All Things Gardening forum: Growing Citrus Trees

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Nov 30, 2012 8:52 PM CST
Is there a forum that discusses the growing of lemon/lime trees?
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 1, 2012 2:30 PM CST
Darn, I thought I had seen some discussion on that subject a while back, but I'm not finding it. You might try putting in a request for a citrus forum and see if anyone else is interested. I have a lemon tree in a pot that could use some help! Rolling my eyes.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 1, 2012 9:43 PM CST
Ok. Where do I request that? I found a friendly vendor of citrus trees nearby. All of his are producing in pots now. I want 4 but I will start with 2 in pots to flank my front doorway. If those do well I will try two more. I want to know how to "do well". Smiling
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 1, 2012 9:54 PM CST
Woofie! I found it! It's on the Fruits and Nuts Forum! I mean the Edible Somethingorrather Forum.

The thread "Welcome to the fruits and nuts forum!" in Vegetables and Fruit forum
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 2, 2012 12:21 PM CST
Aha! That's the thread I was thinking of. Hmmm, not a whole lot of information on growing citrus trees, tho. The lemon tree I have (ha, looks more like a shrub to me!) is in a pot on my back porch, where periodically it gets infested by aphids...grrrr. It also has nasty thorns on it, which makes moving it around a bit iffy. I try to snip off the tips of the thorns, but it's hard to keep up. I forgot to move it out this past summer, so it's not really happy. But I've had it for oh, about as long as I've had my greenhouse, so that would be around 7 or 8 years. Ha, gotten one lemon off it in that time. Hey, I have a brief "care and feeding" document that I found a few years ago. I'll copy it off and post it here for you. It's on a different computer, so I'll put it in my next post. Take me a couple of minutes to transfer the file.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 2, 2012 12:27 PM CST
Well, that was easy. Here's the text of the article. Sounds like you might need to protect the trees from extremely hot conditions if you plan on having them in pots.

Citrus trees in the home
October 9, 1999
Dwarf citrus trees such as oranges, lemons, and limes are living conversation pieces. Their shiny foliage, bright fruits, and fragrant blossoms provide year-round enjoyment. Dwarf citrus trees are well adapted to container growing indoors.

Citrus plants thrive in temperatures between fifty-five and sixty-five degrees. They should be grown near a bright sunny window, or under fluorescent 'grow' lights.
Citrus plants need an acid type soil. If the leaves turn yellow, the soil needs to be made more acid. To maintain the acidity of the soil, dissolve one half teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) into one quart of room temperature water. Use this solution every two or three months. They should be fed with a complete acid type fertilizer (rhododendron, azalea type food) every three months.
Allow the plant to approach dryness before watering. Keep the soil moist, but never saturated.
Dwarf citrus trees require periodic repotting (every third year or so.) The dwarfing characteristics are the result of keeping the tree root bound in the container, so do not used too large of a planter. They have a shallow root system, so a wide diameter container is far better than a deep one. When repotting, use a fresh mixture of one-third peat moss, one-third sand, and one-third sterile potting soil.
Citrus trees respond well to pruning. Keep all the dead branches trimmed off, and thin the plant to the three strongest trunks.
Citrus trees are succeptible to plant scale, mealy bugs, and spider mites, so watch out for them, and treat them appropriately. Citrus blossoms are produced year round, but often will fail to develop fruit. To ensure the setting of fruit, use a small brush to lift the pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) of one blossom and gently dust it onto the pistol (female part of the flower) in the center of another. Within a few days the pistol should begin to develop a tiny new fruit.
It is possible to propagate citrus trees from seed. Unfortunately however, they will probably never bear fruit. To insure a fruiting specimen, dwarf citrus trees should be propagated from cuttings.



Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 2, 2012 12:47 PM CST
Thanks for that, Woofie! I can't wait to meet my grower. He has about the same sun exposure as I do-none except for the driveway. The front doorway is the second sunniest space in our yard. At least in pots I can move them around. And I must prune to keep them the small size I want. We've decided to start out with a lemon and a type of Satsuma orange. Acid soil is no issue with all the pine needles around here. I will post here when I get these trees, along with the instruction "Bill" gives to us.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Dec 2, 2012 1:07 PM CST
Good luck with them! You should have an easier time of it than I do here in the frozen northland. Sigh, I miss having lemons "on tap" as it were. My mom had a huge lemon tree in her back yard in SoCal and she would give me grocery bags full of lemons! Wish I had known then what I know now--that you can freeze lemons whole.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 2, 2012 2:20 PM CST
I never knew you could freeze them whole. That will render juice when thawed? I tell ya what got me going on this. My GF has an Improved Meyer Lemon growing in her yard. She shared some lemons with me this year. They were HUUUUUGE and so juicy! I can get 1/2 cup of juice from each of them. No longer am I satisfied with the puny dried out yellow spheres they call "lemons" in the stores. I want to grow my own, too. Grandma had a huge lemon tree in Anaheim CA (Off Lemon Street!) and we grew up with lemon everything. YUM! "Bill" says my exposure should be fine in our heat and the fact that it is in a pot it will need some protection from our harsh sun. I can always bring it in and use a grow light if we get unusually cold. They say you can successfully grow citrus indoors year 'round with proper lighting and a bright window? So bring them in and keep fertilzing.---- My Dh is from Seattle. You grow amazing things up there that we can't grow in our heat. And you have Pike Place Market for the freshest and best selection of produce I have ever seen. Hurray!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Dec 2, 2012 2:33 PM CST
The only drawback to freezing lemons is that the rind gets soft when you thaw them out, so if you want lemon zest, you have to grate them while they're still frozen. Other than that, it seems like I get more juice from the thawed ones (fully thawed, that is) than if I had squeezed them fresh. If you're going to keep them for an extended period, it's best to store them in ziplocs or foodsaver bags if you have them. We're over on the east side of WA, near the Canadian border, so the climate here is more of a challenge than over on the coast, at least for some things. Drier and colder here.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 3, 2012 10:02 PM CST
Woofie, go to the Edible Somethingorrather forum. Kristi posted some useful information and sites (thanks Kristi)
The thread "Been asking about growing lemons" in Vegetables and Fruit forum

I am going tomorrow to Clear Lake, TX to meet up with Bill Wyatt owner of Grace Outdoors. He has several citrus trees for me to choose from. I will pick his brain!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Judy
Simpsonville SC (Zone 7b)
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I helped beta test the first seed swap
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SCButtercup
Dec 5, 2012 12:05 AM CST
I'm a first time citrus grower, have an Improved Meyer lemon on the back deck amd it is supposed to be able to handle some light frosts. Eventually it may have to come inside. In addition to some all purpose fertilizer, two tips: use a tiny bit maybe one tablespoon, of ironite every couple months and now and then a bit of Epsom salts. These supply minerals that aren't in all fertilizers. Plus let them get dry before watering. I have four lemons my first year.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 5, 2012 12:50 AM CST
I got my trees! Well, they are little 3 gallon things but I love them already! I got a Improved Meyer Lemon and I forgot to ask what type of Satsuma I got. LOL They were the best in the lot and he had them pulled aside all ready for me. He had so many fruit trees it was fun to look around. He also had a Key(Mexican) Lime set aside for us but we'll save that for another time. DH fell in love with a tasty kumquat tree. I have a feeling we will be adopting that tree in the future. Bill pretty much reiterated what has been said on here and didn't seem to think we'd have any problems growing them in pots. He showed us a 15 year old orange tree in a 15 gallon pot. It was about 5 feet tall and oh so pretty! I am hopeful. I have a lot of information to go by on ATP and from what I have read. The lemon tree has 3 little lemons on it and some really lovely smelling flowers on it. I'll be enjoying a tall glass of lemonade real soon, I hope!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 5, 2012 6:39 AM CST
Congrats! And don't the blooms smell wonderful. You may want to keep them nearby so you can enjoy the fragrance. BTW, butterfly caterpillars will dine on the foliage in summer. It won't hurt the tree and is fun to see the butterflies develop also.

I came close to acquiring a Kumquat they are so tasty. I was also given some marmalade made with them, ground with rinds and all. It was terrific.

Judy ~ in your zone the tree will be fine most of winter outdoors. Only for the hard freezes will it require protection. Somewhere ( when I was researching what to buy ) I found a list of the more hardy citrus.

Yesterday I saw the man that has a Satsuma in ground. He said it was doing well and to my surprise came back with these from his tree. They are yummy!Thumb of 2012-12-05/pod/0de107
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 5, 2012 7:08 PM CST
I am reading conflicting info as to when to bring in/protect the trees from frost. Is it 15*? 20* ? 30* or anything below 40*? I have read all that in various articles.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 5, 2012 10:05 PM CST
Cheryl ~ there are so many variables like the length of freezing temps, the lowest temp, the stage the fruit is in, the fact that the roots are more vulnerable in a container as well as the cultivar sensitivity.
Here are a few links and excerpts from sources I trust.
http://www.gardeners.com/citrus-in-planters/7933,default,pg....

Depending on the citrus variety, foliage and fruit suffer damage at about 32 degrees F (lime) to 20 degrees F (kumquat), with mandarin, orange, grapefruit and lemon falling in between that range. Some citrus varieties can tolerate temperatures in the teens for a couple of hours. Determine hardiness from the nursery plant tag or catalog description.


http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu/8100.pdf This link has a relative frost sensitity chart and a chart for frost damage to actual stages of fruits.


http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/fact-sheets/cit...

Cold Protection
Citrus trees anywhere in Texas ultimately will be threatened by a severe freeze. Consequently, cold protection practices must be implemented to minimize the damage. The duration of freezing temperatures can be more critical than the minimum temperature, i.e., a brief drop to 24 degrees F may not cause as much damage as several hours at 26 degrees F. Moreover, exposure to cold weather increases the ability of citrus trees to withstand cold, as short days and cool weather condition the tree to stop growing and acquire greater cold-hardiness. For example, satsuma may withstand 18 degrees F in early February when it is completely dormant and most cold-hardy, but may be seriously damaged at 24 degrees F in early December

I understand your being concerned but think it will not be as frequent an issue for you in your zone.
I think you are wise to be prepared and have a plan of attack ready if you do need to provide protection for your new trees.
I do have a chart on frost sensitivity of the various cultivars and will post it if I can locate it.
Good luck...
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 5, 2012 11:37 PM CST
Kristi, you are a wealth of information! Thanks ever so much. I want to be good at growing citrus. Just wait til it's time for me to research fertilizer. I will be picking your brain! Rolling on the floor laughing The internet can be awfully confusing with too much information and conflicting information.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 6, 2012 6:14 AM CST
On freezing temps, I am a coward. I don't like it cold and don't want to lose my citrus so I am probably overprotective and don't take a chance myself. lol

Now on fertilizer? I'm lazy. I should fertilize everything more than I do but I'm always in a hurry and the plants need water and I don't think about it. I'd keep some mixed up but have kitties & dogs that follow me around and drink out of the plant water so try to be careful for them.

Perhaps you can help by reminding me when I need to!?!!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Dec 7, 2012 2:41 PM CST
pod said:
Now on fertilizer? I'm lazy. I should fertilize everything more than I do but I'm always in a hurry and the plants need water and I don't think about it. I'd keep some mixed up but have kitties & dogs that follow me around and drink out of the plant water so try to be careful for them.

Perhaps you can help by reminding me when I need to!?!!


I agree Hilarious! Can I get on the list of "remindees?"

Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 7, 2012 6:42 PM CST
Glad to know I am in good company ~ lol

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