How to Grow Citrus in Pots

Why buy citrus fruits at the store when you can grown your own with this citrus planting tutorial?

How to Grow Citrus in Pots
How to Grow Citrus in Pots
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Do you love lemons, oranges, and grapefruits? Now, imagine that you could pick these citrus fruits right from your garden! If you constantly crave the acidic taste of a juicy orange, then this How to Grow Citrus in Pots is a must. This gardening tutorial demonstrates how to plant and care for a citrus tree. Whether you're living in the always-sunny California or always-dry Utah, these planting instructions will help you successfully grow a citrus plant right in your backyard. So, every time you'd like a citrus fruit, you'll just have to step outside and pick it from your tree!

MaterialsNature Material

Primary TechniqueGardening


Project TypeMake a Project

Materials List

  • Fiskars PowerGear Large Pruner
  • Fiskars Big Grip Trowel (400S)


How to Plant Citrus

  1. Soak the roots in water overnight to rehydrate the plant before moving into a container.

  2. Select a container with several drainage holes and enough room to allow the plant’s root system to grow. Don’t make the pot too large, or it will be more difficult to control the soil moisture.

  3. Repot your citrus tree about every 3 years. Use a good quality potting mix, not regular gardening soil.  Avoid soils with fertilizers already added. Feed the soil yourself with fertilizers designed for citrus, and follow directions carefully.

How to Care for Citrus Tree

  1. Dwarf citrus trees grow best with 8 or more hours of sun and some wind protection. Water citrus trees so the soil is moist, but never soggy. Often yellow leaves are a sign that the tree has excessive water and soggy roots. Consider buying a water meter, so you can maintain proper moisture levels.

  2. In climates that freeze, move your citrus tree indoors for winter. Gradually prepare the tree by letting it sit in a shadier place for a couple weeks before moving it indoors. (Reverse the process in the spring when gradually bringing the tree back out.)

  3. Indoors, place your citrus tree in a sunny window with southern or western exposure. Add grow lights if you receive less than 6 hours of light daily. Be sure to keep the tree away from heating vents.

  4. Pruning citrus trees with a bypass pruner encourages growth and allows you to maintain a nice shape. You can prune throughout the year, except in the winter for outdoor plants.

  5. If you live in a moderate climate and there’s a chance of an unexpected frost, wait until the danger has passed before pruning your tree. You don’t want to stimulate new growth susceptible to the cold temperatures.

  6. It can take anywhere from 6-12 months to go from blossoms to fruit, depending on the type of citrus tree. When harvesting fruit, look for citrus that is heavy and deeply colored. The best way to see if the fruit is ripe is to taste it. Start picking from the bottom of the tree and work upwards.

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