Citron tree grow and care – tree of the genus citrus also known as Citrus medica or Citron lemon plant, Citron tree perennial evergreen plant, grown for the edible fruits also used as ornamental plants for the fruits like in Buddha’s hand tree and can grow as dwarf tree or bonsai, can grow in tropical, subtropical, mediterranean or temperate climate and growing in hardiness zone 9+.
Leaves color green in oval shape, flowers are white with purple with yellow stamen.
Citron tree edible fruit
Fruit shape oval can be shapeless or like hand with a lot of fingers (Buddha’s hand) size ~6-20 cm’. Rind color green, green-yellowish or orange, the rind is edible but sometimes little bitter also used as flavor and fragrant, inside color: yellow, white, green, orange, the taste mostly sours bitter sometimes the fruits seedless. The inner fruit divided by segments, the segment cover with soft thin layer, it containing the pulp (little cones covered with a thinner layer), depend on the species can be also pulp-less
Well-drained soil, better loamy soil, moist soil in the fruits season and better to put mulch
How to care: Design for easy to pick the fruits (when there are thorns it’s important but not all cultivars have thorns), add to the soil, organic matter, humus and fertilizer, in location with hot summer sun that the main trunk is expose to the sun better to better to whitewash (lime paint)
What is the best way to start growing: Plant / Seed / Cutting / Air layering
Propagate by cutting: Propagating require: sterilize knife, sterilize soil (put the soil in microwave), soil that will keep moist like: peat soil, coconut coir or peat moss, better to do it in in temperature of 25-28C (77-82F) possible higher, high humidity, moist soil (don’t let it dry), use root growth hormone and when growing from cutting it’s important, to give humidity that will be like fog
Is it necessary to graft or cutting? Yes, necessary to ensure the existent of the fruits and quality of the fruits and there are different parameters: size, taste (sweet, sour or something in between), juicy or dry, amount of seeds or seedless, season of the fruits (different cultivars have different dates for the fruits), better to graft more than one cultivar or more than on citrus.
Cutting need to use for the base of the tree for: disease-free, base that fit for different soils, resistance for drought, base that won’t resist for grafting or specific cultivar for the fruits.
Difficulties/Problems with growing: When the tree young very sensitive to citrus leaf miner, thorns
Planting season: Spring to summer in hardiness zone 9-10a, spring or autumn hardiness zone 10b-11a, possible also in summer and winter the main problem it’s hot and cold days that might cause future problem and even kill the plant, hardiness zone 11b+ planted all year.
How to plant: Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball plus extra 20-40%, put in the hole organic matter, hummus and dried leaves and mix it with some soil, put the tree and loos little bit the root ball above the hole, plant the tree and cover it and don’t push the soil too much strong but not too much lightly because it won’t be stable, after planting put mulch to keep moist on soil, put water, for the next two weeks put every day (better in the morning) , better to take that the tree will be stable, and if not support it with bamboo or a stick that it won’t fall.
Pruning season: End of the winter, beginning of the spring
How to prune: Dead branch, cross branch, density branch grown
Size of the plant: 3-8 m, 10-24 feet
Growth speed in optimal condition: Medium growing to slow growing
Water requirement: Average amount of water, usually the plant need more water in the fruits season, but usually it’s when there are rains and if raining season delay need to increase the amount of water that the fruits won’t be dry and won’t explode and the plant it’s drought tolerant
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing: Full Sun and possible to grow in half shade in the right care but will produce less fruits
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant? No, but possible to grow next to window with sun that possible, grow it as dwarf tree and will take more time to get fruits
Growingalso possible in pots, planter, flowerpot, containers: Yes, when grow in container need to choose the desirable container if it’s small plant it directly if it’s a big container bigger than 30%-50% than the root ball, every time that the tree arrive to full capacity need to switch to bigger until arrives to desirable size, better to switch the soil once in few years soil lose the viability over time and it’s efficient of care for the tree, when it’s not possible to switch all the soil just part of the soil in the side of the roots (don’t afraid from root cutting), it will bear fruits also in 5-10gallon (40 liter) container (but bigger is better), drainage it’s important and need to make holes and to use peat soil and maybe some lava grit in the bottom or something like that, put a bottom for the container and when water the plant let it fill the bottom but also need to dry in the same day, better to grow as dwarf tree or to grow it as bonsai.
When does flowers bloom? Summer / Autumn
General information about the flower Flowers are white with yellow stamen
Thinning / Deadheading of the blossom: The first year should thinning the flowers
Pollination is done by: Bees
When does it yield: Autumn / Winter
Fruits pests or diseases: Citrus stubborn disease, citrus black spot, alternaria
What can be done with big quantities of Citron fruits? Eat, juice, alcohol and the rind used for: fragrant, fruit leather, sugary rind
Work requirements on the fruit: Pick up (sometimes need to take care and cut branches that grow into the fruit)
How long does it take to bear fruit? 2-3 years
Ripening of fruit Possible to pick up the fruit before and let them ripening them in the house
How to grow Citron tree from seeds
Sowing requirement: Moist soil, well-drained soil, 20-27C temperature and better in sunny location
Saving and care seeds until sowing: Dry, dark location in room temperature
Sowing season: Spring to early summer (possible also summer to autumn)
How to plant: Planting in soil that keep moist, cover the seed lightly
Planting spacing: Better in separate pots, direct on the place 3*4m (10*13 feet), for transplant 5*5 cm (2*2 inches)
Depth of Sowing: 2cm (1inches)
Conditions for seeds germinate: Keep the soil and don’t let it dry, rich soil and sunny location
Watering requires for Seeds: Average amount of water
Germination time: 2-4 weeks, but can take longer
Condition of seedling: If there is Citrus leaf miner in one of the trees in the area, better to put it in greenhouse or indoor to protect the tree, young tree very sensitive to citrus leaf miners, better to cover the soil with mulch.
Buddha’s hand – tree Fruit are look like hand with a lot of fingers and little bit shapeless, there is no pulp sometimes seedless. Fruit mostly rind, the ring color: yellow, the size ~10-22 cm
Baladi citron – oval citron, color green / yellow, size 7-15cm