Citrus is an excellent addition to any garden, and we can’t get enough of these varieties in particular! They are easy to take care of with the right care and well worth the effort for delicious fruit throughout the year. When planted with the right companions, including herbs and vegetables, citrus can have productive growing seasons to enrich your garden. Here are some of our favorite varieties and how to grow them.
The satsuma is a deliciously sweet, hardy citrus that we love. They have vibrant green foliage with easy-to-peel fruit that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Satsuma needs slightly acidic soil that is sandy and well-draining, though they are adaptable to our local clay soil if you amend the soil when planting. Your delicious fruit should be ready to harvest between October and December; remember to pick your harvest as soon as it’s ripe!
The Meyer lemon is a hybrid between lemon and mandarin orange, making it the perfect combination of sweet and sour with tasty peels that you can use in your cooking. If you choose to grow this citrus in a pot, remember to use a light, well draining potting mix such as our Baccto Lite.
Limes are a popular household citrus plant, and for good reasons. They are versatile in cooking and add some great zing to your favorite beverages! Some specific requirements for lime trees include protecting them in freezing temperatures as they (and lemons) are some of the more cold sensitive citrus. They will drop their leaves if left dry for too long, so be sure to water consistently but without overdoing it.
While blueberries aren’t a citrus plant, they grow in similar conditions to citrus and are a great option to grow alongside your citrus plants! We love using blueberries in recipes or for a quick snack while gardening. There are many varieties of blueberries, including Brightwell, Climax, Tifblue and Premier blueberries, and we recommend planting a few varieties for pollination and more berries. They will mature at different times, giving you a longer harvest season to enjoy these delightful fruits.
Citrus Companion Plants
Companion plants are a great way to keep pests away from your citrus organically! Attracting helpful bugs to your citrus trees is like summoning a defensive army—they’ll eat any aphids or caterpillars that might try to make your citrus plants a tasty snack! You can plant edibles, such as dill, fennel, lemon balm, parsley, or flowers such as petunias and marigolds for a top-notch defense. Legumes are a good set of companion vegetables as they help fix the nitrogen in the ground, which will help your citrus tree grow nice and strong!
There are a few things that apply to all of your citrus plants that will create a thriving environment for growth:
- Plant in a location with full sun where your plant can get at least eight hours of direct sunlight per day.
- Plant in well-draining, slightly acidic soil; we recommend amending with topsoil and compost.
- Keep the soil on the drier side, but not too dry! Watering is best controlled by potting your plants.
- Fertilize regularly—citrus plants are hungry and will drain the soil of nutrients rather quickly.
- Keep your plant warm! It will need some protection if the weather gets cold.
Plant Food for Citrus Trees
Citrus fertilizer is specific, as they need more nitrogen than other varieties. We recommend using a 19-10-5 NPK blend. You’ll want to be sure to fertilize any of your plants that fruit or flower heavily, as it takes a lot of energy to produce! “Fertilome Fruit, Citrus, and Pecan Tree Food” is one of our recommended products. You can also use fruit tree fertilizer stakes that will slow release through the season; you’ll want to put one in during the spring and before the early part of July.
If you’re looking for citrus and vegetables near you, visit us at Pine Hills Nursery. We have plenty of advice and products to support a happy, healthy garden!