HOW TO: CARE FOR YOUR CITRUS
We love citrus plants. From oranges, to lemons and limes, to grapefruit, mandarin and everything in between, citrus fruit makes the perfect addition to any recipe, sweet or savoury. As the season changes, spring is the perfect time to plant your citrus trees in Melbourne. Our spring is still cooler than other areas, however the soil is warmer than through winter making it the ideal time to plant.
You can plant your citrus trees in the ground or in pots, depending on how much space you have. When planting in a pot, dwarf varieties are a great place to start. You can choose dwarf varieties for most citrus fruits such as lime, lemon and orange. Whether planting in the ground or in a pot, ensure the soil is rich, healthy and malleable (as opposed to hard and dry). Adding well composted manure to your soil can retain moisture and help citrus trees along. We also recommend starting with a good seaweed fertiliser for the soil to get the roots growing then adding an organic fertiliser to help support growth and fruiting. Always remember, all citrus plants require full sun so ensure your trees are in sunny positions. If you’re not sure which citrus trees to plant, visit us at the nursery and we can choose the right plants for your needs.
Water and fertilise well
Citrus trees enjoy being fed and watered regularly. For both pots and those in the ground, water well throughout warmer months, approximately once or twice a week, more often for new plantings and citrus in pots. Always ensure, however, that the soil is draining adequately to avoid root rot.
Fertilise citrus plants in your garden about three to four times a year. Now’s the time to fertilise to support all the new spring growth and then again in March. For citrus trees in pots, fertilise the plants every two months or so with a little organic fertiliser to help plants along.
It’s important to mulch your citrus trees to ensure weeds and grass don’t grow at the base of the tree. In order to avoid collar rot, don’t push the mulch right up to the trunk, but leave a little space. Mulch in both pots and your garden, spreading the mulch right under the span of the branches.
Look out for pests and bugs
It’s no surprise that delicious citrus trees attract pests and bugs. You can spray your citrus trees with an organic pest spray, or simply remove the insects by hand. Another option is to use a net to cover your citrus trees and guard them from birds and other insects, however this isn’t always necessary. If you have a pest or bug problem, visit us at the nursery and we can help find a solution for you.
When to harvest
Autumn is generally the season to harvest your citrus fruit. Let your oranges turn a deep orange before twisting gently to remove. Watch for the colour to develop on lemons, limes, grapefruit and mandarins. When they’re ready, pick them and enjoy!
We’ve just received a huge delivery of different citrus varieties at the nursery. Visit us and we’ll set you up with the right citrus fruit and all the tips to have you harvesting those fruit in no time.
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