Repotting and caring for a citrus tree in a pot


To successfully grow your citrus fruit in a pot, lemon tree, mandarin tree or other, you must provide it with enough food and properly manage the humidity of the soil. After purchase, in the spring, repotting is often necessary.

Did you get a beautiful citrus fruit in a pot, filled with pretty little fruits? Some, like les satsumas, other tangerines, the kumquats, the limes… are relatively hardy and will withstand a few frosts without weakening. Maintaining them in a pot is rather easy, but requires some attention:

  • le repot the following spring in a larger pot, very useful for better managing watering.
  • le leave out as much as possibleeven during the winter.

If you have to keep your citrus fruit in a pot, by choice or because your region is not conducive to growing it in the ground, repot it in the spring.

Watering citrus is a bit tricky: make your life easier!

A lemon tree or any other citrus fruit in a pot has need to be watered regularlyit is not necessary that its substrate dries out completely: at least the lower half of the pot should remain slightly moist. It takes a few rare watering in winterduring its rest period, but especially a very regular watering in spring and summerof the order of 1 to 2 water intakes per week.

These waterings will preferably be done with soft water.

In winter, therefore in vegetative rest, the citrus fruit needs to be watered much less often, however be careful, because outside, if it freezes a little and there is wind, the earth of a potted citrus can dry more than you think: don’t let yourself be surprised.

The best is to feel the soil, if it is dry over more than 10 cm in height (at the top of the pot): it is necessary to water.

Conversely, citrus roots do not tolerate bad weather. drainage. They must remain airy: the soil must not be too heavy and the citrus fruit should not remain soaking in a flowerpot for more than a few hours. His pot of culture must therefore be pierced by drainage holes which will let the surplus water evacuate, moreover, we will offer him a suitable soil.

Citrus repotting

One way to have less monitoring of watering is simply to install it in a bigger pot that the pot of production in which it was sold; it is often a little tight, because it is easier to transport.

And large volume of land dries out less quickly, the famous “fresh and draining” is easier to manage. In addition, in a larger pot, with a good volume of soil, the citrus fruit has more nutrients.

The substrate

Citrus requires a neutral to slightly acidic, draining and rich in well-decomposed organic matter. If you have non-sticky, non-calcareous garden soil, mix it yourself: with 1/2 volume of garden soil, 1/4 of fine non-calcareous gravel and 1/4 of potting soil. Otherwise, a commercial “special citrus” mix is ​​fine.

Prepare the motte

Once the motte Taken out of its old pot, you can see that the roots develop more in the bottom of the pot and that there are few or none on the surface. Citrus doesn’t like having its roots disturbed. We are therefore content to remove the upper layer of old substrate which does not contain roots, and to barely gently scrape the bottom of the root ball, only to prevent it from forming an interface that is too smooth. The rest: we do not touch it.

Lay out the new soil: watch out for the collar!

In the new, deeper pot, the citrus mixture is placed on 10/20 cm. We add a fertilizer organic: from very rich compost well decomposed. We put a little citrus mixture on top.

If we want, we mix it hydro-retaining granules that reserve water ; as they swell, they trap a greater quantity of water and possibly soluble nutrients and return it to the plant as it needs it: a way of further reducing the rate of watering.

The root ball is placed so that the crown of the lemon tree is just on the surface. All voids are filled with new substrate, including a layer above, to replace the one removed.

Subsequently, a repotting every 3 years may be sufficient.

Moisturize thoroughly

It is necessary to water abundantly of course, to drive out the pockets of air and to put the new soil in place, but better still, it is necessary basins the pot. Indeed: the 2 soils, the old (not dismantled) and the new, no longer have quite the same structure, but the water goes the easiest way: a simple watering may not properly moisten the denser old clod.

So for the whole to soak up properly, the citrus jar will be soaked in a basin filled with water for 2 hours.

Two hours later, we can see that the water level in the basin no longer goes down: the citrus fruit can get out of its bath!

When you have to be away for a few days in the summer, giving it a dip before leaving allows it to do without a watering or two without causing too much damage.

And drench is also indicated when the soil has dried too much after a lack of watering.

Feeding your citrus fruit

Cet shrub potted is gourmandfeeding it is essential for it to produce fruit.

  • Liquid Fertilizer, once every 3 or 4 weeks in irrigation water during the growing season or solid fertilizer, once in April, May and July.

  • Adding compost (very well decomposed manure or others) every spring by renewing the surface soil in the pot.

Potted citrus fruit during the winter.

If this citrus fruit is frost-prone, no question to ask: it must be brought inside under a frost-free shelter, preferably in a bright but cool place.

If it’s a little citrus rusticresistant down to -5°C for example, it is preferable to leave it outside in winter for as long as possible, even if it means monitoring the weather to shelter it from the few days of frost which can be harmful to it and taking it out as soon as possible. that it no longer freezes.

The veil ofwintering should also be used sparingly: indeed, as soon as the sun returns, it produces a greenhouse effect which can trigger the start of buds too early in the season. It is therefore put on during the frost and removed when it is not freezing.

This cold period is necessary for the citrus fruit: it prevents it from growing in winter when in our latitudes there is insufficient light. She creates a welcome vegetative rest and moreover, allows floral induction for certain varieties.


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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