Midday Fix: Citrus growing tips from Tu Bloom

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Tu Bloom

Tu's Tips:

Pick a variety that is manageable to your space:
You can grow most varieties, but you would need to bring the containers inside when the weather drops right before frost. The plants should be moderately cared for throughout the winter season in a well lit room. Most varieties can get pretty big, but select miniatures are always great for the urban garden spaces that are containerized here in the Midwest. The following varieties are great for container gardens: Meyer Lemon, Kumquat, Lime (Kaffir, or Dwarf Bearss Seedless Lime), Minneola Tangelo (a grapefruit and tangerine cross), Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange (seedless), Calamondin orange (super easy to grow - tart small 1-2” diameter sized fruits that are great for cooking and juicing).

Picking a Planter and Good Soil:
You will want a container that is about one size larger than the plant you purchase. Citrus plants love well drained soil and do not like to sit in water, so make sure you have plenty of drainage in the planter that you choose. Select a good specialized citrus mix. Often times cacti/succulent soil can also work with these plants as well.

Pollinate the flowers:
Natural insects (i.e. bees) and wind will help polinate when your trees are outdoor. If your tree flowers indoors before, it is okay to bring them outside. You can increase your fruit yields by helping pollinate your citrus plant. I often like using a small painter’s soft bristle brush. Q-tips work well also.

Watering and Sunlight:
Keep your plant consistently moist and well watered, but not soggy. Remember that they do not like sitting in water or being too wet. The plant loves sunlight, so placing it in a south or west location is ideal.  A good 6-8 hours of sun will also suffice.

Winter Ready?
When temperature starts to drop, make sure to prepare your plant for its indoor phase by placing it in a shadier spot in your garden for about 2-3 weeks before you bring the plant in; this will prevent the leaves from dropping (which often happens) when you abruptly change up its growing environment. No worries though, if this happens… baby your plant (be careful not to over water) and after a few weeks you will begin to see new leaves emerge.

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