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Where to Plant

Citrus trees are subtropical plants. They can survive temperatures of 28 degrees F for several hours without permanent damage. Most will not survive temperatures below 28 degrees F for any significant duration.

If you live in USDA Hardiness Zone 8, you may be able to, depending on your location and the variety you choose, plant your citrus tree outside. However, you will need to protect your tree from frost and freezing during extreme cold periods.

If you live in USDA Zone 7 or North, for survival of your tree, we strongly recommend you plant in a movable container which will allow you to move your citrus tree indoors during the winter. You can be as creative as you like in finding a pot for your tree. It can be decorative or just functional.

How to Plant

Planting in Ground

  1. Choose your planting site. Trees should be planted 15 feet apart and 15 feet away from house or other large trees. Citrus trees do not like standing water. They prefer sandy soils. A site that receives full sun works best, but at least 50% sun is needed. Planting on the southern side of a house, lake or other structure that offers wind protection will help protect your tree from cold.
  2. Clear away weeds and grass. Dig a hole 8 – 10 inches larger than the root ball of the tree.
  3. IMPORTANT: Fill hole with water.
  4. Remove tree from pot and place in water filled hole. Plant at the level it was grown in the nursery (the same level as the top of the root ball). Do not put the bud union (graft) below the soil.
  5. Add soil back to the hole filling all air pockets under and around the root ball.
  6. Newly planted trees should be watered regularly for the first three months, if rains are inadequate. The soil should dry down between watering.
  7. DO NOT MIX FERTILIZER IN HOLE BEFORE PLANTING. Fertilize every 3 – 4 months (November, March, June, and August). Use a citrus fertilizer at a rate of 1 – 2 lbs. For every year of age. Fertilizer should be applied around drip line of tree. Do not put up next to the trunk. Fertilizer should contain minor elements, not just N-P-K. You can also use slow release fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the bag.

Planting in Containers – Choose a container that is 5 to 15 gallon size.

  1. Select a soil mix. You want a well-drained soil, not heavy topsoil. We use 30% Canadian Peat and 70% composted Pine Bark. You can add sand if you want.
  2. Place soil in bottom of pot so that the tree is placed in the pot with the existing soil level at the top of the new soil level.
  3. Finish filling pot with soil, taking care to pack well so all air is removed.
  4. Water thoroughly. Watering will probably be more frequent since your tree is not planted in the ground. Let soil dry between watering. If tree stands in water, it will get root disease.
  5. Fertilize every 3 – 4 months using a citrus fertilizer as described above. Again, minor elements are key to a good citrus fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers work great with container trees.

Cold Weather Care

While some citrus varieties are cold tolerant, most citrus is not. Citrus is a sub-tropical plant. Regardless of where you live, it may be necessary to protect your tree during freezing conditions.

If the plant is still in a container, set the plant indoors if there is the possibility of a frost or freeze.

If a freeze is forecast, cover the tree with a sheet or blanket. Covering should be removed when outside temperature reaches 36 degrees or more. If several freezing nights are expected, you can build a “mini-greenhouse” out of PVC pipe around your tree and then cover with blankets or plastic. This would not have to be removed until cold weather was past. Just don’t let the covering touch the leaves.

Some leaf droppage can be expected following a freeze, but this should be a temporary situation.

NEVER prune the tree after a hard freeze until the new growth is well underway. If no new growth appears on the tree by late spring, the tree has sustained severe damage. Any new growth above the graft is new flush and is a good sign the tree has survived the freeze and should continue to produce. Any new growth below the graft (bud union) will be citrus rootstock and should be removed.

If you think your tree has a disease or other problem, contact your local county extension agent for a diagnosis.

When to Water

Newly planted trees should be watered regularly for the first three months, if rains are inadequate. The soil should dry down between waterings.

For trees in containers, watering will need to be more frequent since tree isn’t planted in the ground. Let soil dry between watering. If tree stands in water, it will get root disease.

When to Fertilize

Fertilize every 3 – 4 months (November, March, June, August). Use a citrus fertilizer at a rate of 1 – 2 lbs. for every year of age. Fertilizer should be applied around drip line of tree. Do not put up next to the trunk. Slow release fertilizers work well and can be used less frequently; follow the instructions of the manufacturer.

How much sunlight is required?

Citrus trees require full sun year round. It is best to plant your tree such that it will get as much available sunlight as possible. If you live in a northern climate where you must move your tree indoors, try to place in a sunny location. Morning sun is the most beneficial for your tree. The south side of your house will usually provide the most sunlight.

Pruning Tips

Citrus trees respond well to pruning. You can do it almost anytime. It is best to prune when the tree is not blooming to avoid cutting off future fruit production.

Download Pruning Guide

Recipes

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • Crushed Ice
  • Water

Place sugar at bottom of 12-16 oz. container with a tight-fitting lid. Squeeze juice from lemon (using a juicer makes it easier to extract all the juice) and pour into glass over sugar. Fill container ¾ full of crushed ice. Add water to fill. Place cap tightly onto container and shake well.

Note: Some sugar will remain undissolved at the bottom of the container. Use straw to stir as desired while drinking.

Easy Key Lime Pie

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
  • 1/2 Cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 prepared 9” graham cracker crust
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • Lime zest, if desired

Preheat oven to 325°.
Beat egg yolks until well combined.
Add condensed milk and lime juice and whisk until well blended.
Pour mixture into pie shell.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool on wire rack, then place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to serving.

When pie has chilled, combine sour cream and powdered sugar. Spread evenly over pie with spatula . Sprinkle with lime zest if desired.
-or-
Pipe whipped cream around outer edge of pie for a decorative border and place a dollop of whipped cream in the center of the pie. Sprinkle lime zest onto whipped cream as desired.

Serve Chilled

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Raw Olive Tapenade

  • 1 cup olives, pits removed (green or black olives, or a combination of both)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 Tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Capers, if desired

Place all ingredients into container of food processor. Process for a few seconds until ingredients are blended but not smooth. Serve with crackers or flat bread. Use as a spread on sandwiches for a unique taste treat.

Goji Berry, Antioxidant Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups Almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons goji berries
  • 1 cup frozen berries
    (strawberries, blueberries, etc)
  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen

Blend until creamy. Enjoy!

No Fuss Blueberry Shortcake

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/8 Tsp. almond extract
  • 2 ( 12 oz.) cans refrigerated
  • Buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse sugar
  • Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400°
Combine blueberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and extract in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until bubbly and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
Lightly grease baking sheet. Separate biscuits and flatten into 3” circles. Place on baking sheet, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and press sugar onto biscuits.
Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
Using only 10 biscuits, place 1 onto serving plate,spoon blueberry mixture on top, cover each with remaining biscuit.
Serve with whipped cream.

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    Add the incredibly fresh, citrus scent of lemon blossoms to your home by growing a lemon tree! Fragrant white flowers bloom among attractive, glossy green leaves. Lemons begin to appear in the spring, and as they mature they help to provide visual interest for the remainder of the year. Lemon trees are extremely hardy and grow well indoors while providing edible fruit to enjoy in beverages, in cooking, and as garnishes. The included, color-coordinated metal pot with handles makes it easy to move your tree from one location to another.

    • This Item can not ship to the following states: AZ, CA, LA, TX, FL
    • Fun and fast-growing
    • Self-pollinating, so only one tree is needed to produce fruit
    • Glossy evergreen foliage provides the background for vivid yellow fruit
    • Excellent teacher appreciation and housewarming gift
    • Lemon trees adapt well to container culture and only require transplanting to a larger, well-draining container as needed
    • Prefer sunny location
    • Grows 6-8’ tall
    • Plant 15’ apart
    Sale!
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    • This Item can not ship to the following states: AZ, CA, LA, TX, FL
    • Fun and fast-growing
    • Self-pollinating, so only one tree is needed to produce fruit
    • Glossy evergreen foliage provides the background for oval-shaped green fruit
    • Excellent teacher appreciation and housewarming gifts
    • Lime trees adapt well to container culture and only require transplanting to a larger, well-draining container as needed
    • Prefer sunny location
    • Grows 6-8’ tall
    • Plant 15’ apart
    Sale!
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    Now you, too, can enjoy the incredible taste of fresh oranges picked right from your own tree.  Fragrant white flowers bloom in clusters among attractive, glossy, green leaves. Oranges begin to appear in the spring, and as they mature they help to provide visual interest. The edible fruit can be peeled and eaten, squeezed for juice, or sliced and enjoyed in beverages, in cooking, and as garnishes. The included, color-coordinated metal pot with handles makes it easy to move your tree from one location to another.

    • This Item can not ship to the following states: AZ, CA, LA, TX, FL
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    • Self-pollinating, so only one tree is needed to produce fruit
    • Prune by pinching back the tips of new growth toward the interior branches. Remove any new growth or stems near the soil
    • Orange trees adapt well to container culture and only require transplanting to a larger, well-draining container as needed
    • Fruit ripens only when on the tree
    • Harvest when the fruit has reached its full color and is slightly soft when pressure is applied to the rind
    • Prefer sunny location
    • Grows 6-8’ tall
    • Plant 15’ apart
    Sale!