Growing Citrus Trees in Containers! 🍋🌿// Garden Answer

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hey guys how's it going today's video is

a care guide on how to grow citrus fruit

in containers and this applies to any

citrus fruit in a container whether or

not you live in a mild enough climate to

keep it out year-round or whether you're

keeping it inside year-round or if

you're like me I live in a climate

that's too cold to keep it out during

the winter so it comes in for the winter

months and then it lives outside from

late spring through usually early fall

so I've outlined this guide into eight

different points we're gonna be talking

about how to choose the best type of

container what type of soil to use how

to plant them what kind of like to keep

them in what temperatures best and how

to transition them from inside to

outside in spring and fall also about

watering fertilizing and pollination and

harvest but first I do want to mention

that citrus trees that you're planting

in containers will naturally not grow as

big as they would in the ground and

that's a good thing because for those of

us who are moving our citrus inside and

outside and around throughout the year

we wanted to stay a manageable size I

don't want something that gets so big

that I can no longer move it anymore so

when we plant anything whether it's a

citrus tree or any other plant in a


we're just restricting where the roots

can grow it can't spread out like it

would normally in the ground so they'll

just stay a little bit smaller but you

can find citrus trees that have been

grafted onto dwarf root stock which

means that root stock will keep the

plant portion of the tree smaller but it

won't restrict the size of the fruit the

fruit will still get the normal size

today I'm planting this Meyer lemon tree

in this container this is not a door if

it's an actual tree that wants to grow

about 13 to 15 feet tall and wide which

in the world of trees it's pretty small

but for a container that's massive and

you know if I were to keep bumping up

the container size to where it had a ton

of root room for the roots to grow and I

had the ability to take it inside and

outside at that size it might reach that

size but it's just not possible in our

area because I can't get that big of a

plant through our doors and I won't

probably bump up that much more in

container size I might do one or two

sizes more but they do really well with

restricted root room for quite a number

of years so let's talk about point

number one and that's about choosing

your container and you can pretty much

choose any container that suits your

style so long as it has good drainage so

if you notice that your pot only has one

tiny little drain hole in the bottom you

might think about drilling a few more

and I'll talk about it in the watering

section but citrus trees can be a little

bit picky about water

and soil drainage and root aeration are

key to success with your citrus trees if

you have to move your citrus from inside

to outside plastic or something

lightweight is really nice

it also helps retain a little bit of

moisture which I find helpful when your

plants outside because there's just

subject to more elements or subject to

wind we have very dry heat here I am

using terracotta because that's my style

I like this look of container and I know

that it's porous so it's going to be

passing oxygen in and out through the

sides of the container and I know it's

gonna dry out a little bit quicker but

if you know that and you know to give

your citrus extra water then you're okay

also choose a container that's a little

bit taller than it is wide because it'll

help keep your citrus tree more balanced

as it grows it'll have more of an anchor

system as opposed to if you chose a big

wide shallow container as that plant

grows it's just going to have a harder

time staying upright and one last thing

is if you buy your citrus tree in a

black plastic nursery pot you want to

get it repotted out of that as quickly

as possible especially if you're keeping

it outside in a sunny spot because that

black plastic will absorb heat and can

cook the roots during the hot part of

summer point number two is soil you can

go a couple different routes with this

I've tried both of them many times with

success it depends on what container

you're using what kind of material it is

if you go with terracotta that tends to

dry out quicker I like to use a spoon of

potting mix because it does help hold on

to a little bit more moisture so it

doesn't dry out completely really fast

and citrus while they like to stay on

the dry side they don't want to dry out

completely between waterings if you go

with something like plastic that tends

to retain more moisture you can use

something like vs Woma cactus mix which

helps facilitate a little bit more

drainage and I find that the combination

for both of those types of pots with

those types of soil works really well

point number three is on planting and

this is pretty basic so I'm going to

show you how I do it so first I'm going

to add some potting soil to the


so I added just enough potting soil to

where I think I can still accommodate

the root ball of my lemon tree but

before I plant it I want to add in my

slow release fertilizer incorporating it

into the soil and I'm adding some citrus

tone which is a fertilizer geared

towards citrus trees it has the right

balance of nutrients and I'm just

following the instructions on the label

so it says when you're planting a brand

new container to incorporate about two

cups of the fertilizer into one cubic

foot of soil I only used about half of a

cubic foot of soil so I'm only gonna mix

in about a cup so now I'm just gonna mix

the fertilizer in all the way to the

bottom of the container fertilizers all

mixed in so now I'm going to push some

of the soil along the sides of the

container here and kind of create a well

in the center I'm kind of looking at the

size of the root ball and I'm going to

try to create a well that's

approximately the same size as the root

ball it'll make planting a lot easier so

one thing you do want to look out for if

you're planting a grafted citrus tree

that's been grafted onto dwarf root

stock you want to look for that graft

union on the trunk and you want to make

sure and it looks like a bump or a scar

along the trunk of the plant they're

pretty easy to identify you just want to

make sure that that stays up above the

soil level so what I'm going to do is

pop the lemon tree out of the container

and I'm going to try to Center the trunk

as close to Center as I can in this

container so I'm actually going to

remove a little bit of the soil on this

side because that'll help me Center it

in the container a little bit better all

right and then I'm going to take the

soil that I pushed up along the sides of

the container and I'm going to tamp it

in around the root ball and it's really

at this point I might add a little bit

of extra soil we just want to make it

kind of we don't want to bury it any

deeper than it was buried in this pot

here but I want to make sure that their

soil tamped in really well around the

whole root ball so there's no air

pockets you also want to leave a good

inch or two lip along the top of the

soil from the top of the pot that way it

makes watering a lot easier a little bit

more soil the fourth point is lighting

and they like a lot of sunshine like a

minimum of 8 to 12 hours per day and

it'll be a little bit different based on

whether you're keeping them inside or

outside so for those of you who are


inside it's best if you can put them in

the brightest window you have so like a

south-facing window where they can get

Sun for the better part of the day is a

really ideal you do need to remember to

rotate that rotate them on occasion so

that all sides of the plant are

receiving the same amount of light to

keep them the happiest in the wintertime

like when I bring mine in for the winter

a supplemental lighting is also very

helpful because you know Sun isn't as

intense a lot of times we don't have

windows that will supply enough light

for the plant so if you have a smaller

citrus tree like this you could do

something like we installed recently a

bamboo LED grow light garden in our

master bedroom actually where I winter

plants over and that would accommodate

citrus tree this size and maybe even a

little bit bigger but there are other

options available for larger plants like

you can get drop pendant lighting I

think one is called aspect lighting and

it's a drop pendant light that you can

put above like a single plant that's

really large that will provide it with

that light that it needs if you are

keeping your citrus outside though like

in the summer time I find that morning

Sun is really good for my citrus and

then filtered light throughout the

afternoon just because we have such dry

intense heat through the summer it tends

to scorch their leaves if they stay out

in too much so I find having a really

strong block of morning light and then

that filtered sunshine is really great

if you live in a more mild climate

though that gets more humidity and has

cloud cover and maybe some rain coming

down which is really not typical of our

summers here you might be able to keep

them in a more full Sun location

throughout the whole day so it's just

something that you may have to adjust

based on where you're keeping it and

what your climates like and point number

five kind of goes hand in hand with

lighting I want to talk about

temperature and then how to transition

your plant from inside to outside in the

spring or fall in terms of temperature

and light so typically most of your

citrus trees can handle temps down to 32

degrees I do not like to chance it like

that usually my indicator when the temp

reaches about 40 degrees outside that's

when I know I have a little window to

get all of my tender plants inside and

that way I'm not running around in a

panic trying to get everything in

because it's a good idea to have time to

clean your plants before you bring them

in inspecting for insects you know give

them a good shower with the hose wash

their leaves off

maybe repot if you need to so I'd like

to have that little window and also

getting down to close to freezing that

can cause some damage as well so usually

40 degrees is kind of my cutoff and then

I start bringing them inside you do want

to acclimate them slowly though so if

you can move them from your sunny

location to you know a spot that's maybe

not quite as sunny you know something

that emulates inside conditions a little

bit more like a covered patio for maybe

a week so that when you move it inside

it's not totally shocked that's a really

good idea same thing goes in the spring

when the temperatures have warmed up

enough if you can put it outside for a

week 10 days underneath a covered patio

where it gets filtered light and then

slowly move it like a foot or two you


the consecutive days after that first

week until it reaches its full Sun

location you'll deal with a lot less

shock because they tend to shock when

you move them I mean you've bought it

might have bought a citrus plant at a

store your garden center you get at home

and it just drops a bunch of leaves

that's kind of typical of citrus trees

but if you can acclimate them slowly

you'll get a lot less of that and you

won't get scorched because if you put

your citrus tree from inside where it's

much more protected right out into full

Sun you're gonna have some burned leaves

and it's a total pain I'm not gonna lie

to have to transition plants and

acclimate them it's like hardening off

seedlings something you have to remember

to do if you have it in a heavy pot it's

harder to do so it's a good idea when

you get it like from inside your house

you bring it outside put it on a caster

that has wheels so that it's easy for

you to move it from one location to the

next you know moving it out into more

light so you're not having to physically

pick up your container every single time

to move it and that makes the process a

lot more pleasant point number six is

watering and this could probably be one

of the more frustrating things because

citrus are more picky like I said

earlier they don't like to dry out

completely but they do like to stay on

the dry side they don't like overly wet

soil because they can root rot really

quickly but they do need consistent

moisture for fruit development so it's

one of those things that's so hard to

tell like exactly how much water to give

or when to give it because it's so

dependent on so many different factors

like what size your plant is what type

of pot you use what type of soil you use

what kind of weather is it subject to is

it getting rain or is it totally dry or

is it getting wind

dried out too quick so the best thing to

do the best thing I can tell you to do

is just monitor the soil moisture and

you can do that easily with a really

cheap moisture meter that you can buy it

the garden center you can also use a

wooden skewer or a wood chopstick it's a

really easy thing to do you just stick

it down in the soil let it sit for just

a second pull it back up and you can see

how much water has absorbed into that

wood skewer

if the soil it seems dry and the soil

just kind of like dust right off of that

skewer it's probably time to water

typically I wait for the top inch or so

of soil to dry out and then I know to

water it when you do go into water you

want to make sure to give enough to

water and saturate the whole root zone

of the plant if any collects in the

saucer underneath if you have it on the

saucer you do want to make sure to pour

that out because you don't want it

sitting and wicking up extra moisture

and the seventh point is fertilizing

which is really important because when

you have containerized plants of any


the only nutrients they're getting is

what you give to them and when you have

something that you want to both bloom

and fruit you need to make sure that

they're getting enough nutrients so I

use a fertilizer that's specific to

citrus plants because it's formulated

for their specific needs and I just

follow the instructions on the bag

typically though as a general guideline

you want to give them a dose of

fertilizer about january/february right

before they start to bloom and that'll

help them bloom better and then you can

give them another dose in like May June

right after they're done blooming and

that'll help give them more energy to

produce their fruit and then if you're

bringing them inside giving them a fall

dose of fertilizer is also really good

if you are keeping them outside though

it's may be a good idea to skip the fall

application because you don't want them

putting on extra foliar growth right

before a cold winter because that tender

growth is really susceptible to frost

damage if you live in a tropical mild

climate though where that doesn't happen

you can go ahead and give the fall dose

now that is just for the slow release

granulated fertilizer that I use today

so I mixed it into the container today

the next fertilizer it'll get is in the

fall when I bring it in there is liquid

fertilizer you can use as well which is

a little bit more of a quick shot of

nutrients so you have to give it more

often like every 2 to 4 weeks

typically with the slow release it's

just 2 to 3 applications a year and it's

really easy all you do is take the

diameter of the pot and for every four

inches a day

you use one teaspoon of fertilizer so

with an 18-inch pot I think you use four

and a half teaspoons I think my math is

right on that

anyway it's super easy you just sprinkle

it around the edge of the pot and water

it in and so I find that to be a nice

slow feed to the plant and then I don't

have to be remembering to fertilize it

all the time point number eight is about

pollination and harvest so most citrus

trees are self fruitful or self

pollinating meaning you only need one

variety of tree in order to get fruit

you know a lot of fruit trees like apple

trees and pear trees and things like

that you need two variety is in order

for them to cross pollinate in order for

them to bear fruit there's only a

handful of varieties of citrus that

require that so just check the tag this

Meyer lemon is a self-fruitful tree so I

only need the one even though I do have

a lime and another pink lemonade

lemonade here on our property so even if

that wasn't the case I would have enough

for this to bear fruit so with most

citrus trees they start to bloom in

early to mid spring and then they start

setting their fruit which this one has

lemons all over it and they'll sit and

they'll size up throughout the course of

the summer and then you start harvesting

usually late fall and winter and the

best way to to determine rightness is to


the rhein will tell you nothing as to

whether or not it's sweet enough or it's

ready and the best way to store your

fruit is just to leave them on the tree

and use them as you need them and that

is my guide on how to take care of

citrus and containers I've done it for

many many years with really really great

success now I did not touch on insects I

haven't dealt with a lot of insect pests

I find that if you can put them out in

the summer time you deal with a lot less

insects because they have really good

airflow outside they're getting the

light they need so they're not stressed

so the least the least stressed you can

keep your plant the less susceptible

they are to getting attacked by any kind

of insect I had will say that I have had

a lemon tree get spider mites before and

mealy bugs I treat the spider mites with

some derivative of neem so some neem

based spray and that usually takes care

of them I'm usually with container

plants pretty quick to find any problem

starting and I think that's key to

really keep your eye on all of your

plants and that way if you notice a

problem starting you can take care of it

right away before it becomes a

full-blown issue and mealy bugs are

super easy as well you just take a q-tip

in rubbing alcohol and just wipe them

off and that's something you don't want

to have take hold either so just keep

your eye on your plants so that nothing

becomes a super huge problem so anyway

guys I hope this video was helpful I'm

excited to see how this lemon does

throughout this season and I hope I get

lots of really great fruit off of it

this year we will be updating you on it

as we go so thanks so much for watching

this video and we will see you in the

next one bye