Growing Your Own Stunning, Fragrant Citrus!
Picking fruit from your own tree: you get a tingle the first time you do it. And picking exotic fruit from your own tree: amazing. For most of us who need to use a greenhouse or other protection to get tropical plants through the winter, citrus, such as lemons and tangerines, count as exotic fruits. If you’ve never smelled Citrus blossoms perfuming your house on a cold winter night, you’re in for a mind-blowing treat.
Citrus are actually quite easy to cultivate in cooler climates, even if you don’t have a greenhouse. A sunny windowsill and the right growing conditions are what you need. Even the Victorians, with their dusty, drafty formal parlors managed to make citrus trees into favorite houseplants. All of the different species of citrus have similar growth requirements: good drainage, lots of sun, regular fertilizer, and temperatures above the lower 40′sF to stay out of dormancy. You can provide these using products from the Greenhouse Megastore such as their larger pots.
If you meet those conditions for cultivating citrus, you can have fragrant blossoms and edible fruits frequently throughout the year. Many citrus will produce multiple crops per year. My Meyer Lemon, which I have had for 23 years now, sits on the bench in my greenhouse, tucked between a Ponderosa (gigantic-fruited) lemon and a sour orange called a Calamondin. The Meyer lemon produces up to 3 crops per year, and I just used the fruit to make a delicious, made-from-scratch mousse, topped with pomegranate pips, for my family just after Christmas. We picked 4 dozen of those Meyer lemons from a tree about 2 feet tall, wide, and deep. The same tree sat on the dining room window when I was younger and produced fruit there, too. And the heavenly scent from the open blossoms forces you to stop and relax and enjoy every evening that you pass by.
Beginners would do well to start with easier citrus like the calamondin orange, various lemons, and limes. More experience growers will thrill at the produce from Buddha’s Hand citrons, blood oranges, and sunquats. No matter which citrus you grow, they’ll make your day, and even your evening as the perfume wafts around.