Growing Citrus at the Allotment

Growing Citrus at the Allotment

Citrus fruits are widely enjoyed in the UK and are now easier to grow from cultivated varieties. Citrus trees love the warmth, but it is possible to grow them in the UK; particularly in more Southern areas with under glass growing during winter. They are an attractive addition to a plot or garden with their floral displays.

Citrus, such as lemons are one of the easier citrus fruits to grow, along with Oranges, Limes and Kumquats. The compact Citrus trees are best grown in large containers, so that they can be moved to greenhouses, conservatories or somewhere bright and frost-free during the winter months. Citrus trees do not thrive well in the warm and dry heat of centrally heated rooms, indoors. A cooler but light area, such as a conservatory or greenhouse is best during the colder months.

Citrus trees will require re-potting every 2-3 years to rejuvenate them.

Citrus plants require regular watering; they become particularly dry in compost but do not allow them to sit in water as the roots can rot and the leaves can turn yellow, which is a sign of over-watering. Rainwater is particularly enjoyed by Citrus trees where possible but if you are in doubt, allow the plant to dry out partially rather than saturate it.

Citrus trees like humidity rather than dry heat (like indoor central heating), you can help achieve this by misting and watering the floors of a greenhouse on a warm day.

In late winter; February time you can prune the Citrus tree to shape it and encourage new growth. During summer, pinch back the tips of the most vigorous shoots. 

Citrus tree fruits slowly form and ripen over several months; sometimes they can take up to one year. Once the fruit has grown to the desired size and has a rich skin colour it can be picked when required.

Consider carefully when you purchase a young tree; the variety and care instructions, as these may differ widely and bear in mind where you are in terms of weather and location. Some things to think about are if they are self-fertile, a compact or smaller growing tree, their age and when they will fruit and the desired temperatures it should be kept in. Seek advice from your garden centre before buying.



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Growing Citrus in Summary

Planting Citrus

  • Grow in large containers in a sunny spot
  • Consider varieties and age for fruiting
  • Consider your location and temperatures

Growing Citrus

  • Water regularly but do not over-water
  • Rainwater is best during the summer
  • Move under glass during winter

Harvesting Citrus

  • Can flower for most of the year
  • Fruits ripen very slowly
  • Pick as required when fully ripened