Citrus Fruits

Citrus Fruits

As you are well aware, the weather conditions that we experience in Britain are not very suitable for citrus outside. However, you can grow them in pots. You can place them outdoors in summer and inside in winter. If you have a warm conservatory or heated greenhouse, this will be ideal for some container-grown plants.

The most common citrus grown in the United Kingdom is lemon. Along with various citrus plants, kumquats are cold tolerant. On the other hand, warmth is essential for grapefruits and limes.

Growing Citrus Fruits

Summer is the time when you can place the citrus pots outdoors. First, however, make sure to place them in a sunny and sheltered place when the temperature is high enough. Generally, the time from mid-June to late September is perfect for putting them outdoors.

Cover the plants with fleece on sudden cold nights during summer. This step is essential. Otherwise, your plants will experience flowering inhibition and even death.

Here’re some citrus fruits with the temperature that they can tolerate.

  • Lemon and limes require 10°C temperature
  • Calamondin requires 13°C temperature during winter nights
  • Kumquats can tolerate up to 7°C temperature during winter.

Citrus are self-fertile fruits. So their single plant can also produce fruit. However, it is really not advisable grow the plants in centrally heated rooms because of their higher temperatures. Besides, the lack of light and humidity in these rooms also make unfavourable growing conditions.

For effective growth, you must repot the plants every March. You can also replace the compost in the pots with a fresh one.  

Feeding and watering

Regular feeding is essential for the proper growth of citrus.

Here are some instructions to feed and water the plants.  

  • Feed the plants with citrus summer feed rich in nitrogen from late March to October. However, winter feed is better to use in winter.
  • Water the plants freely in summer. Rainwater is ideal for watering plants.
  • Dry out the surface before you water in winter. Then you can water the plants with tepid rainwater.
  • Avoid overwatering in winters.
  • Keep the pot moist indoors by placing it on a large saucer or tray filled with gravel or ‘Hortag’ (clay pebbles).
  • Hand mist the plants in winter for better pollination.

Pruning Citrus Plants

Citrus plants don’t need much pruning. However, here’re some tips for pruning your plants:

  • Thin out the plants in February to reshape them
  • Prune the “leggy” plants up to 2/3rd. Use your forefinger or thumb to pinch back the vigorous growth
  • Remove the “water shoots” on their appearance from the main branches.      
  • Make sure there are no more than 20 fruits on the citrus plants up to 3 ft.

Planting

It would be best if you grew the plants in a sunny location. Generally, the citrus grows up to 3-5 ft in pots. However, you can boost their growth by providing proper conditions.

You must grow the plants in pots in cooler weather to enable their transfer indoors. You must apply the soil-based compost and 20% grit or sharp sand.  

Harvesting

You can harvest the citrus fruits when they are grown fully. Rich skin colour is the indication that your fruit is ready to harvest. You can pick them immediately. Besides, you can also leave them on the tree until you need them.

citrus

Common problems

Mealybug

These white insects cover the leaf joints and also appear under the loose bark. They feed on the sap and discharge honeydew on them. Ultimately, black sooty mould appears on their leaves.

Remedy

  • Encourage ladybirds
  • Control them biologically

Glasshouse red spider or two-spotted mite

Mites mainly affect the leaves. The symptoms of mites’ infection are:

  • Pale and mottled leaves
  • Web covering on the leaves
  • Premature leave falling

Remedy

  • Mist the plants regularly
  • Control the mites biologically in the greenhouse  

Scale insects

These insects feed on the sap and discharge honeydew on them. Ultimately, black sooty mould appears on their leaves. They appear as yellow hemispherical scales below the leaves and midrib sides.

Remedy

  • Control the mites biologically in the greenhouse  

Here is a guide re the best citrus to grow, on the Pyracantha website

For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.

08/04/2021 | Fruit | 0 Comments

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