Tips On Growing Citrus Indoors Zone 7 or Lower

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The idea of indoor citrus trees and growing them, it’s not something many of us thing of. We never think of citrus like and orange tree, Meyer lemon tree or lime as an indoor plant.

As a Florida native, citrus has always been a common site, growing up and still is to this day.

From using orange juice in smoothies, eating grapefruits, putting lime juice on tacos (try it) or adding lemons and limes to my quacamole, citrus is a staple fruit around our house. In fact, my brother-in-law has a commercial grove in SW Florida.

In the video below Patricia Boudier of Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, talks about planting and growing citrus indoors for those who live in growing USDA cold hardiness zone 7 or lower.

 

Here are some of the highlights she’ll cover.

  • Best Varieties for growing indoors
  • What kind of lighting they require for growing and setting fruit trees
  • The best light exposure to grow citrus fruits indoors
  • Potting tips
  • Pot size
  • Well-drained soil mixture
  • Best watering practices when re-potting and growing indoors
  • Humidity indoors
  • When to repot
  • Growing outside during the warmer months
  • When to move your citrus indoors for the winter
  • Controlling shape through pruning

A well done video!

Read on to learn more about growing lemon tree zone 7.

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Reviving A Ponderosa Lemon

The “green movement” has helped grow the interest in window gardens to such a point many indoor gardeners have become specialists in various kinds of house plants – but this is not new.

Fruited plants like citrus make ideal subjects for specialization. They have excellent foliage, and many have aromatic flowers as well as an attractive crop of fruit.

Years ago I received a sickly specimen of ponderosa lemon. She said she had tried growing it but all it did was shed leaves and look unattractive.

The plant was indeed a sorry object. It was about eight inches tall, and had only the remnants of a few leaves perched atop a barren structure.

When inquiring about the soil used in potting the plant, it was learned that my friend had put it in some “dirt” from the garden, and was not careful about watering it. If it had blossomed she probably would have been more interested in it.

Acid Soil a Need

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Determined to revive this cold hardy pathetic-looking plant, I made some inquiries, and learned that it required an acid soil.

After mixing a rich soil for the plant, and giving it a good drink of water. The leaves soon perked up, and took on a sheen. In a few days new leaves began sprouting along the barren stem.

A new leaf on a citrus shrub is a delightful creation. It is about the loveliest green imaginable, soft and a bit crinkled. As the plant expanded it became a beauty; at Christmas I was rewarded with two heavily-scented blossoms.

However, I was a bit disappointed when they fell off without producing any lemons. When it blossomed again in February, was determined to find out why no fruit had set.

 

Hand Pollination Necessary

Further investigation revealed that hand pollination was essential indoors if ones wants to have some assurance of decorative lemons to adorn a small tree. The operation is very simple.

The female blossom is easily distinguished by the long stigma protruding from inside the flower. It is a simple trick to place some of the pollen from another blossom on this stigma.

In a few days you can discern the small lemon forming. The lemons on this species grow so large that you may wonder how the tiny shrub can support them. They are produced to some extent all during the year.

The heaviest fruiting comes in the early Fall after the plant has summered in the garden. Often there will be flowers as well as green and ripe fruit on the same plant. The blooms emit an exotic aroma.

I keep my lemon plant growing in a relatively small-sized pot, and fertilize it every two weeks. If the tips of the branches are clipped, the plant will grow in a more symmetrical manner.

Other Citrus Plants

I recently added a dwarf lime tree to my collection of fruited plants; they grow well under the same cultivation program used for the lemons.

Eventually, they produce a thin-skinned, round, green fruit. My plant is too young to start flowering this Winter, but I am looking forward to seeing pretty blossoms and fruit on it next Summer.

Citrus plants can be easily grown from seeds, but it is unlikely that the plants would ever flower or set fruit. To make a plant produce fruit, a grafting scion must be imported from a citrus-producing state.

In fact, it is better to buy the established potted plants from a nursery.

Growing a lemon indoors has been great fun and an easy way to have a little of the tropics indoors all year round.

Picking Citrus Lemon Fruit By December

Question: I’m growing a Meyer lemon in a container with lemons on it, but not totally ripe. When should I trim and at what time of year?

Answer: By the end of December, remove all lemons even if you think they are not ripe. If they stay on the tree too long they can interrupt next season’s fruit production and the fruit might get a bit pithy if left on too long.

After removing the fruit, prune the tree as needed. Citrus does not require much pruning. Prune to control size control, remove crossing or damaged branches, open the canopy for more light penetration inside and maintain limbs at good fruiting angles. Remove branches going straight up, straight down, too close together or overly vigorous.

Image: Lemon Joe Shlabotnik
Source: xtremehorticulture