Home Gardening Blog

The Pleasures of Growing Citus Indoors

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The Pleasures of Growing Citus Indoors

Christmas is over and we can’t get outside to plant for a few more months.  I decided to try something to help the winter blues. I bought a Citrus x meyeri (Meyer lemon) tree to brighten up my house. If you have been in the Kemper Center, there is a Citrus ‘Ponderosa (giant lemon) in the West Window. When it is blooming, it reminds you of spring and that was my inspiration.

My tree stands about 20” tall and loaded with blooms. The smell fills my living room. Citrus plants love full sun so put it in a south facing window. It’s going outside in my front yard for the summer. Keep close watch so the leaves don’t burn in full sun. 8-12 hours of sun is needed for a healthy tree.

Be careful watering, it hates wet feet. You may want to put gravel in the saucer to help produce humidity; the gravel catches the excess water.  Keep the soil moist but not wet. The best water gauge is and always will be, your finger. Stick your finger in the soil up to your second knuckle. If your fingertip feels damp, wait. If dry, water untill water  comes out the bottom of the pot. To keep your lemon tree happy while indoors in the winter, mist their leaves. As far as insects or disease, I haven’t seen anything on my lemon tree. The more common indoor pests are mealybugs, scale, whitefly and mites.  Since there are edible fruits you don’t want to use any chemicals, go organic. I recommend wiping the leaves with warm water, alcohol on cotton swabs or a soapy water solution in a spray bottle.

They like to be fed regularly in the growing season, spring to fall. Use a high nitrogen fertilizer or a slow release all-purpose fertilizer. Citrus trees also like liquid fertilizers like fish emulsion. Your lemon tree will fruit in the winter while indoors, but it may take up to a year to ripen. If you are lucky and conditions are right, it will fruit in the winter and summer. Citrus fruit only ripen while on the tree so wait until it’s ripe before picking. Meyer lemon fruit is egg yolk yellow and soft to the touch. When the fruit is ready, use a knife or scissor to cut it off so you don’t damage the plant. Meyer lemon fruit is sweeter than other lemons. The thin skin is tasty which makes it great for cooking.

We can help answer your gardening questions. By phone, call the Horticulture Answer Service (M-F from 9-Noon @ 314-577-5143) or visit the “doctors” at the Plant Doctor Desk (Monday-Saturday from 10-3.) in the Center for Home Gardening.

Debbie Kirkpatrick, Kemper Horticulture Assistant

| Categories: Winter | Tags: citrus, indoor plants | View Count: (4495) | Return
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