citrus in a container

How to grow a citrus tree in a container

What citrus trees will grow well in pots and containers?  Actually, they all do!  There are some special things that you need to know.  Let’s find out how to grow a citrus tree in a container.

how to grow citrus in a container

The best citrus trees for containers are dwarf trees.  Dwarf trees will stay smaller than their traditional counterparts, and these trees will stay small but still produce enough fruit to make any gardener happy.

Growing Lemons in containers

growing citrus in a container

Certainly, one of the most popular citrus trees to grow.  Myer Lemon trees are now bred to be disease-free. The Myer lemons are a little sweeter than other lemons, and they are one of the best citrus trees you can grow.


citrus in a container

Clementines are the most often sold Mandarins in my area.  These are small, sweet, and normally seedless.

Growing Oranges in containers

Oranges need warm conditions.  Because of this, they are a little more difficult to keep happy in northern climates, even indoors.

Limes trees in containers

limes growing in a container

Sweet limes are a good choice for container growing.  These trees stay small, growing only about 6 feet.  Sweet lime trees are self-pollinating, which makes them even easier to grow than others.  Keep in mind these do best when grown in a warm area, and they are not suited for balcony growing in northern climates unless you can take them indoors when the weather turns cool.

How to care for potted citrus trees?

The size of your pot.

You need to consider what size pot you need to plant your citrus tree in.  Most citrus trees will do fine in an 8″ pot for the first year or so.  Make sure the pot is deep more than wide.   The tree roots will grow down more than out.  So give them some room.

Full-grown dwarf trees will be happy in a 12″ plus 20-gallon container.

container citrus growing

Some people recommend that you repot the plant often as it grows rather than go directly to the largest size.  The reason behind this is that some say that it is easier to control fertilizer /nutrient levels and moisture in a smaller pot.

A school of thought also says if you restrict the roots a little bit, the plant will produce more fruit.  Root restriction will give the plant the feeling that it will die, and it will produce lots of fruit to ensure the survival of the species.  I have found no credible research to support this theory.

I think it is better to put your plant in its full-size pot right away, and this will avoid potential problems disturbing the roots in the future.

Lighting for your container citrus tree

Citrus trees need a minimum of 6 hours of full, direct sunlight.  If you don’t have a good southern window, you can grow citrus with a full spectrum grow light.

Potting soil for your citrus trees

The choice of potting soil is essential.  Citrus trees need very well-draining soil.  You will need to water often to keep the roots moist however they can not stay in wet soil.

Citrus trees hate mud, and these trees tend to have root rot issues if the soil is too wet.

The Best fertilizer for citrus trees in containers?

I can tell you from experience that fertilizer is important.  My lemon tree bloomed in the first few months that I got it.   I was super excited, then nothing!  NO fruit.

I discovered that I need to fertilize.

Citrus trees are high feeders, and they require a wide array of micronutrients.  The best way to ensure that your tree gives you lots of fruit is to give it the nutrients it needs.

There are many different citrus-specific fertilizers on the market, and I use Jobes Organics.  Choose your favorite and often fertilize as instructed.

Your container citrus trees will produce citrus year-round for many years indoors.  So how to grow a citrus tree in a container is very simple.  Choose the right type of trees and make sure fertilizer and have a sunny spot.

I love to hear from you.  Please let me know your favorite citrus container trees and what works well for you.

Don’t forget to check out hydroponic gardening.

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