Skip to Content

How to Plant Citrus Trees – Top Tips!

How to Plant Citrus Trees – Top Tips!

Many citrus trees, including oranges, lemons, kumquats, mandarins, grapefruit, limes, tangerines, and satsumas. They each have their own needs and have one thing in common.

They will only grow outside, in USDA zones 8b to 11. However, zone 8b is reserved for tangerines, and kumquats only grow well in zones nine and ten.

Of course, planting citrus trees also means your plant needs to be sited in the correct location. It also will need suitable soil and nutrients to grow into a healthy, fruit-producing tree.

Read on to learn how to plant citrus trees so that they flourish.


How to Plant Citrus Trees?

Select a site in your yard for your citrus plant that gets full sun yet is blocked from the wind and drains well. Dig a hole 8 to 10 inches bigger than its rootball before filling it with water. Get it from the container, and replant it at the same level it was at in the pot. Place dirt around the plant, tamping down on it to avoid having air pockets. 


Preparing the Soil for Planting Citrus Trees

Wherever you plant your citrus tree, the soil it is in is essential. It should be loamy, drain well, and not be in an area that gets wet and stays wet.

Commercial potting soil that contains peat, compost, perlite, or vermiculite, is lofty enough to drain well. If you have these items already, you can make a mix of them for your new plants.

Citrus trees prefer pH levels of 5.5 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic. You can increase the soil’s pH by adding lime.

To decrease the pH, add sulfur. Test the pH of your soil before planting, which is another step toward a healthy tree.

Do not fertilize your citrus trees when you first plant them in the soil. Give them three to four months to be established first.

When you do fertilize them, use a fertilizer blend explicitly formulated for citrus trees.


Where to Plant Citrus Trees

Citrus trees love sunshine and will do best if you can plant them where they get sun from daylight to dark. However, they will tolerate light shade.

They also need a wind block because when they bloom, their delicate flowers will need protection. The fruit will, too, once the tree starts growing.

Plant full-size citrus trees at least 15 to 20 feet away from buildings, lot lines, septic systems, power lines, and each other. Dwarf varieties of citrus trees need from eight to ten feet between them.

Your trees need room to grow below and above the ground. Planning for their future growth when learning how to plant citrus trees will ensure they have that space.


When to Plant Citrus Trees

Planting citrus trees in the spring is the best schedule for this plant. However, if you let the frost date pass first, you’re guaranteed with best results.

Of course, you can plant them anytime, but they will be well established before fall and cooler weather if you plant them early in the growing season.

Keep in mind when planting in the spring that the trees may not be fully leaved out. This could lead you to grow your tree in the wrong place if not considered.

Also, be aware that the oak you so love will cast a long shadow over your citrus plant.


Taking Care of Your Citrus Trees After Planting

You will need to water your citrus trees deeply for the first three to four months after planting them. This means letting them dry out, then water them until the ground is saturated.

This time will help them grow new roots and get acclimated to their location. Then, at the end of about four months, you can fertilize your plant.

You should use a fertilizer that is formulated for citrus plants. This is a blend that has a balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.

However, your citrus plants also need boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.

Citrus plants like acidic soil and peat moss mixed with the soil in which they are planted can naturally increase the acidity of the ground.


A Note of Caution on How to Plant Citrus Trees

When buying citrus plants, you should only buy from a certified dealer.

Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas are very strict about citrus that enters the state due to insects and pathogens that have harmed crops in the past.

Some varieties of citrus are hardier for a particular area than others are. Your local agricultural extension office can answer that question and more on how to plant citrus trees.

Tangerines are a perfect example. If you live in USDA zone 8b, you may not grow oranges, but you can grow tangerines.

They are hardier and can take the cooler climate of North Florida, Central Texas, and other areas that fall within this zone.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Plant Citrus Trees


How do I prepare my citrus trees for winter?

Suppose you are expecting a freeze in your area, water the tree heavily, as well as the area around it. You can also bank dirt around its trunk to protect the root system. And you can also drape a sheet over the plant, which will keep the frost from forming on the tree.


Is it possible to grow a citrus plant in a pot or container?

You can, and it is best to use one of the dwarf varieties of citrus plants. Like other large plants you might have, they can be taken outside during the warmer months and kept safe from the elements in the winter. This is a perfect way to have a citrus plant if you are unable to grow them outside.