Care of Potted Citrus Plants

Overview

If you live in a warm climate, it will be easy for you to grow a citrus tree, either in a container or in the landscape. If you live in a climate that is cold enough to freeze during the winter, the only way you'll be able to grow a citrus is in a pot. Although caring for citrus in a pot isn't difficult, it requires a bit of extra effort to keep the tree at its leafy best. The results will be well worth the effort.

Step 1

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between watering, then water the citrus plant carefully. Sprinkle the soil slowly with a watering can until the soil is moist, but be careful not to overwater. With citrus, less water is better than more.

Step 2

Protect the citrus from freezing if the pot is outdoors, and remember that citrus planted in containers will freeze faster than those planted in the landscape. Bring the citrus indoors during cold weather, wrap it with black roofing paper, a tarp or a tree blanket. You can also put the citrus under portable lights.

Step 3

Prune about a third off the top of the citrus if it becomes too tall or leggy. Pruning the citrus will encourage it to branch out. Sometimes you may just need to trim the ends of the branches to keep the citrus well-shaped. Potted citrus generally grows to a height of 4 to 6 feet.

Step 4

Provide plenty of light for the citrus. A southern window with at least four hours of direct sunlight is best. If you can't provide adequate light, put the citrus under a florescent light or a grow light for a few hours each day.

Step 5

Put the citrus outdoors in warm weather if you want it to produce blossoms or fruit. Providing a little outdoor time for the plant is the best way to ensure that your citrus will be pollinated.

Step 6

Feed the citrus a high-quality fertilizer formulated specifically for citrus, preferably a slow-release fertilizer. Reduce the amount of fertilizer during the winter months. Check the label for specific instructions.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can
  • Time-release fertilizer for citrus

References

  • Container-Grown Citrus Plants
  • Growing Citrus Indoors
  • Harvesting Your Own Citrus
Keywords: growing citrus, container citrus, fertilizing citrus

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.