The Q&A Archives: How can I start a citrus garden ? in ST CROIX

Question: We are interested in growing our own citrus (oranges, grapefruit,lemons,limes) What do we need to know and do before we buy trees? Is St. Croix a proper climate for growing citrus? We thought there would be plenty of fresh citrus here when we moved her. To our surprise,everything is brought in from Florida! What other food-type plants and trees would do well here (especially interested in exotic foods)?Thanks!

Answer: I'm sorry, but I don't have information on growing conditions for St. Croix. I suggest you look around at what is growing in your area and use that as a guide. Do any neighbors have citrus or other fruit trees growing? Generally, it's best to stick with what grows natively, or is well-adapted to local conditions, rather than to force exotics that aren't well-suited to grow. They are usually stressed, and research shows that stressed plants are more likely to be attacked by pests and diseases.

The biggest limiting factor with citrus is that it is frost sensitive. Trees are frost tender, most rated for zones 9-10. They will suffer damage if temperatures drop below 32 F and can even be killed if weather is severe for prolonged periods. They also require considerable and consistent soil moisture, so if water is an issue, you might want to consider that. Citrus trees also require regular fertilizer. They usually take several years or more to develop a consistent fruit crop. Good luck!

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