Ask a Question forum: Citrus tree care

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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Jun 19, 2016 10:45 AM CST
Hello!

I havent been on the forum for awhile. I had a question. I got for my mom a lemon tree and a key lime tree. I grow them in pots. I have attached pictures.


Thumb of 2016-06-19/jnicholes/489948

This is the Key Lime Tree


Thumb of 2016-06-19/jnicholes/cb8acb

This is the Lemon Tree

As you can see, The lemon tree has some flower buds while the lime tree has none. Each one is 3 years old according to the company I got it from. I have many questions about citrus tree growing.

First, should I add some citrus plant food?

Second, how long does it take for the fruit to be ripe? I got two growing so far.


Thumb of 2016-06-19/jnicholes/fa4788

Thanks!

Jared

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jun 19, 2016 11:25 AM CST
I have never successfully grown key lime, but my lemon trees bloom in early spring and the fruit ripens by the first of the year - so 9 months, perhaps. It keeps well on the tree, so we can pick it for several more months. The tree will start to bloom again before we have picked all the previous crop.
Your little trees could probably profit from feeding. Be sure to follow the directions on the citrus food; potted plants normally require diluted fertilizers.
Porkpal
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 11:36 AM CST
Yes, you absolutely should put some citrus fertilizer in there. Those little plants have hardly any foliage going on. They need more foliage to make fruit. A very light application at first would be advisable since the plants don't have a lot of leaves.

It's the hardest thing, I know, but you really REALLY should remove any fruit from them this year. This is so that the plants can put their energy into growing roots and leaves. With so few leaves on them now, it's most likely they wouldn't mature the fruit anyway.

I hope your mom has a nice sunny window where she can grow them through the winter? They will slow down but still grow and even bloom during your cold weather. The scent of the blooms inside the house will be a lovely gift for her.
Elaine

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Calif_Sue
Jun 19, 2016 2:54 PM CST

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That first one looks like a pretty big pot to drag inside for the winter Blinking
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plantmanager
Jun 19, 2016 2:57 PM CST
Calif_Sue said:That first one looks like a pretty big pot to drag inside for the winter Blinking


I have one like that. We have to use a dolly to get it into the house.
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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Jun 19, 2016 3:30 PM CST
Hello!
Yes it WILL be hard for me to take off all the growing fruit. I got 2 lemons growing and 5 flower buds. It came that way in the mail. Anyway, as soon as I find my Citrus fertilizer I bought, I will add it. Thanks for all the Info! Anything else I need to know?

Jared
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 3:39 PM CST
You really do need to remove that fruit. Really. If you grow the tree well through this summer, with proper fertilizer and water you'll have lots more fruit next year and it might mature for you, too.

If you leave these two fruits on, they'll steal growth from the tree and the roots, and still not mature most likely. That would be a double loss for you. Do you want no fruit and no growth, or no fruit and lots of growth? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 19, 2016 7:21 PM CST
When I have allowed citrus to set fruit their first year, they usually compensated by setting NONE their second when they could have been expected to be more productive.
Porkpal
Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Jun 19, 2016 8:40 PM CST
Hello!

Thanks for all the advice! It was hard, but I removed the fruit. Thanks for all the advice!

Jared
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 19, 2016 8:58 PM CST
Hi Jared,

Most lemons are pretty hardy and can take temps down to freezing (32*) but key limes are tropical - if the temps get much below 40, it will be toast. I am assuming your Mother lives near/with you? Not exactly citrus growing country so those puppies will need to come in for the winter. Also, because citrus are tropicals, they will need light (as in grow lights) because the bloom time is before the frost free date. You may also have to hand pollinate (or invide some bees in for the winter).

Most citrus bare fruit in the first 7 years. The good part is that they take to pruning very well. To keep them in pots, pruning (root and top) is a must. Key limes make great potted plants but lemons are a little rambunkshus. It will take some work to keep it in hand. Your next citrus-in-a-pot should be a kumquat. Yum-Yum!

My daughter (Zone 6) is growing Kumquat, Key Lime, Yuzu and Mandarins in pots in a temperate greenhouse. She heats to keep it above freezing and is producing enough fruit to keep her happy.

Citrus are heavy feeders so citrus food is a must. I had to buy a bag on my way through California for my daughter. Its not carried at Home Depot around here. Smiling

A doable fun project.

Daisy

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