact shape. Prune before blossoms begin to form so you won't lose any potential fruit.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with drainage hole(s)
  • Acidic potting soil
  • Plant saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Fluorescent grow light (optional)
  • Citrus fertilizer
  • Pruning shears

References

  • Four Winds Growers: Growing Citrus as Houseplants
  • Organic Bouquet: Miniature Lemon Tree Care Instructions

Who Can Help

  • Four Winds Growers: What Varieties Are Best for Indoor Growing?
Keywords: indoor fruit trees, indoor citrus growing, indoor gardening

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.