Happy New Year. This fall while filming the New England Gardening with Charlie Nardozzi: Holiday Edition special for CPTV, I couldn't help but stop at Logee's Greenhouses and pick up some citrus plants.
Most gardeners think of citrus as a Florida or California plant, but we can grow them, and get fruit, indoors even in Connecticut. The keys are selecting the right citrus, giving them enough sun and watering and fertilizing properly.
The easiest citrus to grow indoors are naturally small plants that produce small fruits. I like 'Improved Meyer' lemon, 'Calamondin' oranges, Kumquats, and 'Persian' and 'Kaffir' limes. Start with a plant grown at a local garden center. Seed started citrus can take many years to flower and fruit.
Indoor citrus need 6 hours of sun a day, so choose a sunny window, sunroom, or greenhouse. The trees stay naturally dwarf in containers. Clay pots are good, especially for younger plants, since they like a soil that stays moist, but is well drained and dries out a bit between waterings. Allow your new plant a few months to acclimate to your house. If they need repotting, choose a pot only one size larger than the container it was growing in and fill it with potting soil.
Fertilize, from spring to fall, with a citrus product. Liquid fertilizers are fast acting, but need regular application. Apply granular, time release fertilizers every 3 to 6 months. They release fertilizer every time you water. Water when the soil is dry 1-inch down and apply enough water to soak the soil so water come out the drainage holes.