Top Five Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Citrus:
Here at Cornell Farm we love citrus trees and helping our guests learn about and grow them. Below we provide answers to your top five frequently asked questions. It is our goal to support you so that you can grow and reap the rewards of growing citrus trees in our climate.
Does citrus grow in the Pacific Northwest?
Yes. We hear success stories all the time of citrus trees being grown successfully by beginner and advanced gardeners all around the Portland area.
Can I grow citrus trees in my garden?
It depends. Most citrus varieties require warmer, dryer conditions than what we have here during cold and wet fall, winter and spring weather.
We recommend growing citrus trees in pots so they can live outdoors when temperatures are consistently above 45 and move indoors as temperatures drop in the fall. Some advanced and very clever and energetic gardeners successfully grow citrus in their gardens year-round.
How big do the trees get?
The semi-dwarf varieties we sell can reach 8 to 12 feet or more at maturity in Southern California gardens. However, don’t worry. When citrus is gown in pots, the pot size and pruning can work together to maintain the trees at manageable sizes.
Is this tree going to give me fruit this year?
That depends upon how mature the plant is. Even young citrus plants will put on a lot of flowers followed by tiny fruits. However, you don’t want to keep this fruit on young trees because they aren’t yet strong enough to hold the fruit without robbing the roots of the energy they need to grow strong. Healthy roots make for a long-living heathy tree that will give you a lot of fruit and pleasure, over the years.
If you are intent on citrus fruit sooner rather than later, purchase an older tree. Then, in the second year you have it, as the tree roots mature in their new pot, you can let a few fruits ripen and increase the amount that ripens the next year and the years after.
How do I take care of my tree?
Citrus likes well-draining soil. Use a mixture of potting/compost soil and cactus mix to provide citrus tree roots with the air and partially dry conditions the roots require for your tree to thrive.
Fertilize using a citrus fertilizer such as EB Stone Organic Citrus Fertilizer once a month from January to August. Here at Cornell, we also use a micro-nutrient foliar spray, to keep our citrus healthy.
Be careful not to overwater. Citrus trees prefer to go partially dry between watering; if overwatered their leaves turn yellow and drop off. If you stop overwatering soon enough and begin watering properly; they can recover.
Don’t let your citrus go totally dry. Test the soil. If it is dry three inches down, it is ok to water. When you water you want the soil to be moist, not soaking or muddy.
Cornell Farm offers several varieties of citrus trees throughout the year including different varieties of lemons, limes, mandarins, calamondins, tangerines and oranges.
We also sell the pots, soils and fertilizers you’ll need for your citrus thrive in our environment. Come and see us year-round to browse, enjoy and purchase citrus trees at the Cornell Farm Kitchen Garden.