How to Grow Grapefruit Trees


Grapefruit trees are planted for their zesty fruit, but they also provide year-round evergreen color. Grapefruits are one of the largest of the citrus fruits. Some are pink-fleshed and some are white-fleshed, but that's where the differences end. They both may have seeds or may not, depending on the variety. Those with seeds have a richer flavor, but seedless are preferred because they are easy to eat. Grapefruit trees need very hot summers to produce the best fruit yield. Thus, they are usually grown in California, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

Step 1

Choose a planting location that has good sunlight exposure. Grapefruit trees also do well when planted near a south-facing wall because the wall reflects heat and sunlight. This will result in sweeter fruit.

Step 2

Check the soil to make sure it drains well. Grapefruit tree roots grow deep and need to have good surface and internal drainage. If you're not sure, dig a narrow hole about 4 feet deep. Fill it with water. It should drain out within 24 to 36 hours. If it takes longer than 48 hours, choose a different location to plant the grapefruit tree.

Step 3

Examine the newly purchased grapefruit tree. If you notice any broken or diseased stems, prune them off to the point where they meet healthy wood. Snip off small shoots that are growing beneath the graft.

Step 4

Dig a hole that is 1 1/2 times as wide as the root mass. Make it the same depth as the roots, so that the tree sits the same height it did at the nursery. Use the nursery container as a guide to determine exact hole size.

Step 5

Place the tree in the hole and fill in around the roots with half of the removed soil. Water to break down air pockets. Continue filling the hole, adding an extra 1 inch to the top of the roots. This will protect the roots from drying out from the air above.

Step 6

Water grapefruit trees two to three times the first week. After that, cut down to one to two times per week. The exact amount depends on rainfall and the temperature.

Step 7

Use the touch test to determine when to water the grapefruit tree after the first month. If you notice it dry 1 inch into the ground, add more water.

Step 8

Control weeds to ensure good growth of grapefruit trees. Pull up all grass and weeds for several feet around the tree trunk. As the tree matures, widen the weed-free zone to just past the canopy above.

Step 9

Fertilize grapefruit trees every four to six weeks between February and August. Use a food that is suitable for edible fruit. Water after fertilizing to encourage the food to reach the roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not worry about mixing compost, topsoil or peat in with the local soil. Do not plant grapefruits near septic tank lines because the roots may eventually clog them. Avoid buying grapefruit trees that have raised bumps or white spots. This indicates scale insects.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Grapefruit tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer


  • Texas A&M: Home Fruit Production: Citrus
  • Pick Texas Citrus: Caring for Citrus Trees
Keywords: grow grapefruit tree, plant a grapefruit tree, grapefruit tree

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.