Ask a Question forum: Small Indoor Orange Tree - Yellowing & Dropping Leaves

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Upstate NY
eric_o83
Nov 15, 2017 11:19 AM CST
Hi,

I know this question gets asked a lot but I could really use some help.

I have a small indoor orange tree. It's at least 5 years old. Recently the leaves started turning yellow and falling off. For a while I didn't think much of it but it continued. I started researching it online and
The first thing I did was cut my watering back significantly. I do think I was watering it way too much. That didn't seem to help so I decided to repot it. The old pot didn't have a drainage hole so I made sure to get one that did. I used new soil too, a citrus tree/cactus blend. When I got the tree out of the pot the roots did not seem to be rotting at all. I also purchased a citrus fertilizer and used that yesterday.

I'll attach a few photos so you can see what it looks like currently. My questions are...

1. Is the tree too far gone to make a comeback?

2. If not, how long should it take to see an improvement (assuming what I did addressed the problem)?

3. Is there anything else that I should be trying?

We had an unseasonably warm Fall and when it got cold, it was abrupt. I'm not sure if that could have anything to do with it. The tree is indoors though so it wasn't subjected to frost or anything like that.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 15, 2017 4:26 PM CST
Can you post a photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot?

Describe the light source and how far away it is from the plant.

What was your watering routine before you repotted?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Upstate NY
eric_o83
Nov 16, 2017 8:31 AM CST
Thanks for the reply WillC. I'm attaching a couple more photos. The tree measures about 16" from the top of the pot.

As you'll see it's pretty close to the window. That window gets a lot of light.

I was probably watering about once a week, maybe a little more. In the summer the soil dried out pretty quickly. I continued to water it like that through the fall and it definitely wasn't drying out as fast. That's why I originally thought overwatering was the culprit and the roots might be rotting. But when I repotted it, the roots looked healthy.

Let me know if there's any other info you need.

Thanks again!
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 16, 2017 9:41 AM CST
Hi Eric -- I'm not an expert on growing these by any stretch of the imagination, but just wanted to share my own experience (which should be somewhat encouraging to you). I have an orange tree that's about the same age as yours, maybe a year or two older. And, I am the world's worst when it comes to consistently taking care of my houseplants -- especially during the summer and fall when I'm busy with my veggie garden. A couple of years ago I badly neglected the orange tree (which is to say, it didn't get watered for quite some time and pretty much dropped all its leaves). I trimmed off a few branch ends that had died, started watering it again, and it bounced back. More recently, pretty much the same scenario -- and I was thinking I would just toss the tree out and stick with plants that tolerate long periods of drought better, but then I did water it and the next thing I knew it had more blossoms on it than its ever had before. And the leaves are beginning to fill in again as well. These things seem to be pretty tough -- I think yours will be fine as well! Smiling
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Nov 16, 2017 2:02 PM CST
Thanks for the photos, Eric. Overall your Citrus looks healthy. I suspect that it probably got a bit too dry a couple of times before you repotted it and that caused some leaves to yellow. It may also be reacting a bit to the much shorter hours of daylight. This is a plant that can never get too much light indoors and growth tends to slow in winter in northern latitudes.

The pot size looks fine. Water it when the top half inch of soil feels dry. I also suggest that you prune back some of the leggy stems that have lost some lower leaves. Pruning it will do no harm but will help control the growth so that you will have fuller, more compact plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Upstate NY
eric_o83
Nov 16, 2017 2:51 PM CST
Thanks for the tips guys. It's reassuring to hear that it's probably ok. It's funny how attached you get to some of these plants and trees. I'll definitely trim the branches too. That is something I've been pushing off for fear that I might hurt the tree but I would like to keep it a bit more contained.

Thanks again!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
Image
WillC
Nov 16, 2017 3:32 PM CST
Pruning does not affect the health of a plant. It only alters its appearance. So don't be afraid to prune.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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