Citrus can bring a true Mediterranean flavor to your garden and an irresistible memory of summer. Freshly picked citrus fruits can wake up all your senses with their magical scent.
How about some lemon, lime or kumquat from your own garden? Growing citrus plants in containers can help this wish come true. A single look at the green leaves filled with yellow or orange fruits will open your appetite. Not to mention the enchanting sweet scent of the flowers that will occupy your whole balcony or porch. And it’s not only the wax-like flowers that share their irresistible scent – citrus’ leaves share a refreshing scent when rubbed between fingers…
If you have ever had an opportunity to travel to southern destinations you have certainly admired the landscapes filled with lemon and orange trees showing in their full splendor in the local gardens or plantations. You can revive those memories by planting your very own citrus in planters or containers. This way you can give your garden a Mediterranean flavor. If you want an attractive, dense foliage then plant tangerine, orange, kumquats and calamondin.
Another thing that is so fascinating about citrus is their diversity. If you would like to have aromatic fruits then go for lemon and lime. These varieties always ripe – even when there are not enough sunny days. However, the Bergamot orange (citrus bergamia) is the variety that has the most potent smell. In fact, it’s enchanting aromatic oils are responsible for the flavor of the infamous Earl Grey tea. As for the quantity of fruits they give, don’t expect much from oranges as their flowers produce just a few fruits. On the contrary, kumquat and lime will surprise with hundreds of delicious fruits.
There is nothing like enough sun for citrus. This is why a spot in the southern part of your balcony or porch is ideal. However, if it gets too hot during summer you should move the planters into shade so the roots don’t get overheated. Also, make sure you give plenty of water yo your citrus during summer. Watering in the early morning and then in the evening would be ideal. It used to be considered that citrus wants soft water, but it actually prefers water with medium hardness. Although the main pruning should be done during March, small adjustments are allowed all year round.
Citrus fruits are best to be consumed freshly picked, but they can also be used for other things like making delicious marmalade (try kumquat marmalade – it’s divine). They can be also used as an addition to drinks and cocktails. Kaffir lime’s leaves are used for spicing up many dishes from the Asian cuisine. If you want a fragrant dish try Bergamot orange’s fruits. Just to add one more awesome thing about citrus – they make a beautiful decor in your garden or balcony.
Now you must be wondering what will happen to your beautiful citrus plants during winter and you are right to do so as citrus needs protection from the cold. In fact, you will need to take them inside before the first frost. Have in mind that they are evergreens so they need light even during winter. Every place that has temperatures above 10 degrees and has at least moderate amount of light will do. Temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees are ideal. A spot in a warm room near a window, facing the south is preferred. This way the citrus will continue to grow so it will need some fertilization every fourth week. If you don’t have a location that is sunny enough you can always use artificial light. Winter care also includes a regular check for pests as well as regular watering. Make sure you water your citrus only when the top layer of soil has dried out.
If you follow our easy instructions you will enjoy beautiful. fragrant citrus in your own garden!