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Citrus Plants: the Right Care for Rich-Bearing Crops

The location is important

Citrus plants are not hardy and therefore must be protected from frost during the winter months. So it depends on the winter and the summer location whether the citrus grows, blossoms and fruits. An unsuccessful overwintering regularly affects the growth in the spring and summer. Then the disappointment is great when the harvest is poor or fails completely.

To make sure that the overwintering is successful, you should ensure that the citrus plant is placed in a cool and bright winter location. Warm living spaces are not suitable for overwintering. There the citrus plant would get too little light at high temperatures. The dry air could also be a burden. In a cool area with temperatures between 5° and 10°C the plant is in hibernation and it can cope with the low light supply during the winter in Europe. The overwintering area needs windows or plant lighting; it won’t work without light.

The overwintering should be as short as possible. As a rule, the time from mid-October to mid-April is sufficient. It is even shorter in mild regions. Outside in the fresh air and in direct sunlight a citrus plant can get its fill of the solar energy it needs for developing flowers and new shoots.

This is best done at a location that provides plenty of direct sunlight. Make sure that the plant is actually illuminated by the sun. Partial shade is not a solution for the citrus plant. In the case of small plants, make sure that they are not shaded by larger plants or objects. I place my smaller plants on tables or similar objects to keep them in the sun as long as possible. Here is another tip: if you have a choice between morning and evening sunshine for the location of your citrus plant(s), the morning sun is preferable. When the citrus tree has sunshine in the morning, it is less long in the cool shade. The shade in the afternoon and evening is usually connected with warmer air.

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Citrus care

In addition to a suitable location, citrus-friendly care is the next prerequisite for rich-bearing crops. This is easy because citrus plants are easy, that is if the overwintering has been successful. Watering is carried out only when the soil has also dried in the deeper layers. This can be found out using a hygrometer or testing the soil with your finger. During the growing season, the citrus plant in the container must be regularly fertilised. It is best to use Instant Citrus fertiliser from Lubera, which contains the ideal nutrient combination and, above all, an exact composition of trace elements. Fertilise weekly from May to August, but only if the plant also needs to be watered. Every two to three years the citrus plant should be repotted. It is important to use a pot with drainage holes as well as a permeable soil, which can also be purchased at Lubera.

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Flowers and pollination in citrus plants

At the latest in April or May, the first buds appear in the leaf axles. It is then that you can also start to look forward to the citrus fruits. The buds grow and the magnificent flowers appear in May and June. The flowering behaviour of the citrus varieties is quite different. While the Four Seasons lemon has made a name for itself with its year-round flowering activity, the oranges "only" produce two flowering phases per year, one in the spring and one in late summer. Kumquats or limes are even more reserved. In exchange, however, the flowering result is all the more exquisite.

Fortunately, citrus plants are self-pollinating, so no one has to "play bee". From every flower there is also a fruit set, which starts its "career" as a small, green bead. During the summer, these small beads become significant, young fruits. It may be that the plant discards some of its fruit buds. This has to do with the fact that younger, grafted plants develop more fruit buds than they can feed.

Dr. Dominik Große Holtforth

 
 
 
 

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