How to Keep Indoor Citrus Trees

Indoor citrus trees are popular houseplants. The most common types of citrus trees grown indoors are dwarf citruses, such as Meyer lemons, ponderosa lemons, key limes, and calamondin oranges. Sometimes citrus growers cultivate bergamots indoors as well. Container fruit trees can survive in climates with harsh winters so long they are kept indoors during the cold. With proper care, indoor citrus fruit trees will fill your home with fragrance and yield abundant fruit for many years.

When buying an indoor citrus plant from the nursery, select a plant that is about 2-3 years old. Make sure it is rooted in a container that has plenty of room for growth. Citrus trees often experience growth spurts during the summer. If the root systems become too crowded, the trees become susceptible to pests and may even stop producing fruit.

Keep the indoor atmosphere relatively humid, somewhere between 25%-50%. If necessary, grow your citrus plants in a separate room with a humidifier.

Water your citrus trees frequently, but also make sure the soil is well drained. The soil should always be slightly damp to the touch, but never wet. You can tell when indoor citrus trees are over-hydrated because the leaves turn yellow. You can also tell when the trees are under-hydrated because the leaves turn brown and brittle. Use special containers that have drainage netting at the bottom.

Give your plants a dose of pesticide and fertilizer once a month. Spider mites and gnats can ravage the leaves and roots.

Let your plant grow outside during the summers if you live in a humid climate. Bring the plant back inside at the end of summer to avoid an early autumn frost. Lemon trees cannot tolerate cold, and will die quickly if any part of the root system freezes. During the winter, keep your house between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grow plants in natural light, preferably near a big window. The more sunlight the better. Sunlight is necessary in order for citrus fruit to grow. During the winter, make sure the plants get at least 12 hours of light, from a combination of sunlight and incandescent lamps.

To promote fruit growth, use a pollination brush to transfer pollen from the stamens to the pistils. Since there is no wind and (hopefully) no insects flying around your house, you must take on the role of pollinator. You can try cross pollination experiments if you have several varieties of dwarf lemon trees.

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