Looking for a new challenge? Get the lowdown on growing citrus fruit at home!
If growing lemons, lime, kumquats, grapefruit or oranges in the UK is definitely toward the deep end of the horticultural pool, enthusiastic gardeners should take comfort in the fact that if successful, there can be fantastic yields with a really impressive taste.
Position- Where to plant citrus trees
Citrus trees need plenty of sunlight- they’re designed for Mediterranean climates that provide consistent warm sunlight for many hours per day for much of the year. To emulate this you’ll need to prioritise sunlight in your positioning of your citrus trees. However, don’t go for too exposed a spot- wind can dry out your moisture-loving trees, so keep it fairly sheltered.
You will need to provide your citrus plants with fertiliser compost when planting, mulching to reduce moisture loss and prevent cooler temperatures taking a toll. Remember citrus trees (predictably) prefer acidic environments, so choose suitable fertilisers. There are plenty of specialist citrus fertilisers available. Add small amounts of citrus high-nitrogen fertilisers when watering.
Pests & problems
Diseases and conditions:
Alternaria brown spot
Greasy spot fungus
Honeydew, sooty mould & scale (see pests)
Feeding & watering citrus trees
Citrus trees need plenty of water- give them regular watering in summer, preferably with added nutrients. They’ll need less in winter, when the plants do less growing and produce no fruit, though you’ll need to ensure they get plenty of warmth and light in these colder months.
Citrus trees require excellent nutrition. They have complex nutritional requirements which should be catered for to ensure good yields and a healthy plant. The nutrients your citrus tree most requires include nitrogen, iron, zinc, and manganese. Ensure any feed you use favours these minerals, or even better is formulated for citrus.
Growth and development
As your citrus tree develops, control the growth of shoots to prevent heavily overcrowded branches. The plants are fully fertile and should be able to produce fruit themselves. They have small, pretty flowers that makes them an attractive house plant in their own right. The fruit will not need picking immediately, and can last on the tree for some time.