Top citrus for containers
● Dwarf Tahitian lime This is a thick-skinned, seedless lime.
It crops heavily, with its main crop ripening in winter but it
can produce smaller crops at other times, too. The fruit is
normally picked green but ripens to a lemon colour if left
on the tree. It forms a compact tree with a bushy habit. This
lime is a great decorative tree for balconies and courtyards.
● Dwarf Imperial mandarin The fruit on this small version of
the popular Imperial mandarin is thin-skinned, with a few
seeds. It’s easy to peel and segments very easily. The tree
is upright with a compact habit. Imperial mandarins are
ripe in early winter and hold on the tree for some months.
● Dwarf Eureka lemon Like its grown-up sister, which is the
traditional lemon of choice, the dwarf Eureka produces
medium- to thick-skinned fruit that’s good for zesting, juicing
and cooking. The tree is vigorous, with its main crop in
winter, but it commonly bears lemons for most of the year.
seasonal care calendar
Citrus look beautiful in all seasons, with their glossy green
foliage, flushes of white flowers and colourful fruit. Here’s
what to expect in caring for your citrus throughout the year.
● WINTER In frosty areas,
move potted citrus to a warm,
sheltered spot. In the warmer,
frost-free regions, planting citrus
in winter is fine; just don’t expect
the plant to grow until spring.
A lot of fruit ripens now. Harvest
when ripe and water only when
the potting mix is dry. If you
need to re-pot your citrus tree,
do it at the end of winter when
any chance of frost has passed.
At the end of winter, carry out
any necessary pruning to make
way for the new spring flush.
● SPRING Citrus trees flower
mainly in spring and it’s normal
for flowering to occur while the
tree is still in fruit. While the fruit
is setting, it’s important to make
sure the tree doesn’t become
stressed, so water every couple
of days to keep the soil moist. In
the first year it’s best to remove
fruit to allow the plant to put its
energy into establishing its roots.
Spring is a good time to top up
fertiliser and give a liquid feed
boost, as the tree is producing
flowers. Take preventative action
against a range of pests by
applying a horticultural spray oil.
● SUMMER If planting a tree
in summer, be vigilant about
regular watering so the root
zone stays moist. When using oil
sprays against pests in summer,
apply the spray in the early
morning or evening, not in the
heat of the day, or it may scorch
the leaves. Apply horticultural
spray oils every 5–10 days to
protect flushes of new growth
against citrus leaf-miner.
● AUTUMN This is a good time
to plant citrus as they’ll establish
over winter. Apply fertiliser, as
fruit is starting to form. Continue
regular horticultural oil sprays
to combat citrus leaf-miner.
For cooks and food lovers
lemons are indispensable,
and they thrive in pots.