30 Tips for Growing and Using Citrus Fruits

30 tips for growing and using citrus fruits - oranges and grapefruits

Grow Your Own Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits. such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines, are subtropical and can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness zones 8-11.

For gardeners dreaming of their own citrus in northern climates, you may grow these tender plants in pots, bringing them inside when cold weather approaches.

citrus fruits  - orange trees

9 Top Tips for Growing Citrus Successfully:

  • Citrus plants do best in slightly acidic, well-drained, loamy soil
  • Most citrus are self-pollinating, you only need one
  • Plant standard trees 15-20 feet apart
  • Plant dwarf trees 8-12 feet apart
  • Most citrus will begin fruiting in 3-7 years, be patient
  • Fertilize with a 5-5-5 fertilizer until the plant begins to bear, then switch to a citrus fertilizer for fruiting
  • Citrus are heavy feeders, watch for signs of deficiencies
  • Do not mulch around the base of the trunk
  • Protect citrus from frost

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10 Tips for Potted Citrus:

  • Choose a deep pot with drainage holes in the bottom
  • Use a quality potting medium that drains well
  • Plant dwarf varieties
  • Watch for spider mites, aphids, and scale – treat with horticultural oil
  • Keep citrus plants indoors next to a sunny window in winter
  • Move plants outside after danger of frost in spring
  • Gradually move plants to sunnier spots to acclimate them
  • Potted citrus trees can dry out quickly in hot weather, check them often
  • Be patient, potted citrus plants may take several years to bear fruit
  • Potted citrus plants do not produce large quantities of fruit

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Using Citrus Fruits

Even if you don’t live in the orange belt, you can still enjoy these tasty treats from the grocery store.

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Citrus Fruits:

  • Oranges and grapefruit should feel firm and heavy for their size
  • Lemons and limes should give a little bit when pressed with your thumb (these have less pith and more juice)
  • Fruit that is more aromatic will have more flavor
  • Avoid blemishes, soft spots, off odors, or moldy spots

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citrus fruits sliced and ready to use!

7 Tips for Using Your Citrus:

  • Juice for drinking, flavoring foods, and making smoothies, sauces, and salad dressings
  • Make candied citrus slices or peels for storage
  • Grate, zest, or slice into foods and beverages
  • Make jam and marmalade
  • Squeeze and freeze in ice cube trays to add to drinks or recipes
  • Can citrus sections and juice
  • Refrigerate – most citrus will store in the refrigerator for several weeks

Try making Cranberry-Orange Marmalade!

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Do you grow citrus fruits? What is your favorite variety? Leave a comment!

30 Tips for Growing and Using Citrus Fruits by The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
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