Cultivating Citrus

By: Becky Wheeler

The Fruit Maven

Becky Wheeler has tasted more than 300 varieties of fruit. Her popular website draws visitors from more than 150 countries…

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‘Variegated Pink’ lemon, a sport of ‘Eureka’ with green and white leaves and striped immature fruit. Photo: Becky Wheeler

Citrus trees thrive in warm, temperate regions. Provide a sunny, frost and wind-free location, ideally with a southern exposure. If in doubt about where to plant your citrus, leave the tree in its plastic container and place it in the spot you have in mind. Watch closely and water as necessary. After a week or two you should be able to tell whether or not it’s happy

Gardeners in more challenging climates, or without a plot of land, can easily grow a happy, healthy, and productive citrus tree indoors. Key elements for success are good light, adequate humidity indoors in the winter, well-drained potting soil, proper nutrition, and consistent watering.

The rosy flesh of a sliced ‘Variegated Pink’ lemon. Photo: Becky Wheeler

The ‘Variegated Pink’ lemon is a gorgeous plant that does well indoors. The trees are slightly larger than Meyer lemon and are very attractive with variegation in the foliage and young fruit with flower buds and shoots of new growth tinged fuchsia.


Here are some general guidelines for citrus cultivation:

  • In the ground, water deeply once a week.
  • Outdoors, water containers thoroughly once or twice a week.
  • Indoors, water enough to saturate the container approximately every 5-7 days, allowing the top of the soil to dry slightly between between waterings.

Consistency is the key with citrus watering! As with so many plants, citrus trees like soil that is moist but never soggy. How often to water will vary, depending on soil porosity, tree size, and temperature.

For further information, tips, and a source for purchasing citrus plants visit Pacific Horticulture supporter Four Winds Growers or contact your local independent nursery.