Growing Citrus in Containers

Citrus trees are terrific in sunny rooms. The glossy foliage looks great year round, and the scent of the blossoms can fill a room. Your tree will prefer to be outdoors when the weather is warm so you may want to put the container on wheels so it can be moved later in the spring.


Plant into a container at least 16″ in diameter making sure to bury the roots completely but don’t plant it deeper than it already is. Use good potting soil with about 25% rich compost added to it. (such as black cow) Then add a slow released or organic fertilizer mixed into the soil. About 1/2 cup of slow release, about 1 cup of organic pelletized fertilizer. Citrus plants need an acid type soil. If the leaves turn yellow, the soil needs to be made more acid. To maintain the acidity of the soil, dissolve one half teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) into one quart of room temperature water. Use this solution every two or three months.

Make sure you have a place in your home where the plant will be happy. Citrus trees needs a long day of sun and good air circulation. Placing the tree near a heating vent will cause the leaves to dry out and drop. In warm climates, place the tree on a rolling platform so that it can be left outdoors most of the time, bringing it indoors only when frost threatens.


When the soil is almost dry, water the pot until the water runs out the bottom, but never leave the plant standing in water. Plastic pots or foam pots are best for maintaining a good moisture level. In winter, water just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.


Flowering will be heaviest in springtime. To ensure the setting of fruit when plants are growing indoors, use a small brush to lift the pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) of one blossom and gently dust it onto the pistol (female part of the flower) in the center of another. Within a few days the pistol should begin to develop a tiny new fruit. Pick fruits when fully yellow.