The Q&A Archives: Grow citrus trees

Question: I just purchased 2 dwarf meyer lemon, 1 improved meyer lemon. 2 valencia 4ft, 2 4ft grapefruit-marsh and ruby red, 1 navel orange 1 key lime, 1 persian lime and a limequat.

What do you suggest I do to to get a good harvest and maintain good health and growth?

I also have 6, 5 foot jersey blueberries. They are outside now in 7 gallon pots.
Thank you.

Answer: Since you're living in Massachuesetts I presume you'll be growing your citrus trees indoors or in a greenhouse. Citrus need full sun to do their best so put them near a south window in winter and take them outdoors in the summer.

In summer, when they are outdoors, citrus trees need water almost daily. When grown indoors, their soil should be allowed to dry to the touch between watering. Do not allow them to stand in water after the pot has drained into the saucer.

They like slightly cooler temperatures than the average home. They like 50? to 55? at night and 68? during the day.

Citrus need high humidity, especially when blooming. Low humidity is often a reason for dropping blooms and fruit. Mist them daily, stand them on a pebble tray full of water or use a humidifier.

Citrus should be fed three times a year, early spring, early summer and late summer. They prefer an acid fertilizer applied no stronger than the recommended rate.

A potting soil designed for African violets suits them well. Just be sure it is well-drained.

Repot annually into only slightly bigger pots. If they fail to bloom well, skip the repotting for a year or two. Being slightly crowded seems to encourage blooming.

Pruning tip growth at any season will keep the plant compact and bushy. Deadheading is not necessary as the blooms fall off as they fade and fruit will follow if the flower was pollinated. Indoors, you will have to pollinate the flowers by hand. Use a child's paintbrush to stroke the pollen-bearing stamens and then the pistil in the center of the bloom of each flower.

As for your blueberries, you can plant them outdoors in a sunny spot and they will thrive. Be sure to amend the soil with peat moss to make it acidic enough for the plants and feed with an acidified fertilizer according to label directions.

Good luck with your edible plants!

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