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Connecticut Garden Journal
Connecticut Garden Journal is a weekly program hosted by horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi. Each week, Charlie focuses on a topic relevant to both new and experienced gardeners, including pruning lilac bushes, growing blight-free tomatoes, groundcovers, sunflowers, bulbs, pests, and more.

Connecticut Garden Journal: Grow Your Own Citrus, Even In New England

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Lemon and other citrus trees are frequently grown in Florida or California, but it is possible to grow them in colder climates too.

One of the fruits of winter is citrus. Unfortunately, we're relegated to buying them in grocery stores or ordering cases of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons from Florida or California.

Wouldn't it be nice to grow some of your own citrus? You can. Here's how.

Obviously, since citruses aren't hardy, we have to grow them in containers and move them into a greenhouse or home in winter.

It's best to select dwarf varieties that will stay a manageable size and types that are adapted to indoor growing. Try dwarf improved Meyer lemon, Kaffir lime, and Trovita and Calamondin oranges.

Select a container that's one size larger than the root ball of your citrus. Clay is the classic choice, but is heavy and can break. Plastic is probably a better container to use.

Drill extra drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and place the container on a drainage tray to collect excess water. Fill the pot with moistened potting soil.

Place the tree in a sunny window, protected from any cold drafts. Ideally, citrus like a 60- to 65-degree room in winter. Keep the soil moist, but on the dry side.

Don't let the leaves wilt, but also don't overwater or those leaves will drop. To increase indoor humidity, grow citrus on pebble trays filled with water, group plants with other houseplants and mist the leaves regularly.

Come spring move the potted plant outdoors into full sun and increase watering. Add a citrus fertilizer monthly until the end of summer. Then transition the tree back indoors in fall. Within a year you should be getting citrus fruits.

Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about indoor herbs. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.

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