The Q&A Archives: Indoor Minature Tangerine Tree

Question: In the summer I bring it outside to get the sun and heat. It grows great and it finally got flowers and now it has 3 small tangerines on it. My problem is, it is losing its leaves, about 6 leaves a day. I have pruned it and gave it some food. The leaves that are falling off are green. I have noticed some spiders on it, so I have washed it down, and also have sprayed it with Houseplant/Garden insect spray. It is in a warm room, with great light. I got this tree when it was just a seedling. I have had it about 8 years. Please help me with this,i would hate to lose it. Thank-You

Answer: It sounds as though there are several things going on with your citrus tree but I think they can all be corrected. First of all, when you move a tree indoors after they've spent the summer outdoors, they will go through a stressful adjustment period. Light levels are lower indoors and temperatures and humidity are different, too. Leaf drop is normal during adjustment periods. What you can do to help is to provide as much bright light as possible, water often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet, and mist the leaves daily to compensate for the dry indoor air. You will also want to make sure your trees are not in a draft or near a heat register.

I'd use Insecticidal Soap against pests on citrus trees. The fatty acids will coat them enough to suffocate them. Citrus trees need a regular source of water while they are developing fruit - a wet period followed by a dry one will cause the fruit to drop. Plant immaturity and lack of pollination will also cause the fruit to abort. Hope this information helps you understand what your tree is going through. Just keep it well watered and warm and it should replace the dropped leaves and may even flower and set fruit while indoors. Best wishes with your tree!

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