Top 10 Tips to Grow Citrus Plants Indoors
Many people assume that citrus plants are meant to be grown outdoors. Or they are a product of only warm climates. But that’s not the case. There are a lot of citrus varieties that can be grown in cold climates and indoors too (which are not too big in size). You would be amazed to learn that people in northern climates have been growing citrus indoors since the 17th century. Growing citrus indoors can be very challenging yet rewarding. The scent, aroma, and attractiveness of citrus plants is something that makes them popular. So, if you are confused about whether you can grow citrus plants indoors or not. Here are a few tips that will help you grow healthy and beautiful citrus plants indoors.
Give Them Access to Ample Sunlight
When growing citrus plants indoors, the biggest mistake you can make is not choosing the right location for your plant. Find a place where the plants can get plenty of sunlight. Citrus plants depend a lot on sunlight to grow well. Ideally, they would need around eight to twelve hours of sunlight for healthy growth. However, a minimum of six hours of sunlight is compulsory for them. You can also use a supplement for light. This would help especially during winters. Use full spectrum grow lights and soon you will have healthy citrus plants right in your backyard.
Good Drainage is Important
If you are thinking of pots to grow your plants, avoid buying “self-watering” pots. As drainage is very crucial for citrus plants. Any pot with small drainage holes or with saucers would not work well for growing citrus plants. So, you can go for pots such as terra-cotta containers that how air movement and effective drainage benefits for your plants.
Give Them Enough Room to Grow
Ideally, for small trees, a 12-inch diameter container is what you need to start with. Then, you can shift those pots to an 18 or 24-inch deep container with double the width. You have to give your plants enough space to grow. For that, you would have to change the size of the container as per their growing stage. It is advisable to replace the container every two to three years.
Remember to Prune Them Regularly
It would be beneficial for your plants if you do the pruning twice a year. That way, you can even constrain the size of the roots of your plants if you don’t want to transplant them. So, you won’t have to replace the container of your plant with a bigger size after a few years. Just use the fresh soil within the same container and your plants will be fine.
Allow Them to Get Dry
You don’t have to keep the plant moist all the time. The soil should be halfway down the pot when the plant is in its active growth phase. So, before watering the plants, make sure the soil is almost at the bottom. Pay attention to the soil. It should not be moist on a consistent basis. Or else it will start affecting the growth and development of the plant.
Proper Watering Should be Your Priority
“Water with care”, that should be your motto. The aim is to soak the soil in the container. And the water should come out of the drainage holes at the bottom. If the water sits in the container, it will make a puddle. And that could rot your plant’s roots.
Use The Right Soil Mix
Root systems of citrus are weak. So you have to pay attention to the soil mix that you intend to use. The soil should be rich in nutrients. This will help the optimal growth of your citrus plants. Make sure to avoid mixing sand to the soil. As that will have a bad drainage ability. And that won’t be good for your plants. Adding pumice or perlite to the potting soil can be the best option as it will have better drainage.
Fertilizing Regularly Will Help Your Plants
Fertilize your plants approx. one or two times a month during their active growth period. This period normally starts in March and ends in September. Use a citrus specific fertilizer. However, when citrus goes dormant (when the temperature is below 55 degrees), the fertilization strategies won’t work. So, make sure to control the temperature regularly to avoid your plants entering that dormant stage.
Protect Your Plants From Cold Weather
Although there are some exceptions, most citrus can not handle cold weather very well. Ideally, they can handle temperatures between 35-40 degrees. So, protect them from freezing temperatures. Or else they can lead to partial or complete defoliation.
Keep Your Citrus Safe From Pests
Spider mite, scale, and mealybug are some of the most common pest issues that can infest citrus plants. So, while buying the plant, look for a healthy pest-free plant. Keep checking the citrus regularly, especially the undersides of the leaves. It’s similar to buying dogs for protection where you need to be well aware of the breed and its characteristics or it might cost you breached security.
Fresh or homegrown citrus is not something reserved for people in tropical areas. You can also grow your favorite citrus plants in containers and enjoy their fruits and fragrance. Follow our guide and take proper care of your plants to reap the best results.
Meet the Author
Serena is an animal-lover and a great cook. She likes growing most of the herb in her own gardening. Maintaining a garden is one of her hobbies. Serena has also written a few books about gardening.Learn more