Plant an orange, mandarin or lemon tree in a pot and that it grows healthy is not only possible, but also convenient in places where the land is not suitable, its irrigation is problematic or there are cold winters, for example.
They are so pretty and aromatic that constitute an excellent alternative to ornamental plants, with that extra that the fruits suppose, in addition to their dense foliage, their fragrance when flowers come out… All of them are very attractive characteristics that add to the ease of their cultivation in a pot, There are also dwarf species that adapt more easily.
Advantages such as the choice of land, greater irrigation control and being able to protect them better in winter are added to the possibility of finding a location where they look good, whether indoors, on a balcony, terrace, garden or small orchard.
A land that drains
Ensuring good drainage is fundamental for these trees, which is why clay soil is not suitable for them. In the pot (for example, about 45 centimeters in diameter by as many high), fortunately, we can choose the appropriate proportion of different types of soil.
Although they are not demanding in terms of soil, it is convenient for it to drain, avoiding clay soils and looking for those that are more permeable, slightly acidic (pH 6 -6.5). In the pot, soil should be added by mixing two thirds of black earth or compost, one third of mulch and coarse sand, as well as clay expanded at the bottom to drain.
Regular watering and fertilizer
Irrigation in a pot, better if it is with rain water collected instead of tap water, it should not be as abundant as in the soil and we will match it with the soluble fertilizer. We will avoid flooding the pot when we water and the frequency can be twice a week in summer and once in winter. Keep in mind that in pots the roots are close to the surface, so we must not let the substrate dry out.
For its part, the subscriber can be made three times a year, from spring to autumn. Basically, they need to be fertilized before the bloom, in June and in September. We will apply a special fertilizer and add organic matter to the soil in the fall to improve the quality of the soil.
Find shelter during the winter
Indeed, cultivating these potted trees allows them to seek shelter in the winter. To do this, they either change places, ideally to interior spaces where they are not lacking in light, taking them out in the sun in the middle of the day, if possible.
In any case, it is important that it is not too hot, have the heating turned off and facing south and next to the windows, ventilating from time to time in case you do not remove them. The important thing is to avoid temperatures typical of frost and look for places where they are not below zero degrees. In particular, the youngest trees must be carefully cared for.
Another possibility is to place a kind of coat on them that allows the plant to transpire, while allowing light to pass through. It is, in short, to cover with a cloth fine micro-perforated that is marketed specifically to protect plants from frost, either on the fruit tree or using a frame-type structure. Otherwise, we could opt for spraying water with lime (slaked lime) on the leaves to protect them from the cold.
More vulnerable to sun and wind
Citrus grown in pots they dry out and freeze more easily than those planted in the ground. Therefore, let’s take advantage of their mobility and smaller size to be able to move or cover them when temperatures are going to approach zero. Its optimum temperature is between 17 and 28 degrees Celsius.
Likewise, although they are subspecies tropical, it is important to bear in mind that the sun and the wind affect them more easily when programming the frequency of irrigation or, for example, especially windy seasons. The wind, in particular, will encourage the fall of the fruits and the staining of the leaves.
What to do with pests
Citrus pests include white flies, aphids, mites or mealybugs. If we do not want to use insecticides, spray the leaves with water with potassium soap and/or neem oil. Finally, if we do things right and our citrus grows properly, after two or three years it may need a new pot.
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