Citrus are so deliciously fragrant, one smell and you will have to have one.
The PNW is not ideal for growing citrus. We are just too wet and too cold to plant them in the ground. BUT, we can grow them in containers. With a little extra care the rewards are worth the efforts. They will not grow to be the large trees they are in Southern California due to the limited root space in the container. The fruit will be full size and the yield is perfect for the home gardener! Citrus will need to be moved indoors during the Winter months to protect from frost. During this transition the plant will need to be placed outside during the day and moved indoors at night for one week to acclimate to it’s new environment.
Citrus can be moved outside after all danger of frost has passed or when the nights are consistently 50 degrees or above. For us this is usually around May 1st. But pay close attention to the forecasts and be prepared to move your citrus indoors in case temps drop.
WHILE OUTSIDE YOUR CITRUS WILL NEED……
- Full sun – At least 8 hours of sunlight each day.
- Regular water – Allow the soil surface to dry between waterings but do not allow the plant to dry out completely. Do not allow the roots to sit in water. Be sure there is proper drainage.
- Fertilize – Feed your citrus regularly during this growing season. We recommend Citrus Tone by Espoma.
Move Citrus indoors before the first frost. This is usually around the middle of October. Be sure to check forecasts to ensure your plant does not get nipped by cold. Before moving your citrus indoors be sure to check for signs of pests. Pests are much easier to control outdoors. Aphids, spider mites, and scale are common problems. Aphids can usually be washed off with water or insecticidal soap. Spider Mites can be controlled with Mite X very easily. Scale can be a bit harder. Try washing the tops and bottoms of the leaves with rubbing alcohol and water. Neem oil is also an effective method. There will always be some leaf drop during this transition.
WHILE INDOORS YOUR CITRUS WILL NEED…….
- Light – Place the citrus in front of a bright south facing window or under a grow light for 6 to 8 hours each day.
- Regular water – Allow the surface to dry out between waterings. Usually once per week. Do not allow the roots to sit in water, allow the water to completely drain out.
- Look for signs of over watering, such as leaf drop and fruit drop.
- Do not fertilize during the Winter months.
- Hand pollination may be necessary using a small paint brush, move pollen from flower to flower since the bees are not available to take care of this process.