How to Grow Citrus Trees in Florida

Overview

Citrus trees flourish in the tropical and sub-tropical climate of Florida. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and kumquats are commonly grown throughout the state. All varieties of citrus offer an appealing shape, sweet smelling blossoms and tasty fruit. Florida's wonderfully temperate climate and occasional frost offer excellent citrus growing conditions for professional citrus growers or the home gardener. Coastal areas and around Lake Okeechobee rarely freeze and can offer an ideal climate for tender citrus varieties. Other areas require hardier citrus choices.

Step 1

Choose either self-fertile citrus trees or plant two trees that complement each other to work as pollenizers. When planting two trees together, consider the bloom time. Bloom times must overlap each other on both trees to successfully work as pollenizers. Citrus trees are commonly grafted together on one trunk to work as self-pollenizers. Two-in-one trees help save on space in a garden setting that only has room for one citrus tree.

Step 2

Choose a location that offers full sun to plant a citrus tree within. In Florida the south-facing yard is usually an ideal spot that affords ample sunlight to the trees. If the citrus variety that is being cultivated is extremely cold-sensitive, consider planting the tree beside a fence, house or outbuilding. During the day the sun's heat will warm the building and help keep the tree warm during the night.

Step 3

Plant citrus trees in the spring to establish a strong root growth structure before cold winter time weather arrives. In Florida citrus trees can be planted year-round successfully but the ideal time remains the spring for established growth.

Step 4

Dig the potting hole for the citrus tree twice as large as the root ball of the tree. Remove all weed growth around the tree's planting site. Check the potted citrus tree to make sure it is not root-bound. If there is an overabundance of roots twisted together within the pot, take a large knife and make several vertical cuts through the roots to loosen them before planting. Soak the potted tree roots of the citrus tree for one hour in bucket of water prior to planting.

Step 5

Place the tree in the newly dug hole. Keep the bud union of the tree above the soil level. The bud union of a citrus tree should never be planted below the soil level. If the bud union is below the soil level the tree is in danger of contracting a wide variety of fungal infections. Try to gently spread the roots out around the hole.

Step 6

Fill the hole in with the garden soil. Firmly press the soil around the trees root systems to remove any air pockets and to make sure the tree is firmly rooted into the ground. Water the tree thoroughly.

Step 7

Fertilize the tree two to three weeks after planting. Use a fertilizer that is an 8-8-8 mixture for citrus trees. Make sure the fertilizer also contains magnesium, manganese, copper and boron. Citrus fertilizers are sold at garden centers and home improvement stores. Apply 1/2 pound around the base of the tree and water thoroughly. Do not allow the fertilizer to touch the trees trunk. Fertilize the citrus tree every six weeks using the same mixture listed above.

Things You'll Need

  • Citrus fertilizer 8-8-8 with magnesium, manganese, copper and boron
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Shovel
  • Large knife

References

  • University Of Florida IFAS: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide - Site Selection
  • University Of Florida IFAS: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide - Selecting A Citrus Tree for Your Climate
  • University Of Florida IFAS: Fertilizing Citrus Trees

Who Can Help

  • Purdue University New Crops And Plant Products: Citrus
Keywords: Florida citrus, caring for Florida citrus, growing Florida citrus

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.