With our dreary winters that are often far too long, what better way to brighten up the décor than with citrus trees? Very trendy and simply gorgeous, their subtle aroma adds a lovely touch to any room. Their bright fruit and dark green leaves also add a welcome touch of colour! Citrus trees are perfectly suited for the kitchen. For some, growing a citrus tree indoors may seem like an impossible mission. Read on, and you’ll see that it’s not so difficult. Here are all the secrets for success with indoor potted citrus trees!
1. Choosing the right one for you
Before you start, it’s important to choose a variety that you like, and to make sure it will do well indoors. Two favourites that are easy to grow are the calamondin orange and the Meyer lime.
With its delicate aroma, the Meyer lime adapts very well to an indoor environment and produces delectable fruit. Quite small in stature (around 1.5 m in height), the tree grows slowly, so it’s a great potted choice. Another reason to adopt the Meyer lime? It continuously flowers and produces fruit year-round.
Another excellent option is the calamondin orange tree, also referred to as the “apartment orange”. It generally reaches a height of 60 to 90 cm, which is slightly shorter than the Meyer lime, making it ideal for smaller spaces. What’s more, the calamondin flowers year-round and releases a lovely aroma. Important to note, although its fruit is edible, the oranges are very acidic and bitter, making them perfect for marmalade.
If you’d like to be able to harvest fruit sooner, we recommend purchasing a tree that’s already 2 to 3 years old. A younger tree will take longer to produce fruit.
2. Planting your tree
Choose a deep container with several drainage holes to prevent the roots from soaking in water during the early years. This will help the plant root deep in the soil and not on the surface.
It’s also important to use the right soil. Citrus trees need well-drained soil that is rich and slightly acidic. Our acid-loving plant and berry soil mix is the perfect solution!
3. Seasonal care
Citrus trees love light! In fact, they need between 8 and 12 hours of sunlight every day. The perfect spot for your tree is near a curtained window away from heat sources. This will provide maximum light, fresh air and moisture. If it isn’t bright enough, don’t hesitate to use an additional light source to satisfy its needs.
The perfect temperature for a citrus tree is between 15°C and 18°C. This coolness stimulates flowering while prompting existing fruit to grow. Many fruit trees spend the winter maturing!
Winter is a period of dormancy for citrus trees, so it is important to reduce watering and avoid fertilizing. Make sure you only water if the soil feels dry to avoid root disease. If you maintain a cool air temperature, you should be able to restrict watering to once every two weeks or even just once a month. If, however, the room is too warm, you may have to water weekly and/or spritz the leaves to keep them from falling off.
Fertilizing should resume in March and continue until September. For this, use special fertilizer such as our natural fertilizer for acid-loving plants and berries to help keep the soil acidic, prompt greener leaves and produce an abundance of delicious fruits.
The weather is gorgeous! Make the most of it by moving your citrus tree outdoors during the warm days of May. To make the transition easier, start by placing it in the shade for 3 to 4 hours per day for 3 to 4 days. Once it has acclimatized, find a sunny spot that’s sheltered from the wind where it can enjoy the summer. It will thrive under the sun’s natural rays and benefit from good moisture, and the insects will even pollinate the flowers!
When watering, it’s preferable to keep the soil moist without leaving the roots soaking in water. Weekly watering is usually enough.
As soon as frost is forecast (late September, early October), it’s time to move your tree back indoors and stop fertilizing.
Is it time yet?
It’s important to know when the time is right to harvest! It’s always better to allow the fruit to ripen on the tree, because once picked, the ripening process stops. Then again, over-ripe fruit isn’t much better! Wait until their deep green colour starts to lighten. If the fruit is firm and heavy (a sign that it’s full of juice and vitamins), pick away! Have no fear – you’ll be a citrus wizard in no time!
We hope we’ve convinced you to try it. Follow us on social media for more gardening tricks and tips!