How to Grow a Grapefruit Tree


Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is an evergreen, tropical fruit tree thought to be native to the Caribbean. Grapefruit trees are the offspring of the Pummelo and Orange, according to Purdue University. Trees grow best in the warm, subtropical climates within USDA planting zones 9 and 10. Quite a few cultivars produce pink, red or white flesh, with trees bearing fruit in approximately five years. Grapefruit trees average anywhere from 15 to 45 feet in height. Growing a grapefruit tree is relatively basic, and gardeners not only add an attractive tree to their landscape, but also reap the rewards of delicious, homegrown fruit.

Step 1

Select an area in your landscape situated in full sun. In cooler areas within planting zone 9, you should plant the grapefruit tree on the south or west sides of the house, as these are the warmest locations.

Step 2

Grow the grapefruit tree in an unamended, well-draining soil medium, such as sand, that is acidic. Alkaline soils benefit from the addition of lime to the planting site. Work it into the soil per the package instructions.

Step 3

Clear an area approximately 3 feet in diameter free of unwanted vegetation. Removing grass or weeds lessen the possibility of lawn equipment such as weed eaters damaging the grapefruit's trunk. Maintain a weed-free area while the grapefruit is living there.

Step 4

Remove the grapefruit from its container and inspect the roots for any wrapping. Cut through the root system with pruning shears to release the wrapping roots.

Step 5

Fill a bucket with water. Place the root ball into the bucket allowing it to soak while the hole is prepared. It is best to plant grapefruit trees after wetting their roots.

Step 6

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the tree's root ball and as deep as the tree is growing inside its container. Place the tree into the hole situating it in a direction that is appealing to the eye.

Step 7

Backfill the hole halfway with soil and firm up by stepping on the soil. Water the hole and allow the water to settle before continuing filling. Fill the remainder of the hole with soil and firm up the area again.

Step 8

Create a 4-inch high mound around the perimeter of the grapefruit tree. Water has a tendency to run off the top layer of soil such as sand before it leaches down. The mound creates a water barrier that holds the water in place around the tree.

Step 9

Water the tree immediately after planting, allowing the water to sink down to the roots. Water the tree two times per week, depending on your local weather conditions.

Step 10

Fertilize the grapefruit tree two to three weeks after planting with a light application of a citrus blend. Fertilize every six weeks, stopping the application during the months of October through February. Do not allow the fertilizer to butt against the trunk.

Step 11

Prune the grapefruit tree to remove only dead wood or branches that are crossing. Citrus trees do not require pruning and grow best left in a natural state.

Things You'll Need

  • Lime
  • Rake
  • Pruning shears
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Loppers


  • Purdue University: Grapefruit
  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide-Site Selection
  • University of Florida: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus-Young Tree Care
  • The United States National Arboretum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: growing grapefruit trees, planting grapefruit trees, growing grapefruit citrus, growing citrus trees

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.