Dwarf Citrus: two types regular and genetic (Articlime)

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Growing Fruit Indoors: The Magic of Dwarf Citrus Trees

Have you always wanted to grow your own lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, or limes but did not think you had the space? Maybe you never even considered it because you thought your climate was too cold. If either of those statements is true, then it is time to become acquainted with the wonderful world of dwarf citrus trees. Dwarf citrus trees have come along way in the past few years. Today’s dwarfs produce tastier fruit, although some still feel it is not quite as good as their standard cousins. However, dwarf trees produce fruit much quicker than other fruit trees—within one to three years on average.

There are two types of dwarf fruit trees: regular and genetic. Regular dwarfs are created by grafting a regular sized tree onto dwarfing rootstock. Genetic dwarfs are created by propagating trees to develop a very compact variety. You can identify a regular dwarf from genetic by looking for a diagonal scar where located about four to eight inches from the soil. This is the graft union and indicates where two different trees were grafted together, indicating it is a regular dwarf fruit tree. Genetic dwarfs will also appear thicker and more compact with closely spaced leaves and growth buds. Both types of dwarf trees will produce normal-sized fruit.

Pot size is extremely important for dwarf citrus trees. While a three-gallon container might be large enough for a seedling, a large container will soon be needed. A ten to fifteen gallon container will allow the tree to grow to about seven to eight feet or more. A layer of stones or broken pottery should be placed at the bottom of the pot to allow for ample drainage. Use a light, airy potting soil mixed with perlite; then add just enough soil so that the root ball is barely covered. Make sure there is enough soil on the sides of the pot to allow the tree to absorb water.



Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.