Citrus are a perennial favourite in Australia, with most back yards having the traditional lemon tree tucked in somewhere. With their glossy foliage and delightfully fragrant flowers, there is certainly no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy having your own.
Citrus love a sunny position, with at least half a day of sun, preferably afternoon sun. Limes in particular require a warm position here in Melbourne as they come from milder climates. They love a well-drained soil with protection from strong winds. Citrus can be grown in pots, with smaller varieties being particularly suitable. Just make sure you have a pot at least 40cm in diameter, and use good quality potting mix.
Citrus can be planted all year. All citrus are grafted to make them more resistant to diseases. Prepare the soil by digging in some good quality compost or manure. When planting be sure that the tree is planted to the same level as it was in the pot. Don’t build up the soil around the trunk of the tree. If the soil is heavy clay, build a mound to plant into to aid drainage. Water in well with Gill’s Plant Starter or a seaweed based fertiliser.
Water your plant regularly after planting during the establishment period. Once established, water well. This will vary according to the weather conditions and your soil type. Regular summer watering will help good fruit production. Plants in pots will require more watering, as they dry out more quickly. It may even be every day during summer.
Feed with fruit and citrus food every 6-8 weeks, starting in August and continuing until March.
Citrus are shallow rooted and benefit from regular mulching, especially during summer. Water and fertilise well before applying mulch and again, keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree.
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