3 Secrets to Growing Citrus in Containers

by Stacy Tornio

Have you ever been to Florida, California, or southern Texas and looked longingly at the citrus plants growing there? Chances are, you probably don’t live in a climate where lemons, oranges, and limes are in abundance or growing regularly on trees outside. However, you can live out the dream of growing citrus, even if you live in a cooler climate. All you need to do is grow citrus in containers.

Your best candidates for growing citrus include lemons, limes, and oranges. (It’s not citrus, but avocado is a good one to try, too.) Once you zone in on the type of plant you want to grow, just follow these three rules for the best chance of success.

RULE #1: Keep it both inside and out.

Don’ think of tropical plants as “houseplants.” They won’t thrive in indoor-only conditions. Instead, make sure you plan outdoor time for them in spring and summer. Then as temperatures start to drop, give them a warm, sunny spot indoors. I’m in love with this Australian Red Lime available from Logee’s.

RULE #2 of growing citrus in containers: Don’t get too ambitious.

You might be tempted to buy a cool-looking or fun-sounding citrus plant, but resist the urge. There are certain varieties definitely suited better for indoor and cooler temperatures. When you decide to add a citrus plant to your collection, it’s best to hone in on these recommended varieties. For instance, if you want to grow a lemon tree, choose Ponderosa or Meyer (pictured first in this article). For a lime tree, try the Persian lime or Key Lime (below). And for oranges,┬áCalamondin orange is the way to go. These are all smaller, dwarf varieties that work perfect in containers. You can easily move them inside and out at temperatures change.

RULE #3: Buy from a good source, and follow the instructions.

You definitely want a quality tropical plant source to buy from. If you have a good nursery in your area, ask the staff. If you want to order online, check out Logee’s. They are known in the industry for “fruiting, rare, and tropical plants.” They also offer excellent information on their website on how to grow, location, and more. The tropical plants pictured here are all from Logee’s, and they are definitely one of the most respected in the industry. This Tahitian orange (below) is just one of many options you can find.

Good luck on your quest to grow citrus. Even if you live in a northern state, it can be done!

If you like the idea of growing citrus in containers, then check out growing air plants, too.

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