Citrus – Planting Citrus In Pots

Citrus will grow fine in pots. The new dwarf varieties are especially suited to container growing. All citrus require full sun, therefore choose a bright sunny position.

Eventually a citrus will require a large pot like half a wine barrel. It is not necessary to plant it directly into a pot this big and you can increase the size of the pot as it grows. We suggest starting with a minimum pot diameter of 40 cm.

Place your pot in its final position, before you start, as when potted it will be very heavy and hard to move. We suggest raising the pot using pot feet or similar to improve drainage. Never use a saucer, as citrus will not cope with water continually around their roots.

Ensure the pot has a large drainage hole or multiple drainage holes at the bottom. To stop potting mix draining out the holes, you can place some flyscreen or shade cloth over the holes. Use a premium quality potting mix. Generally, you pay for what you get. The expensive mixes use better quality materials, have wetting agents and fertiliser incorporated into them.

Half fill the pot with potting mix. Remove the citrus from the bag it was grown in by cutting the sides with a knife or pair of secateurs. Gently tease the roots by running your fingers or secateurs up and down the side of the root ball. Place the tree in the pot, checking that the soil level will remain the same in the new pot. Position the tree, so that it is in the centre and the best side is facing the front. Continue to fill with potting mix, firming in as you go. Water in well and top up the potting mix if it has sunk.

Fertiliser is not required at this stage, the premium potting mix will contain fertiliser. Let the tree settle in for a couple of weeks, then fertilise. (See fertilising)

Mulch around the top of the pot to stop weeds and moisture loss. There are many suitable mulches, sugar cane, pine bark, pebbles etc.

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