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Author Topic: Growing citrus in pots  (Read 1401 times)

Tropheus76

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Growing citrus in pots
« on: March 21, 2019, 02:44:22 PM »
I seem to have issues keeping citrus trees alive in my grey sand soil. They just seem to fade out with a few exceptions. My key lime, 9 pound lemon and pommalo seem to do fine. A couple more seem to survive but I wouldn't call them flourishing. But nothing else lasts more than a year. So I am wondering if citrus in a large pot might be a better plan. I really like Shiranu mandarins and they are one of the normal failures. So anyone who keeps them in pots, and suggestions?

Millet

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 03:22:15 PM »
What is the makeup of a "gray sand soil "?  Containerized citrus trees absolutely require to be grown in a well draining aerated medium.  There are several commonly used mediums, but the number one used medium for container plants is a 5-1-1 which is 5 parts bark, one part peat and one part builders sand (some use perlite in place of sand).  Newer growers of citrus should not feel badly about losing a tree or two, as the average life of a container citrus tree is less than two years.  However, as one gains knowledge, this changes rapidly.  There are  container citrus trees that are over 100 year old.




« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 08:47:52 PM by Millet »

lebmung

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2019, 04:51:44 PM »
Clay or teracotta pots would improve survival rate much better.

luak

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2019, 05:02:55 PM »
I have a Page mandarin going on 10, maybe more don't keep track anymore.I just downsize this tree from 25 to 20 squat container this January All my others about 30 were uppotted to 15 gl squat containers, they will be in there for a long time.




« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 08:23:00 PM by luak »

Daintree

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2019, 11:34:45 PM »
I have 9 different citrus in pots, in the 15 to 20 gallon range. Some of them are 10 years old, and they are all doing great.  If your pots are outside, and the drainage hole are on the sides of the pots, you may want to put wire mesh inside to keep vermin out.  I had a couple of voles set up housekeeping once, and they ate some of my plants off just below the soil line, the rotten little rodents!

Carolyn

spaugh

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2019, 11:54:58 PM »
I have a Page mandarin going on 10, maybe more don't keep track anymore.I just downsize this tree from 25 to 20 squat container this January All my others about 30 were uppotted to 15 gl squat containers, they will be in there for a long time.





Nice trees.  What do you use for dirt?
Brad Spaugh

luak

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2019, 08:39:46 AM »
My local nursery has pretty much everything I need. He has no 2 ground pinebark, horticulture perlite, Kellogg mix garden. These are my main mixes. I buy a lot of fert,s on sale, Osmocote plus is used with my Peter H/P. Rainwater is my choice. P/h 6 or 6.5. I buy Espoma products in the fall at Walmart at very low prices and topdresh my tree,s, just for the hell of it, canít pass up cheap stuff.
I am good in grafting so donít need to buy trees, itís more fun making your own trees, added about 30 treeís in the last two years, all of the finest varieties.



Tropheus76

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2019, 08:58:41 AM »
Aside from raccoons and squirrels we really don't have any 4 legged small vermin. Deer are a PITA for my in-ground stuff and are relentless. Guess a vole is kind of like a ground squirrel/mole? Ill give the very loose pine bark/sand/peat method a try.

luak

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2019, 10:41:10 AM »
The problem with peat, if you use high nitro frets it disappears quickly.

containerman

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2019, 06:26:54 PM »
Currently I have 16 different citrus trees in 1/2 wine barrels in the 5-1-1 mix doing great. Iím on my 5th year with my Meyer lemon and the other trees 1-4 years all healthy and producing great fruit .

forumfool

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2019, 02:00:20 PM »
Lusk do you get a lot of fruit from them?

spaugh

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2019, 02:55:08 PM »
What do you guys think about coco husk as half of a potting mix? 
Brad Spaugh

z_willus_d

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2019, 03:53:48 PM »
I have several 8 year old citrus trees that do well in 50-gal plastic wine containers cut down 2/3 the way up.  I worry about the long term health of the trees as they become more root-bound in maturity, and pruning citrus both often removes the next-season's fruiting canes and also stimulates just more growth.  Still, I've had really good results with these potted citrus, particularly after taking Millet's advice with the low biuret urea spraying in early spring, etc.  Last year, I might have averaged 50 fruit per tree (oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins).

This past weekend, I planted 13 one two old citrus trees (one year since shipping from the nursery) that were starting to get root-bound in their 5G pots.  I am using air-pruning expandable root-builder containers for these trees, so it will be interesting to see how they perform compared to their older brethren in hardened, traditional containers of much greater volume.  In my area, I make a point to plant these trees to get shade in the afternoon and pick-up the morning light.  Full sun exposure or afternoon heat results in drying and stress in my experience.  I have used the coco hulls more as a top layer mulch than as one of the main components of my planting mix.  For the mix, I have a combination of path-fines bark, peet, decomposed granite or sand, forest humus, and perlite w/ some organics and micro-nutrients mixed in.   The bark and peet make up over 50% of the mix with about even parts of the remaining constituents.

Here's a link to the not so pretty trees just transplanted:
http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=7511.msg346848#msg346848

Millet

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2019, 09:53:59 PM »
Z-willis,, Rootmaker expandable containers make a great container.  They are also very easy to expand into larger and larger sizes just by adding an extra panel.  I have a Bittersweet orange tree in a bottomless Rootmaker expandable container.  The tree has grown into the ground.  Spaugh, four or five years ago I  used Coco husk chicps (CHC) in many container trees.  They worked fairly well, but after a year or so the husk brakes apart into sort of a peat consistency.   Currently I have switched over to Repti Bark.  Repti Bark is 1/4 inch natural fir bark pieces. Five parts Repti Bark, 1 part peat and 1 art perlite make a wonderful medium for container plants.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2019, 10:02:27 PM by Millet »

Vlad

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2019, 10:21:39 PM »
Millet, are you no longer using Miracle Gro Garden Soil?

spaugh

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2019, 11:25:54 PM »
Thanks guys.  One more question, when you guys say peat, are you talking peat moss?

Millet did you ever experimwent with hydroton clay pebbles?  Ive got quite a bit of that laying around.  Seems like it would work well in place of perlite/sand

Brad Spaugh

Millet

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2019, 12:00:19 PM »
Spaugh, Yes peat = peat moss, no I have never used hydroton clay pebbles.   Actually most any medium that provides good aeration and good drainage would probably be good for container citrus. Laaz posted a medium several months ago,  it was a 50/50 mixture of miracle grow garden soil, and Turface MVP.  Vlad, yes still use MGGS for larger trees. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 04:12:48 PM by Millet »

spaugh

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2019, 09:24:29 PM »
Thanks, I got a finger lime Im going to put in a pot and try to baby for a year.  Too hot at my place to just put it out in the orchard. 
Brad Spaugh

Seanny

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2019, 02:54:47 PM »
In my dry yard, dirt from my yard works fine. Citrus suck up so much water every day that potting media is not critical. At the end of the day there is not enough water left that can cause issue.

daytripper

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2019, 10:56:49 AM »
What do you guys think about coco husk as half of a potting mix?

Coco works great for potted citrus.  I use a combo of coco coir and coco chips and it works great.  Coco takes much longer to break down than peat and pine bark based mix's

Vlad

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2019, 02:28:34 PM »
Daytripper, what brand coco chips do you use and what size are the chips?

Millet

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2019, 03:43:06 PM »
Fir even breaks down slower than pine.

brian

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2019, 04:04:43 PM »
I was using cocoa shell mulch as part of my mix last year simply because it was novel and I got a few free bags.  Despite the bag sitting open outside all winter (constantly wet) it seems pretty intact.  I'd keep using it if it was convenient and cheap.

I was looking at repti-bark (advertised as lizard bedding) last year and it was really expensive compared to mulch.  I'm trying to find a cheaper source.  I have been looking for "pine bark mini-nuggets" which seems to be a grading class for mulch that looks similar though not washed thoroughly.  However I can't find it anywhere locally, only large chunky "pine bark nuggets"

SoCal2warm

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Re: Growing citrus in pots
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2019, 10:50:44 PM »
Citrus roots like to be [moderately] dried out in periodic intervals. The trick is to cycle the moisture level between wet and dry, while staying within a certain range, never letting the soil become either completely parched or waterlogged.

daytripper

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