Homes and Garden Journal

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Dwarf Fruit Trees: How To Grow Citrus Indoors

dwarf citrusIf you enjoy gardening, you understand the satisfaction of successfully growing a new type of plant.  A relatively unknown and often under-appreciated variety of plant are dwarf fruit trees.

More and more gardeners are enjoying growing these small trees with excellent results.  Even if you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry.  Indoor citrus trees are easy to grow indoors, even in the smallest of spaces.

Types of Dwarf Fruit Trees

There are several types of indoor citrus trees you can grow in your home.  They are container plants, and for the most part grow no taller than four feet.  Yet, the fruit yield is surprisingly large.  It’s not uncommon to realize a five or six pound crop from most varieties year after year.

Probably the most popular of these trees is the Meyer lemon.  It’s prolific, easy care, and adds a fragrant aroma to your home. We’ve had a Meyer lemon tree for eight years and even though we use quite a few lemons in cooking, rarely have we needed to buy them.  Another popular and widely available choice is the dwarf lime, which yields the exact type of limes you’d find at your local supermarket.

Oranges and tangerines are the other two most popular varieties.  While we’ve never owned an indoor tangerine tree, our three year old dwarf orange specimen has fruited two crops, and the oranges are juicy and sweet.  There are other types as well, but we suggest starting with one of the more common varieties and venturing from there.

Caring For Your Indoor Citrus Tree

If you buy your tree from a reputable source, you’ll receive specific care tips, but let’s go over a few that apply to any indoor fruit tree.

1.  Humidity:  Your tree will thrive in a humid environment, but even if your home tends to be dry, there’s a solution.  Mist the tree several times a week on the leaves.

2.  Frequent Watering:  Citrus trees in general enjoy frequent watering, but not to excess.  Indoor varieties are no exception.  Make sure the soil stays slightly moist, but not soggy.

3.  Sunlight:  Place your tree in an area of your home that receives ample sunlight, preferably six hours daily.  We have two of our trees in an upstairs bedroom with a western exposure.  The trees really seem to appreciate the stronger afternoon sun.

Like any plant, dwarf citrus trees will occasionally experience a pest problem.  Mites and moths are two of the most common.  Fortunately, neither of these pests like misting, so your normal misting should prevent them from damaging your tree.

In addition to the actual fruit, probably the biggest benefit of these trees is their ability to function as a natural air freshener.  You really have to experience the aroma to believe it.  If you’ve ever been in the midst of a citrus grove, you’ll get the idea.  Think tropical, fresh, and pleasantly fragrant!

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