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Potting Soil for Citrus Trees

Chinotto image by Desiree Müller from

Having a citrus tree is great fun. Picking fresh citrus from your own tree is a treat that doesn’t have to be reserved for gardeners in hot climates. Growing citrus trees in pots is a great way to get the fresh fruits and a great way to brighten a patio or sun room. Close attention to potting soil is the first step in ensuring healthy container-grown citrus trees.

Soil Structure

Soil for citrus trees should be moist, lean and well-drained. It should contain adequate amounts of organic matter to hold moisture and nutrients. Also, there should be light enough to allow for drainage so the roots don't become waterlogged.

Soil pH

Your citrus tree will need a neutral to slightly alkaline soil—about 6.0-8.0 pH. Most potting mixes will naturally be in the neutral pH range, so amendment for pH should not be necessary.


Citrus trees require moderately fertile soil. Overfertilization results in abundant foliage growth at the expense of flowering and fruiting. Container-grown citrus will still need regular fertilization because nutrients wash out of the soil quickly with frequent watering.


Prepare a mixture of 2/3 good quality, light potting soil and 1/3 loamy garden soil. Adding the garden loam enhances the water-retaining properties of the potting mix and holds nutrients for plant health. Placing a piece of bronze or nylon screening over the hole in the pot keeps soils from washing out during watering.


Potted citrus trees require regular watering because of evaporation. Don’t let the soil dry out. Water when the top inch of the soil becomes dry. Constant watering and fertilization will result in a build-up of salts and minerals as water evaporates from the soil, resulting in plant failure. Every other year or so, replace the soil in the container with a new mix, moving the plant to a larger container if necessary.

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