Who doesn’t love a big juicy Orange or bunches of yellow Lemons hanging by the dozen in your lawn?
Citrus fruits are always a treat to taste, and their colors fill up any place with vibrant yellows and oranges.
Everyone can go buy a dozen oranges from the supermarket but growing them, yourself is the real deal.
If you’ve grown a little Citrus tree from seed and grafted it, or if you’ve got the plant from the nursery, and you need to plant it, there are a few things you must know.
You can either plant the Citrus tree into the ground or in a big pot that’ll support a mid-sized tree.
Whichever of the two you choose; both have their specific rules to go about if you want your Citrus tree to thrive.
How to Plant a Citrus Tree?
When planting a citrus tree in the ground, dig a hole 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) wider than the root ball and place the root ball so the top of it is level with the ground. Put soil to fill the hole and water well. When potting in a container, use a well-draining organic mix and pot the plant as high as possible in the pot so roots can grow downwards.
Planting Citrus Tree in the Ground
If you’ve got a Citrus tree that is mature enough to be planted in the ground to be a big tree, here are all the things you need to care for.
The first thing you’ll keep in mind is the time of the year you are planting the new tree.
Spring’s undoubtedly the best time for you for planting Citrus trees in the ground. When the danger of frost has passed, when the new growth is sprouting, and when the heat of the summer is not yet here.
Spring gives the tree enough time to establish its roots into the ground.
Secondly, you must decide the right place to plant your Citrus tree.
This is a sort of one-time decision as you cannot move a tree back and forth once it starts growing in the ground. So, make this decision wisely.
Similarly, you must not plant a tree near a wall or building, and a distance of 15 feet should be maintained.
Well-draining soil is a must for Citrus trees. You must not plant your tree anywhere that stays waterlogged most of the time, as the tree has no chances of surviving there.
You might have a chance if you plant the tree on a mound that keeps the roots safe from getting overly damp and rotting.
Dig a hole that is just 8-10 inches wider than the initial pot of the tree. You should not dig too deep because the graft site on your tree must not get buried beneath the soil.
Place the root ball inside the hole while taking special care that no roots are damaged in the process.
If the graft site on the tree sits too deep under the soil surface, put some soil beneath the root ball to bring it higher.
Once the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface or just an inch lower, fill the hole back with soil.
Gently dab on all sides of the root ball to push the soil down and eliminate all air pockets.
Water the newly planted tree heartily so that the soil on the sides shrinks down to fill the air pockets, then add the extra soil to level it up.
Planting Citrus Tree in a Pot
One of the most important things to consider when potting Citrus trees in a container, is the potting mix. It means everything. These plants love a well-draining, nutrient-rich mix.
Citrus plants also like soil on the sandy side, so you can add a bit of sand to improve the drainage and aeration.
You should look for a large pot that can support healthy root growth and allow the tree to grow big.
Only use a pot that features a drainage hole. There’s no other way about it.
Terracotta pots are recommended over other materials. Place a rock or chip of a broken pot over the drainage hole so the soil does not block the drainage hole.
Pour soil at the bottom of the pot first, so when you place the root ball over it, the top of the root ball should be level with the top of the container.
Pour soil on the sides of the root ball to fill the pot up. Keep gently dabbing the soil to remove air pockets.
Fill the soil up, but not to the brim of the pot. The soil level should be 1-2 inches lower than the pot’s brim.
Water it well until water flows out from the drainage hole.
Best Soil for Citrus Trees
The soil must also be well-draining for healthy root growth.
Potting mixes with perlite, peat moss, compost, and vermiculite are perfect as long as they’ve got good water drainage.
If you feel the soil is too heavy, you can add a bit of sand or bark chips to increase aeration.
Citrus Tree Care after Planting it into the Ground
If you’ve planted your citrus tree in the ground, there’s a bit of extra care you’ll have to practice to keep the new trees protected.
For the first 3-4 weeks after planting, you should not allow the soil around the tree to dry up. Keep the soil moist all the time until the tree develops a root system that’s well-established.
You will need to dig a shallow basin around the tree to keep it supplied with adequate moisture for at least a year. If it’s a rainy season, the basin is unnecessary.
Start fertilizing your citrus tree only after 2-3 months of growing in the ground. Until that time, keep the small tree safe from damage from rodents, insects, or herbivores.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.