Fertilizing Indoor Orange Tree - Knowledgebase Question

bridgewater, NJ
Question by jcyrlin
March 24, 1998
I inherited a minature orange tree that the late owner said never bloomed. Well, it is blooming and getting little oranges. Do I fertilize it as a fruit tree or a house plant? It is about 5' tall, not many branches or leaves.


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Answer from NGA
March 24, 1998

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Here is some general information about growing citrus indoors:

Give the plant an area that receives lots of light, with at least 4 hours of sun per day. The best temperatures are room temp. (65-70F) during the day, and around 50F at night (but slightly warmer night temps. are OK.) Citrus also like fairly high humidity. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before watering.

Each spring, place the pot in a sink or bathtub and water it heavily, until water runs out the bottom of the potfor a few minutes. This will leach out any build-up of salts (left from previous fertilizers.)

After leaching, you can begin to feed it. Fertilize the plant according to its location. If it will be indoors getting partial sun, you might try a monthly application of a balanced fertilizer like Miracle-Gro mixed at according to label directions. If/when you set the plant outdoors in full sun for the summer, increase to every other week. Begin cutting back on fertilizer in the fall, and stop fertilizing for the winter.

If the branches are long and "leggy", with few leaves, you may want to gradually prune them back. You can safely prune off about 1/3 of the length of the branch.

The following site (an article from National Gardening magazine) give some helpful hints on growing fruit trees in containers:

http://www2.garden.org/nga/EDI...

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