Frequently Asked Questions
When will my trees start bearing fruit?
Depending on the time of year, your tree(s) may arrive full of fruit and blooms. However, you can usually expect your tree to start blooming within a few weeks or months. Dwarf citrus trees are grafted specimens and are of fruiting age when shipped to you.
Can I grow citrus at my home or business in the North and Northeast U.S.?
All varieties of our dwarf citrus trees can be successfully grown in containers throughout the United States. For best results, place your citrus trees on a porch or patio in the spring, summer and early fall. As winter approaches and temperatures begin to drop into the 30s, be sure to bring your trees indoors and place by a window with a west or south sun exposure. See our Temperature Zone Map. The fruit (on most varieties) will begin to ripen when you bring the trees indoors. Within 1 -2 months, the trees will bloom again as they are moved back outside for spring and summer. Some varieties will actually blossom inside before you take them back outside.
How big will the trees grow to be?
If your tree is planted in a large container and never pruned, it could grow 10-12 feet tall. However, with some occasional pruning your tree can be kept at whatever height you want. It will be much easier moving your trees in and out for winter if they are kept at a reasonable height of 4-5 feet. Although some rootstocks will produce a slower growing tree, they all have to be pruned occasionally. For example, a citrus tree that is grafted on Brazian Sour (rather than Poncirus Trifoliate) is usually vigorous in growth, while a tree that is grafted onto Poncirus Trifoliate will grow at a slightly slower pace.
Do I need to fertilize my tree?
Yes. Using a timed-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen is recommended. Best results on citrus trees may be obtained with Lutz (8-4-8) Super Citrus Tablets or Osmocoteó 17-6-10. It can be applied at anytime of the year, but its usually best to fertilize in early spring. (Do not use liquid fertilizers in the winter when growth is at a minimum).Timed-release fertilizers seem to perform best because the gradual uptake of nutrients. Water-soluble fertilizers (such as Miracle Grow) will also work, but be careful not to over-fertilize. They should be applied at the first spring growth & periodically throughout the spring and summer growing season.
Do I need two trees for fruit production?
No. All dwarf citrus trees are self-fertile, meaning that only one tree is needed for fruit production.
No fruit is forming on my citrus tree and it keeps dropping blooms. What should I do?
If they are grown indoors year round, (even though citrus trees are self-fertile), you may need to give the tree a little help with the pollination process. This can be done in one of two ways. The easiest & quickest way is to give the tree a good shake when the flowers are open, or you can dab pollen from one flower to another using a cotton swab or small paintbrush. Bees and butterflies usually do a great job of pollinating the tree if it is outdoors.
When will the fruit ripen?
Different varities bear fruit from one to four times per year. For example, the Meyer Lemon and Mexican Lime will fruit four times a year while the Naval Orange only once.
Typically dwarf citrus trees go through 3 distinct periods of bloom & fruit drop. First is the drop of about 70 to 80% of the flowers during and immediately following bloom. The second drop occurs a couple of weeks later, involving small fruit of pea-size to marble-size. The third drop occurs in late May, involving larger fruit, almost golf ball in size. Navels will drop again in mid-summer and in late summer. A few fruit on all citrus will continue to drop through final harvest, but that is normal and cannot be prevented.
What do I need to know about growing citrus trees indoors?
Citrus plants thrive in temperatures between fifty-five and sixty-five degrees. They should be grown near a bright sunny window, or under fluorescent 'grow' lights.
Is it possible to propagate citrus trees from seed?
It is possible to propagate citrus trees from seed. Unfortunately however, they will probably never bear fruit. To insure a fruiting specimen, dwarf citrus trees should be propagated from cuttings.
Do I need to repot my tree?
Dwarf citrus trees require periodic repotting (every three years or so.) The dwarfing characteristics are the result of keeping the tree root bound in the container, so do not used too large of a planter. Dwarf trees have a shallow root system, so a wide container is far better than a deep one. When repotting, use a fresh mixture of one-third peat moss, one-third sand, and one-third sterile potting soil.
What is the time from bloom to edible fruit?
For lemons and limes, the time from bloom to edible fruit is generally 6-9 months. For winter oranges and other citrus varieties, it is generally 12 months. The best way to determine ripeness is to pick a fruit and sample it, since rind color is an unreliable indicator.
How often should I water my citrus trees?
It is crucial to frequent water newly planted trees. Water your tree every day or every other day for the first couple of weeks. Taper off watering to twice a week over the next month or two as the tree gets established. It is very important not to allow the soil to dry out with your newly planted tree. After a few months, the tree will acclimate and routine watering will not be so critical for its survival. Your climate, the seasons, and the frequency of rainfall will determine the amount of watering from this point. Normally, a good soaking two or three times a week in the summer months and decreasing to once a week in the colder season should be adequate.
Containerized citrus trees should be allowed to dry in between waterings. Watering schedules vary depending on container size, drainage and location of the tree.
If your unsure whether watering is necessary, do the finger test, stick your finger 2-3 inches into the soil. If it is dry, your tree needs water.
What about Pruning?
Citrus trees respond well to pruning. Keep all the dead branches trimmed off, and thin the plant to the three strongest trunks.