Homegrown citrus fruits in colder climates? It’s not so far-fetched as you think! Most varieties of citrus grown commercially in warm climates are too large to be grown indoors. But there are many small or dwarf varieties that can grow well as potted plants – even in cold, northern winters.
Choosing Your Dwarf Citrus Tree
Here are five popular species of dwarf citrus trees available at Citrus.com that make great houseplants with a little care:
- Dwarf Orange Trees. When it comes to dwarf citrus trees, Florida oranges often spring to mind first! The Dwarf Washington Navel Orange tree is one of the most popular citrus trees available because they are so easy to grow. The Dwarf Moro Blood Orange produces medium-sized sweet, juicy, blood-colored oranges with little to no seeds, while the Dwarf Valencia Orange Tree produces oranges with a thin, golden rind and flesh that is remarkably sweet, juicy and tender when ripe.
- Dwarf Lemon Trees. So pretty and fragrant, a dwarf lemon tree is a wonderful addition to your home garden! Varieties of dwarf lemon include the Dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon Tree and the Dwarf Eureka Lemon Tree. If you’ve ever wondered how to grow a Meyer lemon tree in a pot, it may surprise you to know Citrus.com offers this gourmet variety of lemon as a hanging basket! For more “traditional” lemons, the Eureka is a great choice.
- Dwarf Lime Trees. Growing lime trees in pots is easier than you think! Two popular varieties of indoor lime tree are the Dwarf Persian potted lime tree (which produces a more traditional lime like you’d find in stores) and the Key Lime Tree. Key lime trees produce those lovely, sweet little limes that give the famous pie its name.
- Dwarf Mandarin/Tangerine Trees. The Dwarf Clementine Tree and Dwarf Tangerine Trees are both types of mandarins. All produce smaller, sweet-tangy, easy-to-peel fruit that’s a hit with young and old alike for it’s lunchbox friendliness.
- Dwarf Fruit Cocktail Trees. Also known as fruit salad trees, the dwarf fruit cocktail tree produces two similar types of fruit on the same potted tree; for instance, Meyer Lemons and Key Limes.
Growing Dwarf Citrus Trees
Indoor citrus plants grow best with a daytime temperature is around 65°F and a nighttime temperature around 55-60°F. They need some direct sun for at least part of the day – if possible, move citrus plants outside during the summer to take advantage of better growing conditions and extra light. (Another advantage to keeping potted citrus trees is their maneuverability!)
Here are a few other things to keep in mind if you want your dwarf citrus plants to thrive:
- Use a potting mix and fertilizer for citrus trees in pots.
- Choose a fertilizer made especially for acid-loving plants and mix at half the recommended strength.
- Fertilize the plant only when it is actively growing.
- Since citrus plants prefer acid conditions, use peat in the potting mix to help keep pH levels down.
- Keep an eye out for pests.
- Make sure the leaves are kept clean by periodically washing them (pay special attention to the undersides as well as the tops of leaves).
- To treat for insects, check garden centers for products currently approved for use on houseplants (insecticidal soaps are good).
- Help your tree to self-pollinate.
- The great thing about citrus trees is that they’re self-pollinating, so you don’t need to get more than one unless you want to. However, trees kept indoors all the time miss getting help from insects in the pollination process, so if your tree is producing flowers but not fruit, shake the flowers gently or flick them with your fingers to help spread the pollen from flower to flower.