Growing citrus trees at home
Citrus fruit are grown both industrially and in greenhouses, as well as in private homes. All citrus fruits, especially lemon, lime, mandarin and even orange or grapefruit, can be grown at home. Citrus fruits are iconic because they have been grown for a long time. Grown from seed, they do not need to be grafted, but they need to be shaped, otherwise citrus trees will not bloom.
Features of growing citrus
For citrus mycorrhiza, which is found in the top layer of soil in the roots of each citrus plant, to appear, it is also important that they grow in association with the microfungi that live on their roots. If the microfungi die, the plant itself will die. Therefore, you should not use pesticides or a too light solution of potassium permanganate (potassium permanganate) to water the soil in pest control. For the same reason, do not use fresh manure as fertilizer or apply large amounts of mineral fertilizer.
Seeds taken from a ripe fruit should be warmed in warm water, this will accelerate germination. The seeds are buried in the ground to 2-3 seed diameters, that is, slightly deeper than a fingernail. Sometimes several plants grow from a single seed, since citrus is characterized by polyembryony. Only one plant should be left and the rest should be cut off with scissors. Citrus seeds germinate well. Plants grown from seed usually flower and bear fruit by the 10th year, and the quality of the fruit can be poor.
You get much better results if you first produce a seedling from grapefruit or pomelo seeds and graft another citrus plant onto it at an early stage, when the seedling has a stem the size of a matchstick (2-3 years after germination). The grafted plant develops faster because the root system of the pomelo and grapefruit is stronger than that of other citrus plants. This makes it much quicker for the plant to produce fruit. In this case, you need a cuttings of a fruiting plant (you can go to a greenhouse, nursery or acquaintance). From grafted cuttings, the plant blossoms and begins to bear fruit in the 2-3rd year.
Grafting in citrus cultivation
Vaccination is easiest by contracting, i.e., by eye. Vaccination requires a mature plant (i.e. 5-6 years old). Vaccination is carried out when the bark (April or August) is well detached from the wood. From the fruiting citrus system, cut off a well mature 1-2 year old branch. Cut off the leaves, leaving only the stem and place it in a glass of water. On the trunk of a plant grown from seed, the place selected for grafting carefully cleaned at a height of 5-6 cm, it should not be dirty. You can wipe this place with vodka, as well as hands and knife blades. The operation must be sterile – this is the key to success. With a sharp knife (it is placed perpendicular to the seedlings), it is necessary to make a T-shaped incision on the bark, without touching the thin green layer of the cambium between the bark and the wood. The length of the cut is about 2 cm, the width is about 1/2 cm. On the prepared cuttings, two transverse bark cuts are made 1 cm below and 1 cm above. Then carefully cut off the bud and capture the bark with the cambium (this is literally jewelry work, so it is first practiced on the branches of all plants brought from the street). Place the top edges of the T incision on the seedling, place the bud (note where it is) and push it deep into the incision. Open the incision with your fingers and press the bud firmly against the cambium. Tie at the top and bottom so that the bud stays on the outside. The easiest way is a narrow strip of ordinary plastic wrap to the girdle, which should be rubbed with vodka. In about 20 days the bud should be used, i.e. let it grow. If the cuttings grow 5-10 cm from the bud, then the sapling, on which the bud was inserted, should be cut at an angle from the graft by 2-3 mm. After that, you need to cover the cut with liquid garden varnish or black paint for metal – bitumen or natural oil paint (now it is sold only in stores for artists and is expensive). The shoot that develops from the grafted bud is tied to a pen stuck in the ground.
The cuttings can be not only grafted, but also rooted. Grafting is slow, taking 1.5 to 2 months for lemons and up to 6 months for oranges and mandarins! The grafted object will start fruiting in the 3rd year. In any case, cuttings should be taken from the ends of the shoots of a healthy, fruiting tree that has just finished growing this season, slightly overexpressed but still pliable. The bark on them should still be green. The length of the cuttings is 8-10 cm, it should have 3-4 leaves. Cut cuttings with a very sharp and thin knife or scalpel. The lower cut is oblique (directly under the leaf or bud), and the upper cut is straight (1-1.5 cm above the bud). You can cut citrus cuttings all year round, but it is better to do it in April – May, then you will have time to build up a good root system over the winter.
Substrate for planting cuttings when grafting citrus
The best substrate for planting cuttings is a mixture of sphagnum moss and thickened sand in equal amounts. Cuttings are immediately planted in pots, on the bottom of which lay shards or coarse sand (2-3 cm). Then pour a layer of nutrient soil (5-6 cm) and top it with a substrate of moss and sand (3-4 cm).
After planting, the cuttings are sprayed and placed in a plastic bag, in which several exhalations should be made (to increase the concentration of carbon dioxide), and then the bag is tied. Pots are placed in a bright, but not sunny place. Every morning and evening bags are tied, cuttings are sprayed with warm (about 25 ° C) water, breathe in the air and tied again. The process can be simplified by covering the cuttings with glasses and inhaling the air or by using small pieces of dry ice as a source of carbon dioxide. The air temperature should be between 20-25 ° C. After rooting begins to grow the upper bud, then the glass or bag can be removed, but daily spraying should continue throughout the life of the plant.
Soil for growing citrus
Soil for citrus trees should be coarse, but at the same time fertile, react neutrally and necessarily contain large amounts of micronutrients. The application of fresh organic matter or large amounts of mineral fertilizer can kill citrus cohabitants (microphages) and thereby damage the plants. Be sure to put broken shards in the bottom of the pot to allow excess water to drain off. And, of course, pots should be placed on trays. Coarse or heavy mixture consists of sod, coarse river sand and leaf humus, which are written in a ratio of 1: 1: 1 by volume. Nowadays, ready-made mixes for a wide variety of plants are sold in garden stores or appropriate sections of large supermarkets, including those for citrus.
Citrus plants don’t like moving. Plants can also shed their leaves when the pot is turned. So determine a place for yourself in the apartment before you start growing citrus. It should be bright, but don’t put the plants on a window sill (except for double-glazed windows). The fact is that citrus plants come from the subtropics, which means they love heat and moisture, so they are cool on a window sill by the glass in winter. In hot summers, without turning the pot, they should be placed deep into the room away from the window to avoid direct sunlight, which can cause sunburn. In case of burns and frostbite, plants should be helped by spraying them with a solution of Ecoberin or Epin Extra.
Air temperature when growing citrus
Citrus fruits like heat, so the temperature in the room is 24-25 ° C, lower should not go lower. In addition, all citrus fruits need moist air, for this reason they should not be installed near heating batteries. In addition, when the apartment is too dry, constant spraying of the leaves with water is required. The best way to do this is water obtained from melted snow or ice cream and heated to 22-25 ° C. You can not use water directly from the tap, it must be passed through a filter or at least leave for a few days and be sure to warm before spraying.
Watering citrus fruits
Warm water (temperature not lower than 20-22°C) should be used for watering, which should be combined, filtered or discontinued with fertilizing. How much water should be watered, what kind of fertilizer should be added and how much of it is needed? All these questions are bound to arise. Despite their love of moist air, citrus plants die from overwatering. Especially sparingly water them in winter. Its leathery leaves evaporate little moisture, so excess water leads to root rot. It is better to loosen the top more often. With infrequent watering, water should moisten the entire clod of soil. An indicator of sufficient watering is the appearance of water in the tray. I advise to combine watering with a weak mineral fertilizer (1 teaspoon per 5 liters of water).
This should contain all macro and trace elements and is best done with Uniflor Bouton. It contains all the macronutrients and trace elements the plant needs, including the extremely useful for citrus – magnesium, selenium, cobalt and molybdenum. In addition, all minerals are included in an organic shell, that is, in chelated form, and therefore immediately absorbed by plants. The fertilizer itself is liquid, it is easy to dose. Pour a capful into 5 liters of water, stir it – and let it stand. The ready solution can be stored as long as you like.
You can also use a powder fraction of AVA fertilizer. Pour 1 teaspoon of powder into 3 liters of water and let it stand for at least 3 days. Then you need to stir it up, let it dry out and water the plants. This fertilizer does not dissolve in water (you can not prepare it for the experiment), but the mineral element ions contained in the fertilizer penetrate into the water gradually due to the movement of borax and in very small doses. Water is added to the sludge almost all year round and continues to be used. It is a very profitable fertilizer, despite its apparently high cost. It contains all the necessary nutrients, but at the same time there are no harmful impurities, which are necessarily found in other mineral fertilizers, although it is not written about it anywhere. All plants, especially citrus plants, need organic silicon. It can be found in the preparations Energen and Siliplant. You only need to add 1-2 drops per 1 liter of watering and fertilizing solution.
When citrus fruits, especially lemons, bloom, there is a fabulous smell in the apartment! They bloom for a long time, usually in inflorescences gathered in a brush. The flowers are pink or white and appear on current shoots from 3-year-old horizontal lateral discs. During flowering, plants can be pollinated by hand, applying pollen from the stamens with a soft (squirrel) brush to the trunk.
Phytoncides remain citrusy, so the smell of these plants constantly spills over the apartment. It is very delicate and also detailed for pathogens in the room. At a temperature of 18-20 ° C, the fruit does not ripen. It takes 15 leaves to ripen one fruit, and if there are not enough leaves, the lemon will drop the extra fruit. So keep the leaves, each one being very valuable to the plant. Leaf drop can be caused by dryness or high temperatures (over 24-25°C). If the plant has not bloomed for too long, you can “hurry it up” by reducing watering and pulling lightly on a horizontal 3-year-old branch with a dense dodder. Citrus leaves are glossy, shiny, leathery, and well adapted to moisture retention. Although these plants are called evergreens, each leaf lives only 3 years. Wicked leaves turn yellow and fall off. So don’t be alarmed if this happens.
Repot every 3 to 5 years with the entire plot. Do not plant or transplant plants into pots that are too large. If the plants are allowed to grow freely, they will either extend upwards with their trunk without side branches, which means no pulp, or they will take the form of a very dense bush. The shaping of the crown of citrus trees is a must. In a young tree that has reached a height of 15-20 cm, in February, before the next growth, cut off the top, leaving under it 5-6 well-developed buds. These buds will soon sprout and give rise to 1st order branches on the sides. From them, leave 3-4 shoots growing in different directions. As soon as these branches stop growing, their ends are cut off, leaving all 3-4 buds. From these, 2nd order shoots emerge, the ends of which are cut off even after they finish growing, leaving 3-4 buds again. From them, 3rd order branches will begin to grow. Do the same with them. From the moment the 4th order appears, the formation of the crown ends and the fruiting period begins. Before the end of the 4th order skeletal branches formation, fruiting should not be allowed, as premature appearance of buds on the branches of the 3rd order stops further growth of the tree, so before the end of the 4th order branches formation, the first buds on the branches of the 3rd order should be removed.
With a fruiting tree in late February – early March, you should cut branches 10-15 cm thick and cut vegetative branches. In addition, fat wolves should be cut out, and dry branches and shoot branches should be removed (these are usually stripped of leaves). Branches too much bent upwards above the horizontal position (when growing upwards, they do not bear fruit). Also cut back branches which are growing inwards and cannot bear fruit.
All citrus fruits are very sensitive to frost, which can cause the roots to dry out. During the winter, it is best to keep the plants in a bright room at 7-8 °C. A glazed loggia or balcony is suitable for this. It is necessary to constantly monitor the temperature, so as not to overcool, otherwise they will die (citrus plants can not tolerate temperatures below 5 ° C). Watering at this time is very moderate. In frosts, plants should be brought into a room where they are in the sun (i.e., without turning), and keep them near the balcony door. If you don’t have loggias and balconies, keep citrus plants near glass on window trees, but bring them into rooms in severe frosts. Carefully cross the lemons without turning the plants. In a dark room, citrus plants, especially lemons that shed their leaves, need backlighting in the winter.
Pests when growing citrus
Pests of citrus, as well as all other plants in the apartment, are white flies, aphids, scales, and less often hoverflies. The enemy of citrus exclusively is the worm. Spraying is absolutely safe helps against aphids and useful for people and plants, a healthy garden (4 grains per 1 liter of water). The sign must be eliminated and destroyed. Whitefly and travel insects suck. To combat them, you need to use a biological sucking drug fitoverm, which can be used in the apartment (1 ml per 3 liters of water). It is especially effective in combination with a healthy garden. The squirrelcage is a disgusting insect that resembles a very small moth that sits on the underside of a leaf and is therefore invisible. It reproduces as quickly as aphids, but the sooty fungus (a black greasy coating) immediately betrays its sweet secretions. White blossom must necessarily be destroyed, wash the plaque from the leaves with soapy water, and then spray the leaves with Zircon (4 drops per glass of water). During the next watering of plants against worms, a pink solution of manganese solution should be used. For preventive purposes, this is done with any diversion of watering, because the culprit of cranberry contains not only manganese, which adversely subdues the worm, but also cranberry and all citrus. Don’t forget that too much (dark pink) potassium parchment can destroy the microfungus solution living from the roots.
Recommendations: Growing citrus in the home, a very promising type of home business, ornamental systems are always building up. You can sell plants on the market through flower deals.
How to grow a citrus garden on a windowsill
Lemon or orange trees grown from seeds is an experiment known to many. But the fate of such a plant is most often unenviable: it dies rather quickly without proper care, and if it grows, it does not please neither the appearance nor the harvest. So, citrus trees on a windowsill – an idea completely unrealistic? Absolutely not! Let’s figure out what you need to succeed in this fascinating endeavor.
Is it possible to grow it all on the window?
What citrus fruits like and what they do not like
The requirements of most members of the family are similar. Critical conditions – lighting and humidity If one of them is violated, the plant develops poorly, weakens and can even die.
Duration of the light day should be at least 8-10 hours, optimally – 12-14 hours for some species. In northern regions, where natural light during the cold season is not enough, you need to take care of extra lighting.
Although citrus fruits come from warm countries, it is undesirable to place them on the southern window – they do not like direct sunlight, and the trees need shading from the hot midday sun. It is better to choose a southeastern or southwestern window, eastern or western is also convenient.
Cold window sills can be dangerous: heat-loving trees cannot tolerate overcooling of the root system. Drafts are bad for health – and this should be taken into account when choosing a place for an indoor garden.
Citrus trees are quite capricious, but with proper care they will thank you with a great harvest. Tangerine in a container
Always keep the soil evenly moist; drought and too much moisture damage the plant. Soil needs loose, permeable, with a high content of nutrients; It is convenient to use ready-made soil mixes for citrus fruits, which are easy to buy in the store. Drainage in the container for planting is necessary.
Do not use cold water for watering – it should be at room temperature. If the air in the room is dry, you should regularly sprinkle the plants or use a humidifier to create a favorable atmosphere.
Equally important is the need for proper overwintering: citrus plants need their rest period to ensure proper development, fruiting and longevity. In winter (which for these exotics is November-February) they need low air temperature (not higher than +14, +16 degrees). Humidity and light requirements remain, but feeding should be discontinued. Perhaps in urban apartments wintering is the most difficult period for capricious citrus.
In the spring, at the end of the dormancy period, it is necessary to carry out a formative pruning – this procedure will help not only to maintain the attractive appearance of the tree, but also to stimulate fruiting.
Propagation and cultivation of citrus
A favorite plant can be propagated by cuttings. If done correctly, the cuttings will take root fairly quickly – within 15-20 days. Another option is to graft the desired variety on a rootstock grown from seed.
Well, it may be easier for beginning gardeners to buy ready-made seedlings – a wide range of citrus trees for room cultivation is presented in the online store of Agrofirma “Search”. There is a wide range of citrus trees at Poisk online store
When choosing a tree, pay attention to the size it reaches: If you don’t have a spacious greenhouse or greenhouse, but an ordinary city apartment, this circumstance can become decisive.
As the plant grows, you should periodically transplant it into a larger pot. You should not immediately put a tiny seedling in a large pot, this can lead to its oppression. The size of the container should be such that the root system is evenly distributed in it, covering the lump of soil. Large, actively developing trees (e.g. lemon) should be transplanted annually, each time increasing the diameter of the planting container by 2-3 cm.
Citrus varieties. Variegata lemon (left) and Kaffir lime (right)
Citrus fruits need regular feeding. In spring, during awakening and active shoot growth, the need for nitrogen increases. During flowering and fruiting, an excess of nitrogen fertilizer can be detrimental – phosphorus and potassium are needed at this time. The plant, which is in the resting phase, does not absorb nutrients and does not need feeding.
Pests of citrus and protection against them
The most common pest of indoor citrus plants is the scale insect. The affected plant stops growing, brown spots appear on the leaves. Severely damaged leaves turn yellow and fall off. A distinctive feature is the buildup of sticky liquid secreted by the scale insects in the process of life.
Upon noticing such symptoms, the plant should be treated with the insecticides Actara or Actellic. Fytoverm also helps against young lepidopterous insects; it has almost no effect on adults. If the problem is detected in time, a mechanical solution is often possible: thoroughly wash the shoots and leaves with a soapy solution and remove the pests.
Similar measures are applied when the plant is damaged by spider mite. It mainly appears where it is warm and dry, so proper citrus care (taking care of good air humidity) can serve as an effective prevention.
In a winter garden or greenhouse, plants can also be damaged by whiteflies and aphids; by volume, these pests are quite rare.
A wide variety of citrus fruits
The range of citrus plants for home cultivation is very extensive and diverse. Do not be afraid of exotics – their keeping conditions and care requirements are largely similar to the usual lemons or oranges, which are happy to grow on windowsills. At the same time, many unaccustomed to us hybrids are much better adapted to life in the apartment, so it makes sense to consider them in more detail. But even among the usual crops there are very interesting and promising varieties.
Citrus fruits for growing at home are very diverse
Want to grow a lemon? Pay attention to the variegated form ‘Variegata’, which is appreciated not only for the unusual color of the leaves, but also for the ability to bloom and bear fruit several times a year. The ripe fruits are light yellow with pink flesh. The low-growing (1-1.5 m) Meyer lemon has early maturation and abundant fruiting; its taste is much less acidic than that of ordinary lemons. Both plants grow well indoors.
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Do you like lime You might be interested in the prolific and drought-tolerant Rangpur, a hybrid of mandarin and lemon. Its dark orange fruits, about 5 cm in diameter, are very similar to tangerines, but their sour taste is more reminiscent of lime. The ‘Tahiti’ lime has larger fruits (about the size of a small lemon), very sour and seedless. It can be harvested all year round. The plants of this variety are scattered and the seedlings grow quite fast.
From the wide range of citrus seedlings, everyone can choose plants to their liking
Want more sweet fruit? You may like Limetta Pursha – also called sweet lime. Limetta grows well in containers; its globular, bright yellow, medium-sized fruits have juicy flesh with a pleasant sour-sweet flavor.
Do you know kumquat or fortuna, an evergreen shrub that grows well at home? Its ‘Nagami’ variety does not reach more than 1.5m in height and yields a bountiful crop of small (about the size of a plum) sour-sweet fruits.
- Calamondin, a mouthful of casserole and kumquat (Fortunella), is a compact evergreen plant with fragrant small fruits that blooms and bears fruit abundantly year-round;
- Limonella, a hybrid of Lima and kumquat, is a cold-resistant, very fruitful and ornamental small tree with an amazing ability to bloom repeatedly during the fruiting period;
- Limkvat ‘justis’ – a hybrid of Mexican lime with Kumkvat ‘Japanese’ – non-interpretable, prolific, with very sour little aromatic bright yellow fruits;
- Orangekvat – mandari-n-unshiu and Hawaiian variety of kumquat – unusual for citrus: it withstands temperature drop d o-12 ° C; Oranges – fruit with thick, sweet rind often used to make jam.
Of course, caffera lam, or paphiopedium reticulata, is an amazing plant of the citrus family, whose main value, unlike others, is not the fruit, but the leaves. They are used fresh, dried or frozen for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Due to their high antioxidant content, they have anti-aging and restorative effects as well as helping to eliminate toxins from the body. Reaching no more than 1.5 m in height, this useful plant is excellent for container culture.
Growing citrus at home may seem like a daunting task, but trust us, it’s worth it!