Growing Citrus Trees in Pots

Growing citrus trees in pots and containers is a great idea for gardeners who struggle with poor soil conditions or limited space in their garden. It also makes it easy to move the tree around to a sunnier spot if needed, or out of any harsh wind or rain. Dwarf citrus are especially suited for container growing as they can be kept at manageable sizes and will happily grow in a container environment. Read on to find out our top tips for container growing, then pop in store to make your fruit tree selection.


citrus trees in pots

Dwarf lemon tree

The keys to successful container growing are:

  • Select the right size pot with adequate drainage holes
  • Use a soil mix that is lightweight and drains well
  • Develop a watering schedule so the tree stays on the dry side of moist
  • Provide 8 or more hours of direct sunlight per day
  • Plant the tree so the root collar is above the soil line and the top of the root crown is barely below the soil. Do not cover the trunk with soil at all.


Choosing a container

Any pot or container is suitable for planting as long as it has good drainage holes and is larger than the rootball/bag of the plant you have chosen. Think about how large the plant will grow – large plants require large pots. You may also need a saucer or pot feet to protect the surface of where you are placing it. Consider the location of your pot carefully if you are unable to move it. Clay pots and wooden containers are very attractive but less mobile choices.



We recommend using a good quality potting mix such as Palmers Garden X Potting Mix.

  1. Place 3cm of soil in the bottom of your container.
  2. Gently remove the roots and soil from the old container while trying to keep the root ball intact.
  3. Place the root ball in the new container and fill with your potting mix. The top of the roots should be just barely beneath the top of the soil level.
  4. Loosely tie tree to a stake if needed.
  5. Press the soil around the root ball to provide stability and water deeply.



Citrus trees feed heavily on nitrogen. Your fertilizer should have more nitrogen (N) than phosphorous (P) or potassium (K). We have a range of fertilisers in store which will help with the growth and health of your citrus tree.



Citrus may be pruned to any desired shape and can be done at any time of the year, except in winter. Pinching back tips of new growth is the best way to round out the trees without impacting future fruit. The tree will look fuller with occasional pruning to shape leggy branches so give it a trim each year to encourage new growth. Well-pruned trees have higher fruit yields and are less prone to branch breakage.