Citrus Trees

Care & Cultivation Guide: Citrus Trees

Ideal for adding a Mediterranean look to your patio or conservatory. Citrus trees produce clusters of highly scented, waxy white flowers and are followed by delicious fruits which are a great addition to the drink of your choice. Citrus trees are self-pollinating so do not require another tree for pollination.

PLANTING: Citrus trees prefer cool, not hot conditions, plenty of fresh air and early morning dew. Keep outside as much as possible only bringing in prior to the first frost. If inside under glass, keep well ventilated (unless this exposes the tree to very cold draughts). A temperature of about 10C (50F) is ideal. Frost will damage tender winter growth and blossom; severe frost will damage winter fruit and may kill the tree.

SOIL: Citrus trees need a slightly acid environment, so the pH should be between 6 and 6.5 (Lemons have a slightly lower pH than Oranges). A peat-based compost with an additive to keep the compost open, such as horticultural grit, will help and also give the pot more weight and help prevent it blowing over in the wind. Perlite could also be used to keep the pot light for easier moving and to keep the roots warm in winter. If you use Sulphate of Ammonia to reduce the pH, be very careful not to overdose, as this could harm the tree. Avoid using composts containing lime which will raise the pH.

CARE: A high nitrogen feed is needed during summer to boost bushiness and growth and to help prevent fruit drop and premature ripening of immature fruits. In the winter a balanced formula is required for natural sustained winter activity, including fruit ripening and to help prevent leaf fall. Trace elements are essential especially iron, magnesium and zinc and will help prevent leaf discoloration.

Citrus trees like to have water on their leaves so spray or mist the trees during the summer when outside (you can use the garden hose) and especially during the winter when conservatories can be hot and dry or if kept in a centrally heated room. This will also encourage fruit setting when in blossom.

Water at least once a week, more frequently during the summer especially if hot and dry. It may be necessary to stand pots in a tray of gravel in extremely hot conditions.

PROBLEMS: Pests will attack the tree in hot dry conditions especially in the winter. Keep trees cool, well ventilated and misted to help prevent attack. RED SPIDER will produce stickiness on the leaves and leaf colour will become slightly mottled and lack lustre. Reddish-brown dust specks or cobwebs may appear and black mould will develop on the stickiness. SCALE INSECTS cause curling of the leaves along the spine and appear as dark waxy specks on the leaves mainly along the spine under the leaf, but also on branches. They also produce stickiness on the leaves. APHIDS will attack new tender shoots and cause total distortion of leaves and blossom.

To treat these, wash down well with very soapy solution taking care to gently remove all traces of pests. Double strength will be needed to treat scale. The soapy solution should have the effect of blocking the breathing tubes of the pests as well as helping to dislodge them. Cover the compost before you start, to prevent pests migrating back to the tree for a second attack

LEAF FALL: In winter, this is usually caused by under feeding, as the trees require less water, but can also be caused by frost. In summer, the main cause is drying or scorching of the roots as the sun beats down on the pot which might be stood on a hot patio. Place the pot into a secondary pot, containing peat or stones at the base and keep moist. Poor feeding can also cause leaf fall. Water the tree well and improve the feeding program.

PRUNING: Trees can be pruned to the desired shape and size any time, but preferably immediately after fruiting. There are no special instructions, but the tree will produce a branch from each leaf node so take this into account when cutting back in order to produce a good shape. The fruit is produced on old and new wood and even a mature, bare branch or trunk can sprout new growth.

HARVESTING: Harvesting is generally between October and March. Lowering seasonal temperatures ripens the fruit, not the hot sun. Blossom is produced during the winter or early spring, but some may produce blossom more than once a year.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given both on our lists and labels. However, some details may vary according to special or geographical circumstances. Varieties offered are subject to availability.

View all Care & Cultivation Guides

View our Availability Lists

This is where you will get some idea of the vast range we stock. These lists are regularly updated so you will often find something new each time you look. Please contact us if you are unable to find a particular plant and we don’t have it in stock, we usually know where to find one!

Follow us

News and information on the go.



What's Happening?

For all the latest news, tips and plant availability.