Though growing citrus in pots isn’t easy, it is very rewarding. Imagine harvesting your own lemons, limes, or oranges! Yes, they require a bit of care, but indoor citrus is oh so worth it. Even if you never manage to harvest a single fruit, citrus plants are worth growing simply for their amazing fragrant flowers and beautiful, glossy foliage.
Citrus should be placed in very bright light. Choose a very bright room and keep the plant away from doors that open frequently. You’ll also want to keep it away from heat registers.
Citrus needs consistently moist soil.Water with lukewarm water when the top of the soil feels slightly dry to the touch. Never allow the soil to become sopping wet (too much water can cause leaves to wilt and turn yellow) or completely dry (prolonged dryness can lead to bud, flower, and fruit drop). Indoors, citrus also benefit from high humidity provided by a humidifier or by placing the pot on a humidity tray.
Citrus prefer a balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20 during the growing season (from April through October). For all other months, fertilize half as often. Alternatively, you can use an organic fertilizer such as seaweed for your citrus.
If citrus is kept indoors year-round, the plants will likely need a bit of pollination assistance when they flower. Use an artist’s paintbrush or cotton swab to transfer pollen from one flower to another.
During the summer months, move your citrus plant outdoors, onto a patio or deck. Position the pot so that it receives morning sun until about 1pm. Keep the plant to be in the shade during the hottest part of the afternoon to avoid leaf scald and heat stress. Keep it regularly watered and avoid allowing it to completely dry out.
Don’t panic! Citrus will often drop many or even all of their leaves when moved either outdoors at the start of the season or indoors at the end. This leaf drop is natural. It’s the plant’s way of adjusting to different light levels. New leaves will develop that are better suited to the new light levels. Just give the plant time.
The varieties of citrus that we generally grow here come from Asia.