Thursday, December 16, 2010

Growing Citrus Trees Indoors

Dwarf fruit trees are sometimes all it takes to bring the tropics indoors for the winter. The fresh scent of citrus could provide just the right pick-me-up for any stale interior, while providing all of the benefits of a garden right in the home. Growing these little trees is a bit trickier than raising the average houseplant but the yields will prove to be worth the effort!

Choosing a Citrus Tree

Your choice of tree should take into account factors like sunshine availability, space, and upkeep. Trees that produce sour fruit often require less sunlight than other species. If you’re looking for a tree that will produce edible delicious goodies, choose something like the Sunquat or Papaya, both of which produce fruit that can be eaten straight off the tree. If aesthetics are more important, the Calamondin Orange will produce fragrant flowers and sour ornamental fruit, which can be used in marmalade or left to hang for months. Before planting a tree, consider all of the possibilities: it's likely that your citrus will outlive any plant you've owned before!

Potting a Citrus Tree

Drainage is very important but easily forgotten. Those who choose to keep indoor trees often focus more on the visual design of the pot while forgetting all about functionality. If the planter you choose doesn’t have drainage holes, simply keep the tree in a simple drainable pot inside of the larger one. Make sure to place a layer of gravel or broken pottery underneath the soil, which should preferably be light and airy. Larger trees may eventually be placed on a platform with wheels, to make trimming and pruning a little easier.

Citrus Tree Upkeep

Bright, direct light is recommended for most species of dwarf citrus tree. In the summer months, these dwarf varieties can enjoy some outdoor sun. Although your indoor plant may produce plenty of pretty blossoms, not all of them will produce fruit without a gentle helping hand. If you’ve gone a couple seasons with no results, try taking a dry paintbrush and gently transferring pollen from one flower to the next. By keeping your citrus happy and healthy, you’ll be enjoying limitless fruit all year long from the comfort of your own home!

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