Why grow citrus in pots
Citrus are one of those plants that I think are a must in the garden.
They have beautiful dark green foliage all year, sensuously perfumed flowers at various times of the year and then produce fabulously colourful edible fruit. They really are the most perfect garden specimen.
However not everyone has the space or the climate to grow citrus in the ground. The answer is often to grow them in a container of some kind. So if you have limited space, want an attractive productive plant for a balcony or paved area or something that came be moved to access a more favourable microclimate, then growing citrus in pots is the answer.
Citrus are so versatile and can be simply grown as a three dimension plant or trained into an Espalier or grown as a standard.
All citrus grow very well in pots, but the standard size plants will need to be put into the ground after a few years, whilst the dwarf varieties will happily grow and produce in a pot for up to 20 years, with regular maintenance and repotting every 4 to 5 years.
Dwarf citrus are grafted onto a dwarfing rootstock that will see them grow to only 1.5 to 2 meters rather than the 3 to 4 meters of the regular varies. In a pot the dwarf varieties rarely grow above 1.5m. Selecting what varieties to grow.
There is such a large variety of citrus available for purchase these days that I like to narrow it down a bit before spending enormous amounts of money. So firstly list the citrus varieties that you will use- no point in growing a cumquat if you do not like the taste, better to put your money and effort into something you will use, like a lemon.
Do some research to determine if the varieties you have listed will grow in your area.
• Most citrus varieties require full sun and the hotter the better. In a temperate climate a north facing balcony or paved area is ideal.
• The more tropical the origin of the variety, the more warmth and protection they need.
• Some, like the Australian finger lime, do quite well in semi shade.
• Citrus dislike cold weather but some varieties can withstand frost once established.
• Do you have a position in which to put them where they will thrive?
Now work out how much space you have and how many pots you can accommodate in the area you want to put them. If this space is limited or finances don’t allow you to purchase all the varieties you want to grow, select which ones you could not live without.
For me it is lemons. I use lemons everyday either to drink, in cooking or cleaning, so I like to have several varieties of lemon ie Eureka, Lisbon and Meyer, which allow me to harvest lemons all year. Now check out your local hardware store or nursery to see what varieties they carry or order your selection online.
Next week, Im going to show you how start off your citrus plant in pots, to make sure that you prepare your plants properly and get them growing in the right way.
Have you potted up your own citrus plant? I would love you to show me, so post a picture over on the Facebook page