Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Potted Citrus Plants

It's that time of year again. Now that temperatures are reaching down into the low 40's F, we'll start the daily shuffle of bringing our potted citrus plants inside at night and back out again in the morning. Then sometime in late October or early November, they'll be moved indoors permanently - or more accurately until early May.

I haven't decided where to keep my plants indoors this winter. My concern is that they won't get enough natural light, which might partially explain my difficulties last year. I might come up with artificial set up in our basement to house them using the regular halogen lamps I use to start my transplants in the Spring. The last thing I want to do is up our electricity bill but it's an option we'll have to consider.

One think I've done differently this year is to prune my citrus plants heavily to ensure a bushier growth. It definitely makes housing them indoors more convenient.

I think I may have neglected to mention that I'd purchased a second Meyer lemon tree last spring. At the time, I wasn't sure whether my other tree was going to survive since by April, it had lost its leaves completely. This one is definitely more tree-like than my other one.

And this is what my other Meyer lemon tree looks like now. As you can see, it's nowhere as big or glorious as it was before. After it lost all of its leaves, I pruned the naked branches severely to encourage new growth. A few of the pruned branches died back even further but eventually, new leaves and branches did form. Despite our difficulties, this may have been a blessing in disguise as now the plant is growing into a bushier specimen.

When I repotted it last spring, I noticed that the roots looked rather unhealthy. Hopefully I can adjust the watering, lighting and heat indoors to encourage better root health this winter.


  1. I brought all of my citrus trees in for the winter, I think. It has been getting down in the thirties at night this week. I may take them back out if the night time temps get back up.

    When do you prune your trees and what type of fertilizer do you use?

  2. They are such pretty trees. I really need to figure out how to overwinter them here (not a good location in the house with natural lighting). I may have to look into setting up some artificial lighting for the overwintering phase.

  3. I'm unsure whether I'll give my lemon tree a drastic top pruning or just remove small side branches to make it tree-like as your second Meyer is. It has lost all of its bottom leaves, but top growth looks healthy, so I'll probably opt for tree-like. whichever I do, it won't happen until after I harvest its two lemons, as they are both on the leafless branches. We've decided we'll be planting it in the ground at our AZ place this year.

  4. Lucky you to have citrus trees. I hope they winter well for you inside :)

  5. we bought our first citrus tree this year and have also started to bring it in at night. We didn't have any fruit this year, but am hoping to see some next year

  6. I'm glad we don't have to bring them in here. For the most part anyway. We usually don't get to those really cold temps that hurt them but it does happen. I just bought a bunch of fruit trees for planting at the farm and have a couple of citrus. Since they aren't in the ground I might have to figure out something just in case. Yours all look great in the clay pots, and like you and others aid, I love that they are "tree like". Good luck and keep us posted!

  7. Hi Robin, I prune my trees after they've set new growth. Depending upon the direction of the new growth, I'll prune to create a more compact shape.

    I use slow release organic fertilizer. Growmore is a good brand.

  8. Wow, look at all your citrus trees! They look great! Other than Meyer Lemon, what other citrus do you have growing?

  9. Hi Thomas, I'm down to three potted citrus now; and it was a voluntary reduction. The navel and mandarin orange and Meyer Lemon all have new homes with big sunrooms.

    I'm left with my favorites: Bearss Lime and Limequat.

    I do miss the orange blossoms though but not the Sequoias they grew into. You are smart to keep things trimmed, unless that is you're building a l'orangerie. ;-) Warm regards from the Pacific NW.

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