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Hey plant friends!
I’m Maria, the "Plant Killer Turned Plant Lady" with a mission to help you care for plants successfully, grow your indoor jungles, and cultivate more joy in your life. I've got tons of content for you here on the blog, on the Bloom and Grow Radio Podcast, and Bloom and Grow Youtube Show to help you keep blooming and keep growing.
Have you ever wandered through the citrus section of a nursery, inhaling the sweet scent of Meyer lemons and key limes, and thought “Oh my, I want one”? As someone who impulse purchased a struggling lime tree years ago—which I named Limey, by the way—growing citrus indoors is possible with the right care and conditions. Citrus plants can be great houseplants if you set them up for success, and they present a unique opportunity to engage all five senses! In this episode, I invited my long-lost dear friend Danny Trejo from Via Citrus to share with you everything you need to know to cultivate your own indoor citrus plant, from choosing the right variety to proper care for growth and fruiting.
Growing Joy: The Plant Lover’s Guide to Cultivating Happiness (and Plants) by Maria Failla, Illustrated by Samantha Leung
Citrus plants are subtropical, meaning they thrive in humid environments with lots of sunlight. While they naturally prefer to be outdoors, it is possible to replicate their ideal growing conditions inside.
The benefits of growing citrus indoors include:
If you’re new to growing citrus, Danny recommends starting with some of the simpler, compact varieties:
The naturally smaller sizes and moderate light needs of these varieties make them ideal candidates for containers indoors. You’ll have an easier time providing what they need to thrive in a home environment.
One of the keys to thriving citrus is giving them enough light. Citrus plants need full sun—at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
A bright south or southwest-facing window is ideal. However, if your home lacks sufficient natural light, you can supplement with grow lights. There are many affordable, stylish options these days that are easy to install and use.
If using grow lights, carefully read the instructions to position them at the proper height above your citrus plants. I’ve made the mistake of placing mine too far away, failing to deliver enough intensity! You’ll also want lights on a timer to mimic natural day/night duration.
To keep your citrus plants healthy, make sure to water them properly and use the right soil. Water deeply and regularly but let the topsoil dry out between watering to avoid root problems. Use a citrus potting mix and make sure your pots have holes for water to drain out!
Fertilize citrus 2-3 times per year during the active growing season, around spring to summer. Avoid fertilizing in winter when plants are dormant. Signs of nutrient deficiency include yellowing leaves.
Prune citrus in early spring to remove any dead branches and shape the plant. Resist cutting in winter since citrus needs its leaves to capture sunlight for energy (think of them like solar panels).
Citrus prefers higher humidity, around 40-60%, especially in dry winter months when heating systems run frequently. Use a humidifier and/or mist plant leaves several times per week.
While citrus growth slows in winter, they don’t go fully dormant like some other species. Avoid drastic temperature swings and drafts to prevent shock and leaf loss. Keep them in their favorite sunny window and continue watering when soil dries out.
Don’t be discouraged if your citrus blooms a lot but only produces a few fruits. The plant knows how much it can support and naturally drops excess flowers/young fruit. Stay diligent with care, and you’re likely to get a modest harvest.
Hopefully, this beginner’s guide has provided you with the key information you need to successfully grow citrus plants indoors. Pay special attention to providing the right amounts of light, warmth, humidity and proper watering in order to keep your citrus trees happy and productive. Happy growing plant friends!
Ensure your plants are getting enough light indoors! Soltech Solutions makes the grow lights you’ve heard me talk about for years: whether you are looking for a pendant light, track lighting, or a simple bulb to screw into any standard light fixture, Soltech has got you covered. They offer quality products with great customer service, free shipping, and a 5-year warranty. Keep the sun shining and the plants green inside your home with Soltech Solutions.
Check them out at soltechsolutions.com and get 15% off with code “bloom15”.
Make sure your plants are all set for the new season! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar powered plant, zero waste manufacturing and eco-friendly packaging.
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