All Things Gardening forum: Growing Dwarf Citrus and Fruit trees

Views: 656, Replies: 16 » Jump to the end
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 11, 2017 12:00 PM CST
I am located in Las Vegas Zone 8b : 15 to 20 (F)

I would like to grow dwarf lemon and lime trees, basically for making margaritas, mojitos, and other cocktails. I am not sure which varieties will both remain small and make good cocktails? Meyers lemon? Bearss Seedless Lime or Mexican Seedless lime?

Also considering maybe a dwarf peach tree. Dwarf Bonanza Peach has caught my attention.

I really want the trees to remain small, which I think may require some pruning regardless of variety. Large fruit trees just produce far too much fruit and result in too much of it on the ground attracting pests.

I am considering growing in pots, because the soil in Vegas is poorly drained and alkaline and I can bring them inside during frost. (I think the bonanza peach can remain outside all year)

I would like to grow them in light colored decorative pots above ground, because I think it will look nice. However, I have read that roots should stay cool. My other idea is to get a larger pot and cut the bottom off. Dig a hole and bury this pot to create a sleeved hole, lining the bottom of the hole with gravel. Place the pots for the trees in the sleeve in the ground, and pack gravel or dirt between the tree's pot and the sleeve. Then I can easily lift them out of the ground to bring them inside or prune the roots and put them back. Keeping them potted should also restrict the size, which I want. Will sinking the pots into the ground be necessary?

The spot I have in mind is pretty much full sun. Worried the intense summer sun and heat will just be too much. The back of my house faces north, so the 2 story house and patio create shade all year. Unfortunately this area near the house will basically be shaded all the time, so its 1 extreme or the other. I have some nice south facing windows in the house to bring them in during the coldest winter months if necessary. Although, they will need to be kept around 4 feet tall to be able to pick them up and bring them inside.

Any tips are appreciated!
[Last edited by GeographyNerd - Apr 11, 2017 12:14 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1411977 (1)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 12:39 PM CST
You can certainly grow them in containers, I don't grow the citrus trees you mentioned, what I have is another type of citrus tree called calamondin. Your greatest consideration will be its watering and humidity needs. Be ready to water maybe 2x a day, one in the morning and one in late afternoon especially when the long, very hot and dry months are here. Installing misters will also help for its humidity needs.

Las Vegas full sun is rather intense..in some ways similar to ours during the long dry months. My calamondin gets some protection from the shade of city trees. The citrus trees do like full sun, and ideally with good humidity, so it may help to have some shade for them in your location since the sun there is more intense. I also spray mist my plant before the hot sun hits it, to help the leaves.

I don't sink my container in ground. They just stay above ground, my greatest concern is their watering needs, they do like lots of it during the long dry months. I keep my tree out even in winter when we get the cold inversion and then the rains, it actually likes it..it is the only time it will ever get good rainfall here.

When I got my tree, first year, it was like adjustment stage, no blooms, no fruits just leaves; following year it started flowering but not much fruits yet. On the third year, that is when it was much more ready..got the flowering and then the active fruiting. Sometimes I leave the fruits there till winter, adds color to the drab winter doldrums. But I harvest them before January ends, so plant can refocus again to other growing aspects. Always fun to share the excess fruits to my neighbors. Smiling
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 11, 2017 12:50 PM CST
tarev said:You can certainly grow them in containers, I don't grow the citrus trees you mentioned, what I have is another type of citrus tree called calamondin. Your greatest consideration will be its watering and humidity needs. Be ready to water maybe 2x a day, one in the morning and one in late afternoon especially when the long, very hot and dry months are here. Installing misters will also help for its humidity needs.

Las Vegas full sun is rather intense..in some ways similar to ours during the long dry months. My calamondin gets some protection from the shade of city trees. The citrus trees do like full sun, and ideally with good humidity, so it may help to have some shade for them in your location since the sun there is more intense. I also spray mist my plant before the hot sun hits it, to help the leaves.

I don't sink my container in ground. They just stay above ground, my greatest concern is their watering needs, they do like lots of it during the long dry months. I keep my tree out even in winter when we get the cold inversion and then the rains, it actually likes it..it is the only time it will ever get good rainfall here.

When I got my tree, first year, it was like adjustment stage, no blooms, no fruits just leaves; following year it started flowering but not much fruits yet. On the third year, that is when it was much more ready..got the flowering and then the active fruiting. Sometimes I leave the fruits there till winter, adds color to the drab winter doldrums. But I harvest them before January ends, so plant can refocus again to other growing aspects. Always fun to share the excess fruits to my neighbors. Smiling


The plants will be located right next to a swimming pool and there is a fair size patch of grass. Hopefully that adds some humidity to the air. I wonder if watering 2x a day could be reduced when the pot is in the ground. Currently there is no irrigation where I want to put them. I could eventually install some type of irrigation though. 2x a day hand watering may not always be possible. I have not lived in the house long, so I am not sure exactly how the sun and shade work out through the summer months.

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 12:58 PM CST
Oh that is nice! Swimming pool humidity will help for sure. I don't have irrigation here either, since most of my plants are drought tolerant ones. I just like the calamondin fruit very much and when I found out it can survive the heat here with proper watering, it stayed on, and even more when it survives winter, since I have known this plant to love more tropical humid conditions.

Although last year, when we had an emergency and needed to be out of town for about a month, at the height of summer, it was really bad. I came back to an almost dead looking plant..but with gentle watering it came back and the timing was good this winter when we got more rains. So it has bounced back. So got to emphasize the water aspect, very much needed.

Maybe try to see if you can have drip watering for your citrus?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 1:05 PM CST
I would also suggest for you to have a weather station, so your sensors can actually give you more specific readings about the current temperature and humidity you have in your area. There maybe online temperature forecasts, but it is quite helpful to know your actual micro climate in your growing area.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 1:18 PM CST
Found this website, gives some pointers on growing dwarf citrus trees in containers or other method, hope it further helps you out: https://www.fourwindsgrowers.c...
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 11, 2017 1:27 PM CST
Welcome!

My daughters grow all sorts of citrus in pots here in Reno. The pots need to be BIG - at least 20 inches in diameter. Light colored heavy ceramic, plastic double walled insulated or thick foam pots will work best for you. During the hottest part of the year, you could wrap the pots in an insulation blanket.

There are dwarf citrus - they are the regular varieties grafted onto dwarf rootstock. Eventually, without pruning, they might get 6 - 8 feet tall. Pruning to keep them at 4 feet is very doable.

If you don't get the winter from hell, your winter time temperatures are ideal. Its the summer heat you will have to work out. They will handle that full sun but large, insulated pots and good quality moisture retentive soil are key.

When you first get them, leave them in the nursery pot so that they are easily movable. Put them on the north side of your house on your patio and SLOWLY move them (this could take a couple weeks or more) to the sunnier location. Start now before the weather gets too hot. Pot them to their permanent homes after they have acclimated. If its possible to add a drip system, do it.

Limes do best in pots so that one is easy. Please add a Kumquat - everyone needs a Kumquat. There is a genetic dwarf Meyer Lemon on the market now.

I just found this article from Star Nursery. Its got some good info:

http://www.starnursery.com/sta...

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
[Last edited by DaisyI - Apr 11, 2017 1:28 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1412073 (7)
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 11, 2017 1:37 PM CST
DaisyI said: Welcome!

My daughters grow all sorts of citrus in pots here in Reno. The pots need to be BIG - at least 20 inches in diameter. Light colored heavy ceramic, plastic double walled insulated or thick foam pots will work best for you. During the hottest part of the year, you could wrap the pots in an insulation blanket.

There are dwarf citrus - they are the regular varieties grafted onto dwarf rootstock. Eventually, without pruning, they might get 6 - 8 feet tall. Pruning to keep them at 4 feet is very doable.

If you don't get the winter from hell, your winter time temperatures are ideal. Its the summer heat you will have to work out. They will handle that full sun but large, insulated pots and good quality moisture retentive soil are key.

When you first get them, leave them in the nursery pot so that they are easily movable. Put them on the north side of your house on your patio and SLOWLY move them (this could take a couple weeks or more) to the sunnier location. Start now before the weather gets too hot. Pot them to their permanent homes after they have acclimated. If its possible to add a drip system, do it.

Limes do best in pots so that one is easy. Please add a Kumquat - everyone needs a Kumquat. There is a genetic dwarf Meyer Lemon on the market now.

I just found this article from Star Nursery. Its got some good info:




I did read the articles on starnursery and 4 winds. I tried to add some trees to the cart on 4winds, but it would not let me. Not sure if its a problem or they are not shipping yet. Everything I read said to keep the pots small, but I suspect the larger pot will really help retain moisture in the heat. I also read not to keep potting up, but to prune the roots every 3 years. I am a weather geek so I have a weather station.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 11, 2017 1:52 PM CST
Yes, when you move them to their permanent homes, don't pot up ever again. I was suggesting keeping them in the nursery pots until you had acclimated them to the weather. Moving 20 inch pots would be hard work. If you think about it, a 20 inch pot is not that big - you are planting trees.

I would buy locally. You can see what you are buying that way.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 1:52 PM CST
I use a 20-inch glazed container, and potting soil with pumice for good root aeration. Got to use this heavy container since it gets very windy here often, so it won't roll around. I just top my soil with some compost every year.

I have not bought from 4winds, but maybe call them directly. I have read they do not ship to specific areas but did not see Las Vegas in that list.
[Last edited by tarev - Apr 11, 2017 1:53 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1412098 (10)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 1:56 PM CST
I agree with Daisy, this is the right period to start growing it, gives the tree some time to acclimate before the searing heat comes. Once the high 90's to triple digit comes, most plants will just seem to be in semi-dormancy state, till more ideal conditions returns, but they will still need good watering to keep those roots alive.
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 11, 2017 6:25 PM CST
tarev said:I use a 20-inch glazed container, and potting soil with pumice for good root aeration. Got to use this heavy container since it gets very windy here often, so it won't roll around. I just top my soil with some compost every year.

I have not bought from 4winds, but maybe call them directly. I have read they do not ship to specific areas but did not see Las Vegas in that list.


I was also wondering about the winds. Vegas gets windy too. I keep reading 14 inch pot, but i agree that would blow away, probably landing in the pool. Sinking them in the ground would keep them from blowing over.

Moving a 20 inch pot is really difficult. I will need to wheel it on the dolly to its winter home.


Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Apr 11, 2017 8:31 PM CST
My daughter keeps her citrus in a temperate greenhouse. She keeps the temerature above about 30 degrees. Your average low temps are above that. I don't think you have to move them in for the winter. Maybe cover them with a frost blanket if the temps are going to drop below 28 or 29 but don't try to move them in for the winter. You are asking for problems.

BTW, Your citrus may do just fine if your soil is slightly alkaline (Ph 8.0 or less). You will have to work a little harder to provide enough iron. You could dig a hole large enough for your eventual size tree and replace the soil.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
Image
tarev
Apr 11, 2017 9:09 PM CST
What's the coldest temp you ever had there in Las Vegas..I would think it will just be okay to leave them outside.

I have read sometimes there are Haboobs, that may also be something that can affect your outdoor plant growing there.
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 11, 2017 11:53 PM CST
tarev said:What's the coldest temp you ever had there in Las Vegas..I would think it will just be okay to leave them outside.

I have read sometimes there are Haboobs, that may also be something that can affect your outdoor plant growing there.


Record low was 8 degrees in the 1960's. My inlaws live at about the same elevation as me. I have been following their weather for a few years. It seems to get as cold as 22, and there is about 2 months in december to jan that can have a week where lows are around 27. I see many people with tarps etc over plants when i visit at xmas.

After more reading I think lemon will be ok with a tarp or xmas lights. The lime I think will need to at least go in the garage during the coldest nights. Still seems easier just to bring them in around december 1st and take outside around may 1st.

I know bringing plants inside can create problems. The one I bring in now drops all the leaves and gets attacked by pests when it comes in for a few months.

The two south facing windows I have though are really good. The top floor one is unobstructed and blinds can stay open all the time. The lower one gets great direct light about 6 or 8 hours before the sun is blocked by garage. Of course I have other plants already there that would need to be moved.


Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Aquaponics Hibiscus Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals
Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad Birds
Image
ardesia
Apr 12, 2017 10:43 AM CST
Coming from a soggy, salty, southeastern locations I have no advice for gardening in the desert but for moving 20" pots I can recommend these plant caddies.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001F5POIW/

I have been using them for about 8 years now and I have never found any others that even come close in quality to these. My climate (unlike yours) is very damp but these casters have never rusted or become damaged by the salt air in anyway. They come in 14", 16" and 20" and they are super sturdy. I can move my heavy ceramic pots easily on concrete, my wooden deck and even the ground. I buy few new ones each year but the original ones still look good as new.

Good luck with your citrus trees, there is nothing like fresh lemons from your own garden.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Las Vegas Zone 8b
GeographyNerd
Apr 13, 2017 12:36 PM CST
Is there a good pre packaged citrus potting mix anyone recommends? Or should I try making my own?

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« All Things Gardening forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Penstemon virens"