Author Topic: Indoor Citrus  (Read 444 times)

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Indoor Citrus
« on: May 22, 2021, 11:27:52 AM »
Hi everyone, I hope the start of summer is going well!

So most of my previous posts had related to indoor citrus as I live in a typical unfriendly-to-citrus environment. I have some citrus being shipped from Phoenix perennials in Vancouver and I plan to continue to experiment with growing citrus indoors. I know that this will be a challenge as citrus are plants that obviously thrive outdoors but that hasnít stopped me from trying to have thriving indoor citrus. I am looking for any advice on making this a successful growing experience as I struggled previously with root rot, lack of lighting and fluctuating root temperatures. So this time around I am going ďall-inĒ with the indoor experiment. Listed below is what I have prepared for my indoor citrus (4th time is a charm!):

-They will be living in a 2x4í grow tent that is lined with reflective Mylar material to help reflect light, regulate temperatures and humidity.

-I will be fertilizing with jacks high performance 25-5-15 (after the advice of everyone here).

-fabric pots and plastic air root pruning pots for maximum drainage and access to oxygen (my first attempt at defending from root rot which I have struggled with).

-medium will be 5:1:1:1 for extra drainage. I will used cedar bark fines (the best/affordable bark I could find), 1 mushroom compost, 1 sand, 1 large coarse perlite. I know this mix may seem extreme but I would rather have to water every day then have another set of plants die from root rot.

-TSL 2000 Marshydro LED light that is using 6400K light. The light covers the 2x4 area nicely.

-6Ē oscillating fan for airflow

-humidity/temperature monitor.


First question: because I wonít have to compete with any weather or seasons, how does this effect fertilization/fruiting schedules?

Second question: my area chlorinated tap water, should I dechlorinate?

Ok team, does it seem like I am prepared? Any other recommendations for success?

I intend to have these be indoor plants (yes their size will be a challenge down the road) but I am excited to see what is capable growing citrus in my basement. I also plan to photograph the growing experience and see if I have learned from previous mistakes.

Thanks very much! Any advice is very much appreciated!!!


poncirsguy

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, 6a/6b
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 01:57:20 PM »
watch and treat for insects

brian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1899
    • Pennsylvania (zone 6)
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2021, 02:09:36 PM »
Check the chlorine ppm, should be able to ask your water company.  I forget what the safe level for citrus is.

Measure the root zone temps with a digital meat thermometer.  Ideal is around 80f, below 55f is too cold.  Over 95f too hot

I am curious how it works out for you.  I haven't really tried grow lights but there is no reason it should not work.

Figure out where excess water will drain.  Onto the floor?


Millet

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
    • Colorado
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2021, 03:34:26 PM »
The medium that you are going to use should provide good aeration to the roots.  That type of medium will require a more frequent watering schedule than peat type mediums.  You seem to have a good feeling of all the important requirements for indoor citrus growing.

Olivier

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16
    • Montreal, Qc, Canada - Zone 5
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2021, 09:35:36 AM »
I just completed my first indoor season, and based on my experience I think your current plan is solid.

The lamp choice seems good. Wide lamps seem to do be better than compact and very powerful ones. My current lamp is compact/powerful and supposed to cover my whole grow space, but the leaves and fruits on the edges did poorly.

You might want to keep an eye on the airflow and consider adding another fan. It's very easy to get high temperatures and dry air at the top of the tent and high humidity at the bottom.
I had this issue last winter and it left me susceptible to both root rot and spider mites.

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2021, 10:52:24 AM »
Olivier,

Did you have just fans inside pausing airflow around. Or did you have a filtered fan to pump old air out?

Thanks man. I plan to photo document the process over the course of the season.

Olivier

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16
    • Montreal, Qc, Canada - Zone 5
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2021, 11:54:52 AM »
I only had a fan pumping the air out from the top of my tent, while my intake was at the bottom. Next fall I'll add some small fans inside the tent just to generate more airflow as my current setup was insufficient.

I don't think you need to get a filtered fan. From what I read, the filter is only to cover the smell. It might be great when growing cannabis, but rather useless when growing citrus.
That's the fan I use: https://vivosun.com/collections/ventilation/products/vivosun-8-inch-inline-duct-fan-420-cfm-hvac-exhaust-intake-fan

It's quite powerful though, and will generate negative pressure inside the tent without a power limiter.

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2021, 10:12:52 AM »
Olivier,

Did you pH your water for your indoor plants? I know my tap water is more alkaline which will be a problem for nutrient absorption. I donít know if I should buy pH down solution or use vinegar or try and lower the pH of the soil using Aluminum Sulphate or sulfur.

Water/soil pH is my last hurdle to figure out. Collecting rain water unfortunately is not a viable option for me at this time.

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2021, 10:29:18 AM »
Also if anyone has any advice for pH either soil or water please let me know. My tap water drifts between 7.5 and 8.5 which is no good. I know vinegar does not last long when being used to lower pH. Iím wondering if I use vinegar every time I water. Is that a way to overcome this problem.

Thanks fellas

brian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1899
    • Pennsylvania (zone 6)
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2021, 10:54:43 AM »
Use garden sulphur to lower ph long term.  Espoma is the most common brand

lebmung

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1064
    • Romania, Bucharest,7b (inside city 8a)
    • View Profile
    • Plante tropicale
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2021, 04:23:26 PM »
Use garden sulphur to lower ph long term.  Espoma is the most common brand

In pot culture will not work, use phosphoric acid instead.

brian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1899
    • Pennsylvania (zone 6)
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2021, 06:05:09 PM »
I would argue it *only* works in pot culture, you can't really change the ph of the ground.  Why wouldn't it work in a pot?  It definitely lowers the ph of my blueberries and some other acid loving plants in containers of various sizes

MisterPlantee

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 24
    • Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2021, 08:23:03 PM »
From what I understand, it usually takes a year to see the effects of adding elemental sulfur to the soil. The sulfur gets used  by certain soil dwelling bacteria to create the acidity. Perhaps if you have pots outside that are large enough, they can be colonized properly but for pots that are indoor all the time or that are small, the bacteria might not thrive properly or might not even exist inside

Millet

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
    • Colorado
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2021, 08:56:43 PM »
I spent my adult life working in the greenhouse industry (carnations/roses/potted plants.)  Commercially, most all growers use phosphoric acid for pH control.

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2021, 06:40:59 PM »
I spent my adult life working in the greenhouse industry (carnations/roses/potted plants.)  Commercially, most all growers use phosphoric acid for pH control.

Millet, I know phosphoric acid is most commonly used in pH up and down solutions. I think that is what I am going to try. I am considering testing my soils pH to see how long the soil retains the acidic state.

poncirsguy

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, 6a/6b
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2021, 10:05:59 PM »
My blue berry is in a 20 gallon pot of mostly homemade compost and some back yard garden dirt.  I use sulfur with I think might be success.  It is growing better than my 6 other inground blueberry plants.

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2021, 05:42:15 PM »
UPDATE:

So my plants have arrived and they look a little worse for wear. So I currently have 2 x 1 gallon Meyer lemons, 1 x 1 gallon yuzu ichandrin, 1 x 1 gallon cocktail grapefruit, and 1 x 1 gallon owari satsuma. They are for sure grafted but pretty leggy and they have scars from previous battles with pests. I stripped the plants down to the bare roots to inspect and only one was showing a sign of a little root rot which I cut away. I then reported them in 5-1-1 repti bark - perlite - peat. I wonít lie I over estimate how fast the medium drains and how fast the plants then dry out. My plan is to fertilize once a month as it stands. They are under a grow light for 14 hours a day. The lights on temperature is approx 82f and a low of approximately 65f. I pH my tap water using phosphoric acid to 6-6.5.

Questions:
1) should I set my lights to stay on for longer as they under a light and not the glorious sun?
2) the 5-1-1 plant medium was dry when I mixed it. Should I dunk the pots in water for like an hour to have them soak thoroughly and maybe that will help with water retention?
3) the left plants can barely stand on their own, some are even flopping over. Should I cut off a chunk to try and get them to thicken up and branch out?
4) any advice to help plants bounce back after spending a week in a box due to shipping?

Thanks fellas!

Millet

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
    • Colorado
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2021, 09:29:03 PM »
Canadian Citrus.  You should have pre soaked your 5-1-1 over night before you planted the trees, but you can do it now.  I would soak the trees in a larger container of water over night (12 to 15 hours)  Doing so will not cause any problem to your tree,  rather it will be a good benefit.  With good care your trees should thicken up on their own.  During the summer months you will have to water a 5-1-1 frequently, so I would fertilize twice a month..  It is almost impossible to over water a 5-1-1 medium, so don't worry about  it,  because a 5-1-1 medium provides ample root zone oxygen.  I once ran a test on a 5-1-1 medium where I watered 6 citrus trees in a 5-1-1 twice a day, every day for a month. They were planted in 2 gallon pots. They loved it.  14 hours of light is plenty, even 10 hours would be fine.  The very best of luck t0 you and your trees.

Vlad

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 182
    • Medway, MA zone 6a
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2021, 10:17:35 PM »
Hi Millet. I use 5:1:1 soil mix and some of my trees still die from root rot. What could be the cause?

poncirsguy

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, 6a/6b
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2021, 10:28:05 PM »
Vlad.  You are not alone.  I lost 50+ seedling Meiwa and NZL trees in 5-1-1.  This left 2 Meiwa to die of rot around the collar and 5 NZL trees to survive to graft NZL buds onto this summer.

Millet

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4212
    • Colorado
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2021, 10:49:36 PM »
Poncirusguy, collar rot is not root rot.   Sounds like your seedling died from rhizoctonia.  Young seedlings should only be watered in the morning, then placed in the sun to quickly dry the surface of the medium.  Rhizoctonia is among the larges killer of young seedings.


Vlad, how old is the 5-1-1 ?  I  have never had a single citrus tree die when planted in 5-1-1. My 5-1-1 mix is made from 5 parts Repti-bark, 1 part popcorn sized perlite, and 1 part peat. Further, I have never had a citrus tree die when planted in a 5-1-2 blend.
« Last Edit: Today at 12:47:59 AM by Millet »

CanadianCitrus

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 30
    • Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #21 on: Today at 08:25:02 PM »
Thanks for the advice millet. So when it comes to feeding twice a month. Should I lower the volume of fertilizer or keep it high? Iím currently doing the 250 as prescribed on the bag of the jacks 25-5-15?

Also I have the plants soaking and one of them has perked up already!

poncirsguy

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, 6a/6b
    • View Profile
Re: Indoor Citrus
« Reply #22 on: Today at 10:04:38 PM »
Millet  I could not think of the name so I called it collor rot.  I have very few cases of damp off.  Just 2 Meiwa seedlings with the rest root rot.