Best Tips for Growing Citrus Trees Indoors
Successful indoor growing means being especially careful to not over water! Indoor air can be quite dry and a shock to trees being brought in after summering outdoors. Here are my seven tips for helping your citrus trees to thrive indoors.
1. Let roots dry to 50% before bringing in. If the tree is thirsty for its first watering indoors it will make the adjustment more easily.
2. Use a probe type moisture tester so you can be sure to get accurate measurements of root moisture. For about $8.00 this is insurance against over watering that, with the proper care, can last for many years.
3. Only water when the tester indicates a wetness level of 50% dry in the root zone.
4. Be sure the pot size is correct for the size of the roots. A tree in an oversized pot will tend to stay too wet because the roots are of insufficient size to take up the volume of water supplied.
5. Very important: Pot up in a very light, fast draining soil mix. An ideal blend is a commercial garden soil formulated for outdoor use mixed with at least one third volume of cedar or redwood shavings. The shavings keep air in the root zone after watering. Avoid soil mixes that contain chemical wetting agents. If using an Organic soil mix, use up to 50% shavings to assure a fast draining mix. Blend very thoroughly and pot up so that citrus ‘crown roots’ show above the soil line.
6. Do not put gravel on the bottom of your planting pot, because this impedes drainage over time.
7. Fill a large saucer with rocks or other drainage material and set the pot on top. This increases humidity while keeping the pot elevated above the drainage water.
Remember, citrus do best when kept on the dry side of moist! They are heavy feeders, so choose a high Nitrogen fertilizer, ideally one formulated for citrus, and use it regularly throughout the growing season. Finally, and most importantly: provide enough sunshine! Citrus need at least 8 hours of full sun per day to be productive. Supplement with grow lights indoors if necessary.