When I look back on my years of gardening I would have NEVER imagined I would be growing citrus in Ohio. In today’s post, I share my story on how I recommend growing healthy citrus in your home garden.
Growing Healthy Citrus
My very first citrus shrub that was gifted from the owner of Black Diamond Nursery in Perrysburg, Ohio. I had just completed a photo assignment in 2009 for a project I was doing for Garden World Report featuring some of my favorite garden centers during the holiday season. The beautiful citrus plant inspired me to research growing citrus in hardiness zone 5b. The gift also made me aware of the fact that garden centers do appreciate what I share about them!
During the winter months when temperatures fall way below freezing my citrus are growing in my dome or greenhouse. My first lime shrub experienced temperatures in the low 20*s when my gas heater in the greenhouse failed in 2010. After the 1st winter growing the lime shrub successfully I had caught the citrus grower bug ( and I don’t mean the time I used ladybugs to tackle the aphids)!
I usually harvest over a dozen limes off a 30″ container planting each year.
I may have more fun with the citrus during the winter months then I do in this spring or summer outdoors. Check out how my plants looked from a share on Twitter.
Citrus Varieties for Home Gardeners
As of 2018, I have 6 healthy citrus shrubs in my collection. Below are the varieties I grow and recommend.
- New Improved Myer Lemon I purchased this in late June at Benches Garden Center in Elmore Ohio at 40% off. If you follow me on Twitter you will remember me Tweeting about this for the entire month due to my excitement and with hopes of others checking out that garden center sale. Watching this lemon shrub by Duarte Trees and Vines grow has been like waiting for Christmas morning present opening.
- Myer Lemon: my very first lemon shrub that I found at the local garden center. Coincidently I believe the plants were on clearance because no one knew what they were.
- Kumquat Shrub: Good News – just like the lemon and lime varieties this plant self-pollinates! The kumquat reminds me of my trip to Brazil. During the trip, I had many drinks made from this fruit in South America The kumquat fruit was an ingredient in Guarana Antarctica Soda which was my choice beverage while in South America this past June. This soda is the 2nd best selling beverage in Brazil. After taking a quick look at their website I don’t see it listed but it could be the fact that I don’t know Portuguese very well. I do see a fruit called Guarana listed that I hope to find out more about and share in future posts.
This is the Fukushu variety of Kumquat that is thrown-less making it ideal for landscapes and containers. Check back to my site in a few months or follow my RSS via email so I can tell you how this fruit taste.
Caring For Citrus Tips
Growing your own citrus plants is super easy thanks to varieties like I just mentioned on this blog post. There are a few important points I want to highlight listed below.
- When growing in hardiness zones 3-7 be sure to grow the citrus in a container that can be moved out of freezing temperatures.
- Feed the citrus at least twice a year with calcium fertilizer.
- Use a loose soil that doesn’t hold water.
- Provide good drainage for the plant because the roots do not like to get too wet.
- Be sure the plant gets plenty of airflow and sunshine. The citrus plants prefer full sun most year-round.
- Watch out for fungus and bugs. Aphids like to attach the citrus plants especially during the cooler and less sun seasons.
- Keep the citrus pruned to a manageable shape. The plants I grow are pruned once a year to a 3 foot shrub.
The only thing I have to look out for when growing these varieties organically is aphids. I’ve been using on these containers this summer and I couldn’t be happier with the quick growth and the blooms being produced. In the past, I used other organic solutions to feed the lime shrub but I’m seeing the best results so far with this product that is only available at Independent Garden Centers.
I am looking forward to learning more about your citrus growing experience. Be sure to leave a comment below or reach out to me on Social Media.
Happy Citrus Growing,