The Q&A Archives: Citrus Trees Not Blooming

Question: I planted seeds from grapefruits and lemons and have two very large trees in pots which I grow in the house during the winter and move to the garden in the warm months. Neither tree has ever blossomed. Is there any way to encourage blossoming?

Answer: You didn't say whether you fertilize. Citrus trees are heavy "feeders" and require regular fertilizer applications. Here?s some basic info on fertilizer and nutrients that plants require. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer bag refer to the percentage of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorous), and K (potassium) in the bag. There are different formulations for different purposes. In general terms, nitrogen produces lush green growth, phosphorous helps strengthen stems and produce flowers (and eventually fruit), and potassium keeps the root system healthy. If you're applying fertilizer to fruiting or flowering plants, you're not as interested in the plant developing leaves as you are in it flowers and fruit, so you'd use a formulation lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous, such as Miracle-Gro's Plant Food at 15-30-15. Bone meal is an organic source of phosphorous. However, citrus also requires plenty of nitrogen. If possible, find a fertilizer formulated for citrus, but that might be difficult in your area! Always water thoroughly before and after application to prevent burn. Finally, if one purchases a young citrus tree from a nursery, it still takes 3-5 years to bear fruit after being transplanted. You didn't say how old your trees are, but they might be right on schedule. I hope this info helps.

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