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    Citrus Simplified — container gardening

    Eight Steps to Growing Navel Oranges in Containers

    How to Grow Navel Oranges in 8 Steps

    Love oranges, but unable to grow them outside in your area? Or do you prefer to grow an orange tree indoors rather than in an outdoor grove? Read on to find out how you can grow your own fresh and flavorful Navel oranges in a container or pot in just 8 steps.

    About Navel Oranges

    Navel oranges are the absolute finest oranges to eat. They're fresh, incredibly flavorful, and can be grown in containers with ease. Here are some more details about Navel orange fruit and trees:

    Navel Orange Fruit: 

    • Classic Navel oranges are unmatched in rich flavor, with fine, juicy, sweet flesh, easy-to-peel and seedless
    • Develops a bright rind color
    • The most distinctive feature of navel oranges is the presence of a navel—a small and rudimentary secondary fruit embedded in the apex of the primary fruit
    • The juice can be enjoyed if consumed immediately, but unlike Valencia, the juice can turn bitter quickly
    • The fruit can be sensitive to weather changes, and blossoms can drop

    Navel Orange Trees:

    • Medium to large trees
    • A rounded tree with deep green foliage
    • Umbrella-like foliage
    • Crops mature November to February

    Where Do Oranges and Citrus Grow? 

    With proper citrus care, having a citrus tree such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, navel orange or orange tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where oranges and other citrus fruit can be planted into the ground are limited to regions in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

    If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting citrus in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

    Growing Navel Oranges Outside of Growing Zones

    So how do you grow Navel oranges outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your orange tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

    Another option, which we enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

    The Planting Process for Growing Navel Orange Trees in Pots

    The actual planting process of Navel orange trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

    You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Navel orange is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

    Here are 8 steps for growing navel orange trees in containers:

    Step 1: Container for Navel Orange Trees

    The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

    Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move with only one person. so we recommend 15 gallons as the sweet spot.

    Step 2: Soil for Navel Orange Trees

    Choosing soil for your Navel orange trees is simple. All you need is any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for orange tree container gardening. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

    For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

    With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

    Step 3: Watering for Navel Orange Trees

    Watering is crucial, typically when Navel orange trees are planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Navel orange trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

    See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

    The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

    Overwatering Your Potted Navel Citrus Tree

    Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

    However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will not improve the condition of the tree obviously, and you will likely notice that the soil is waterlogged at this point.

    Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

    Step 4: Fertilizer for Navel Orange Trees

    Your Navel orange tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

    These machinations are very important for the development of the root system, the color of the leaves, appropriate photosynthesis, the growth of the trunk of the tree, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

    Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

    However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

    Fertilizer Schedule

    Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3+

     

     

     

    Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

    5

    7

    9

     Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

    10

    14

    18

    Step 5: Sunlight for Navel Orange Trees 

    Sunlight is crucial to Navel orange trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

    A Navel orange tree does best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

    Step 6: Winter Protection for Navel Orange Trees

    We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your citrus tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. This point you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

    There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

    Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Navel Orange Tree?

    First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your citrus tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

    Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com and buy your new orange tree today!

    Step 8: Harvesting Your Navel Oranges

    This harvest season is winter to late spring.   

    Eight Steps to Growing Persian Lime Trees in Containers

    Eight Steps to Growing Persian Lime Trees in Containers

    This citrus fruit is our specialty and the gold standard for use in cocktail drinks and cuisine! The Persian lime tree grows vigorously, producing fruit that are around 2-2.5 inches in diameter. It is also known as the Tahiti or Bearss Lime.

    About the Persian Lime

    Here's some detailed information about the Persian lime fruit and tree:

    The Persian Lime Fruit

    • A seedless and very juicy citrus fruit with an excellent tart flavor
    • The Persian lime has a thin, smooth rind, and the seedless flesh is pale greenish- yellow, acidic, juicy and finely-textured
    • Healthy limes the size of lemons
    • Stronger resistance to cold compared to other lime trees
    • The gold-standard lime for cocktail drinks and Mexican food
    • Year-round fruit production, but most fruit in winter
    • Limes of this variety bear fruit almost all year, and generally reach maturity in late autumn to early winter
    • The Persian lime is the most versatile and popular lime in the world!

    The Persian Lime Tree

    • The coldest hardy tree of all limes
    • Year-round harvest for a consistent supply of fruit
    • handsome small tree with dark green leaves, some thorns, but less so than Mexican limes

    Where Will Persian Limes Grow? 

    With proper citrus tree care, Persian limes will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where citrus can be planted into the ground are limited to California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

    If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting Persian limes in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

    Growing Persian Limes Outside of Growing Zones

    So how do you grow Persian Limes outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

    Another option, which we recommend, is the use of fabric smart pots. While they do not have holes, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.lim

    The Planting Process for Growing Persian Lime Trees in Pots

    The actual planting process of growing Persian lime trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

    You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Persian lime is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

    Step 1: Container for Persian Lime Trees

    The key to an appropriate container is having sufficient drainage through the material by either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

    Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommendation being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move by only one person. 

    Step 2: Soil for Persian Lime Trees

    Choosing soil for your Persian lime trees is simple. You can use any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container growing. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

    For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

    With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

    Step 3: Watering for Persian Lime Trees

    Watering is crucial, typically when citrus is planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Persian lime trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

    See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

    The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

    Overwatering Your Potted Persian Lime Tree

    Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

    However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will only adversely affect the plant since the conditions that caused the yellow and sad looking plant had not been remediated. 

    Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

    Step 4: Fertilizer for Persian Lime Trees

    Your Persian lime tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

    These machinations are very important for the color of the leaves, development of the root system, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit respectively and appropriate photosynthesis and growth of the trunk of the tree in general. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

    Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed in much smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

    However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

    Fertilizer Schedule

    Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3+

     

     

     

    Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

    5

    7

    9

     Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

    10

    14

    18

    Step 5: Sunlight for Persian Lime Trees 

    Sunlight is crucial to Persian Lime trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

    Persian Limes does best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

    Step 6: Winter Protection for Persian Lime Trees

    We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your Persian lime tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. At this point, you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

    There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Persian Limes can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

    Persian limes are more cold hardy than key limes or Mexican limes. 

    Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Persian Lime Tree?

    First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your Persian lime tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

    Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com and buy your tree today!

    Step 8: Harvesting Your Persian Limes

    This harvest season is year round! The fruit takes 4-6 months to become large and ripen and the fruit will become a little soft and slightly yellow.

    Eight Steps to Growing Kumquats in Containers

    How to Grow Kumquats in 8 Steps

    The kumquat holds great sentimental value, especially in Asian communities, symbolizing good luck.

    Find out how you can grow your own kumquat trees in containers or pots by following the 8 steps below.

    Kumquat Fruit

    Features of the Kumquat:

    • Kumquats are small acidic fruits that are commonly consumed whole (rind and all) when ripe producing a sour then sweet flavor on the palate. 
    • This orange-like citrus fruit is perfect for marmalades, preserves and as dried fruits.
    • The light-orange flesh contains a few seeds and also provides a nice sweet, acidic taste to complement the even sweeter peel.
    • The distinguishing characteristic in kumquats is that the rind is sweet regardless of how the inside tastes.

    Kumquat Tree

    Features of the Kumquat tree:

    • The kumquat tree is typically small to medium-sized and, over time, becomes densely loaded with fruit.
    • This variety is very cold hardy, flowering in summer and maturing in late winter.
    • A powerful citrus fragrance around mid-summer.
    • The most cold-hardy citrus variety with the most bountiful fruit harvest.

    Where Will Kumquats Grow?

    With proper citrus care, a kumquat tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where citrus can be planted into the ground are limited to areas in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

    If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting kumquats in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your Kumquat growing a lot easier.

    Growing Kumquat Outside of Growing Zones

    So how do you grow Kumquat outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your citrus tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

    Another option, which we enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

    The Planting Process for Growing Kumquat Trees in Pots

    The actual planting process of our trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

    You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Kumquat is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, While still producing an abundant harvest.

    Step 1: Container for Kumquat Trees

    The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

    Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommendation being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move by only one person.

    Step 2: Soil for Kumquat Trees

    Choosing soil for your Kumquat trees is simple. You can use any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container gardening. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

    For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

    With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing kumquats by having all customers grow their plants in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

    Step 3: Watering for Kumquat Trees

    Watering is crucial, typically when Kumquats are planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Kumquat trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater Kumquat trees.

    See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

    The best way to figure out how much water your kumquat tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

    Overwatering Your Potted Kumquat Tree

    Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

    However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will only adversely affect the plant since the conditions that resulted in the plant being sad and yellow had not been remedied.

    Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

    Step 4: Fertilizer for Kumquat Trees

    Your Kumquat tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

    These machinations are very important for the color of the leaves, development of the root system, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit respectively and appropriate photosynthesis and growth of the trunk of the tree in general. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

    Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

    However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

    Fertilizer Schedule

    Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3+

     

     

     

    Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

    5

    7

    9

     Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

    10

    14

    18

    Step 5: Sunlight for Kumquat Trees 

    Sunlight is crucial to Kumquat trees, especially Because they are tropical plants. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

    Kumquats do best when it has at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

    Step 6: Winter Protection for Kumquat Trees

    We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your kumquat tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. At this point, you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

    There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus, in general, can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. However, Kumquats are the most cold-hardy of all citrus trees and are more tolerant to cold temperatures. Nevertheless, it is recommended to take care of them by bringing them indoors in the event of freezing temperatures.

    Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Kumquat Tree?

    First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your kumquat tree locally as they cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

    Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com and buy your tree today!

    Step 8: Harvesting your Kumquats

    This is a heavy cropping tree, with year-round harvesting, focused more in the summer months.

    Eight Steps to Growing Australian Finger Limes in Containers

    How to Grow Australian Finger Limes in 8 Steps

    Known as 'citrus caviar', this lime variety is coveted by culinary masters. The Australian finger lime is the most challenging citrus variety to grow and the fruit can fetch prices of over $100/lb!

    Australian Finger Lime Fruit

    Features of the Australian finger lime:

    • Colorful, with small pulp and caviar-like vesicles.
    • May extract the pulp by squeezing one end of the fruit after the other end is cut off.
    • Lime often used as a colorful garnish for fine cuisine, cocktails, salads or seafood.
    • A firm fruit that's 3-8 cm in length.
    • Thin-skinned, with shorter shelf life than other citrus varieties (~3 weeks).
    • Easily sunburned.
    • Harvesting while wet will rupture the fruit vesicles and cause bruising.

    Australian Finger Lime Tree 

    Features of the Australian finger lime tree:

    • Native to Australia.
    • 'Brush' like lime tree that's very thorny.
    • Slower-growing than other citrus varieties.

    Where Will Australian Finger Lime Grow? 

    With proper care, Australian Finger Limes will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where citrus can be planted into the ground are limited to areas in California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

    If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting your Australian finger lime in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

    Growing Australian Finger Lime Outside of Growing Zones

    So how do you grow Australian finger lime outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting your tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

    Another option, which we enjoy, are fabric smart pots. While they do not have holes, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

    The Planting Process for Growing Australian Finger Lime Trees in Pots

    The actual planting process of growing Australian finger lime trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

    You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Australian Finger Lime is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, while still producing an abundant harvest.

    Step 1: Container for Australian Finger Lime trees

    The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

    Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move by only one person.

    Step 2: Soil for Australian Finger Lime trees

    Choosing soil for your Australian Finger Lime trees is simple. You can use any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container gardening. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

    For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

    With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing Australian finger limes by having all customers grow them in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

    Step 3: Watering for Australian Finger Lime trees

    Watering is crucial, typically when Australian finger limes are planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Australian Finger Lime trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

    See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

    The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

    Overwatering Your Potted Citrus Tree

    Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

    However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will only adversely affect the plant as the condition that led to the plant being yellow and sad had not been reversed.

    Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

    Step 4: Fertilizer for Australian Finger Lime trees

    Your Australian Finger Lime tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

    These machinations are very important for the color of the leaves, development of the root system, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit respectively and appropriate photosynthesis and growth of the trunk of the tree in general. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

    Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

    However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

    Fertilizer Schedule

    Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3+

     

     

     

    Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

    5

    7

    9

     Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

    10

    14

    18

    Step 5: Sunlight for Australian Finger Lime trees 

    Sunlight is crucial to Australian finger lime trees, especially because it is a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

    Citrus does best when it has six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

    Step 6: Winter Protection for Australian Finger Lime  trees

    We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your Australian Finger Lime tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. At this point, you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

    There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

    Important Considerations for Australian Finger Lime Trees

    It is one of the most challenging and slowest growing citrus varieties there are! Even with micro-budding, this tree will take years to produce fruit!

    Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Australian Finger Lime Tree?

    First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your Australian Finger Lime tree locally as they cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

    Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com and buy your tree today!

    Step 8: Harvesting your Australian Finger Limes

    It takes a long time to get good Australian Finger Limes. Once they are ready, they should be firm to touch and full, and when you tug at the fruit it should come away from the branch quite easily.