Zest for Success: Growing Citrus in Pots
How handy could it be? There’s the lemon or lime, right by the door, waiting to be added to your gin, your pie, your fish dish, your cake or Thai curry.
Growing citrus in pots and containers is a great idea if you have poor soil conditions or limited space. You can move the tree around to a sunnier spot if needed (citrus love the sun), 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.
Citrus fruits to try
If you have kids, you have to have a mandarin. Select an easy-peel variety; they make an easy snack. The kids can come home from school, pick a mandarin and off they go.
The other citrus to have is a meyer lemon. It’s versatile, and fruits virtually all year round.
When you’re ready to plant your citrus, choose a good-sized pot and use a good-quality potting mix. Palmers Tub Mix is ideal as it contains lots of nutrients as well as water storage crystals. Then back that up with a good liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic. Your plants will be healthy with glossy leaves, and a healthy plant means lots of healthy fruit.
Citrus do need the odd spray to keep them healthy. Every 6 to 8 weeks, treat them Grosafe Enspray Spraying Oil to keep the scale bugs at bay. Also Grosafe Free Flow Copper Spray will help prevent disease invading the leaves and fruit. Spray these two alternately and you will have a healthy plant with clean fruit. Both sprays are organic and easy to use.
A common mistake with citrus is that people over-water them. In the first 3 or 4 years, don’t water them much. If you see water regularly dribbling out of the bottom of the pot, you’re watering it too much. You may have to stop watering the plant for 4-6 weeks (depending on position and pot size). Over-watering results in yellow leaves and poor growth.