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Where can I grow citrus?

There are only a few places in the United States where citrus can be planted in the ground, but you can grow citrus in a pot anywhere! Simply maximize sunlight during temperate seasons, use partial shade during hot summer months, and bring the tree indoors or into a garage for winter. 

 

How do I plant citrus?

We recommend that you plant your tree in a pot and not in the ground. This is because very few places have the right combination of the proper soil type and freeze infrequently enough to sustain citrus. For example, central Texas can be very hot, but in a 5-year span, there will likely be a few freezes where temperatures drop into the teens. Even under 24 hours, this is enough to kill a citrus tree planted in the ground, erasing many years of work!

 

What varieties does citrus include?

The citrus family includes lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, kumquats and many related varieties and hybrids.

 

When will my tree bear fruit?

With proper care, a citrus tree from US Citrus will start bearing fruit in its second year, with a substantial harvest in its third year and in perpetuity. 

 

How many years do citrus trees live for?

With the proper care citrus trees have long lives! A practical life span of fruit bearing is 30-40 years. There are groves in California still producing fruit after 90 years!

 

How much fruit do citrus trees produce?

A mature (8 year traditional, 5 year micro-budded) citrus tree will produce anywhere from 50-120 lbs of fruit a year when planted in the ground. In a large pot, the tree will produce less, but it will still be a substantial harvest in the ~50 lb/year range once full grown and mature, with proper care.

 

How large do citrus trees become?

Planted in the ground, mature citrus trees (8 years traditional grafting, 5 years micro-budded) grow to be 12 to 20 plus feet. We recommend plants be kept in large pots, and to be pruned twice yearly, and to keep the size (in a 25 gallon pot) to be anywhere from 5-8 feet. The ultimate size you want to keep your tree is your preference and also based on the limitations on the root system placed on the size of the pot. A 25 gallon pot will provide ample soil for your tree, and it is a practical size which will allow the tree to be moved easily with 1-2 people. 

 

Do I need to re-pot my plants after a certain time period?

Possibly. If the pot is made of wood or another porous material, after 4-5 years, the pot will start breaking down from the watering and you will need a new container. If you are using a plastic pot, after 4 years, the roots will start bunching together at the bottom of the pot, creating root ball. This may inhibit new growth, or prevent proper watering and drainage of the tree. 

Some pots are cloth based and “breathable” and theoretically allow the roots to grow in such a manner as to not create the bunching effect of the root ball. 

 

Are US Citrus trees grafted?

Yes. All US Citrus trees are grafted using the proprietary micro-budding technique. 

 

Can I purchase larger trees?

Yes, but they are much more costly (hundreds of dollars) due mostly to shipping rates and complexities. We recommend that you buy the smaller, economical trees and take advantage of their fast growth!

Email us at sales@uscitrus.com if you are interested in larger trees and orders. 

 

Can I come visit US Citrus and buy larger trees directly?

Yes! We are located at 30232 FM493, Hargill, TX 78549

Please give us a call at (956) 845-6128 so we can be prepared for your visit!

 

Are US Citrus trees disease free? 

Yes. All US Citrus trees are grown in USDA certified enclosed nursery facilities. Furthermore, the facilities are routinely inspected and trees are tested for diseases by the USDA. 

 

What is micro-budding?

Micro-budding is an all-natural grafting method developed by our founder and CEO, Dr. Mani Skaria, a retired university citrus scientist. It is a process which involves hand grafting done at a young age, combining the best qualities of a hearty root stock with the delicious qualities of the chosen graft. 

 

What root stock does US Citrus use?

Brazilian Sour Orange or Trifoliate. 

 

Can I grow citrus with organic methods?

Yes you can quite easily, by using organic insecticides and fertilizes which we have listed in our care guide.

 

How often and how much should I water?

We have created a watering schedule to give a guide to watering, but like humans, water needs can be highly variable depending on conditions. At the end of the day looking at your tree and its leaves is very important. They can become withered if the soil is overly dry or waterlogged. 

Conditions that necessitate increased water requirements are: new trees transplanted within the last month and dry, windy and hot environments. 

It is difficult to overwater your potted tree, unless you are using a garden saucer that doesn’t allow for proper drainage. These are very useful when keeping indoors and when going away on vacation, but use caution to not water-log the plant if it is indoors and you are using a saucer. 

If you have just transplanted the tree and it is indoors with a saucer, we recommend watering daily for one month, but apply a small amount each day, ~1/4 of a gallon right to the trunk of the tree.

 

When and what do I use for fertilizer?

Follow our fertilizer schedule on our citrus tree care guide. We have timings and fertilizer options listed.

 

When do I harvest citrus?

Depending on the variety, some varieties bear fruit multiple times a year, while others fruit only in the winter-spring time. Each variety will have its distinctive characteristics indicating when it is ripe. 

 

Will you help me during the growing process?

Yes, we will be sending out periodic emails with reminders and instructions on the care for your tree, i.e., when it is time to prune and fertilize. Also, we are continually producing new care guide videos. Please check out the US Citrus YouTube channel and our social media profiles. 

 

How long does citrus last on a tree?

Unlike other fruit, citrus has a thick rind, allowing to stay on the tree for a longer amount of time. So during its ripe season, the fruit will stay on the tree without having to be harvested for a few weeks. This allows you to harvest the fruit as needed. 

 

What are some common pitfalls that cause citrus trees to die?

Poor transplanting into a pot, insufficient water in the few months, insufficient water during dry/hot/windy climates, insect and diseases (especially in humid areas), and exposure to weather below 30 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours (or even a few hours in weather below 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Rarely, over-watering occurs when keeping the tree indoors, in a saucer and watering too much daily. 

 

What do I do about freezing weather?

Bring the plants indoors for freezing weather. You can either bring them in for the season with the first expected freeze, or you can take them back outdoors if the weather allows and there is a break in the freezing weather. Either method is acceptable.  

 

What sort of sunlight and heat is best for my tree?

Maximize sunshine until about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then citrus trees enjoy partial shade. In high temperatures with direct sunlight, there may be leaf burn and leaf wilting during the day, but the tree will do well as long as its getting enough water. 

 

If I do have a citrus tree planted outdoors, how do I protect it during freezing weather?

You can wrap the tree with a burlap sack, and water along the base to create ice, which will have an igloo-effect and possibly protect your tree from extreme cold.

Also, one can wrap the tree with strings of incandescent (non-LED) Christmas lights for heat and then wrap the tree with plastic. Be careful to adjust the covering during the day as needed as to not burn your tree!

 

Should I use gro-lights in the winter?

You certainly can use a safe grow-light during the winter months. 

 

How do I keep citrus indoors for the winter?

Keep a garden saucer underneath your tree if kept indoors to prevent water damage to your flooring and adjust your watering accordingly. Water around the saucer base will give a bit of local humidity around your tree which it will enjoy. You can place rocks in the saucer in order to take up some of the surface area and volume of the saucer and fill with water.  Keep the plant near a windowsill for sunlight if possible, and away from drafts of dry air and any curious pets or children!

 

How do I keep my citrus in a garage for the winter?

Keep in mind that a garage will keep the plants in temperatures about 20 degrees or so above the outside ambient temperatures, and protect from wind. But in the northern states, this still may be too cold for citrus trees. An easy, inexpensive solution is to use the low setting for a small space heater a few feet away from the plants. Be careful not to overheat or blow too much dry air onto your plants!

You may keep your trees in the garage in total darkness, intermittent darkness by opening your garage when weather permits or you may use grow lights to keep stimulating growth. 

The advantage of grow-lights is continued growth during the winter time. Keep in mind that plants which are actively growing are more susceptible to cold damage. 

Keeping your tree in darkness will induce hibernation. There will not be active growth during this time, but the tree’s bark will undergo physiological changes, including hardening which will be beneficial in the future. 

 

Shop Citrus Trees and Fruit at US Citrus

Start browsing our citrus tree collection. More detailed information is located on each fruit and tree's product page. 

Federal regulations prevent us (or any other citrus grower) from shipping citrus trees to CA, FL, AZ, HI, or LA.  Citrus fruit can be shipped to every state.