The Q&A Archives: Leaves Are Falling Off My Valencia Orange

Question: I bought my 5 gallon-valencia orange on Sunday, March 9,03. The plant still looks perfect today, but somehow there are a lot leaves falling from it.
I would like to know how to stop it. Note that I have it like a house plant. I water it well, even spray it with water, and put it right to a bright spot.
Please respond as soon as possible.
Thank you.

Answer: Since you've only recently acquired your citrus tree I suspect it's going through a period of adjustment to its new surroundings. Your tree was used to a certain amount of light and humidity when it lived at the nursery, and things have changed enough for it to begin showing its distress. It should adjust in a few weeks and regain its health. In the meantime, here are some basic hints for success with citrus:

Citrus trees can be grown as container plants year round. You will need to bring them indoors each winter to either a cool greenhouse or another cool, bright, and humid location because they can't handle temperatures below 26 degrees. If your trees are grafted onto a dwarfing root stock or are among the naturally smaller citrus varieties, expect them to reach a size of five or six feet and need a rather large tub or similar container. During the growing season, keep them evenly moist but not sopping wet and provide them with plenty of sunshine. Fertilize according to the label instructions with a fertilizer containing micronutrients (particularly zinc, iron and manganese) as well as the usual nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium found in complete fertilizers. During the winter, reduce the watering somewhat when they slow their growth. Finally, be sure to acclimate them slowly when moving them from indoors to out and vice versa. Enjoy your trees!

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