Citrus in Containers

This is a photo of a Washington navel orange bush that I used to have growing in the ground. It is the same plant that I wrote about in a post two years ago complaining how it was dropping leaves when I fertilized it. I later talked to a citrus grower who convinced me that it was dropping leaves, because I watered it too much after I fertilized it. I didn’t think I was overwatering it, but it occurred to me that the ground there may not be draining quickly because of its clay-like soil. I figured our orange didn’t like that spot, because when I did irrigate it, the water may have been sitting there too long.

So I dug the plant up and transferred it to a large container. Since I moved it to the container, it has thrived. It hasn’t dropped leaves like it did when it was growing it the ground. Instead, it has grown considerably, and its leaves are a healthy looking dark green color. Just in the past few weeks, it has developed a flush of new green growth, and it is full of blossoms. It also has about 10 large fruits on it that are nearly ripe. It obviously likes being in the pot better than in the ground, and I think it’s because the pot drains water more effectively. Although, it does need more frequent watering in the container.

I also have a small page mandarin orange bush that I had growing in the ground in a different part of our yard for a few years. While it was in the ground, it often dropped many of its leaves like the orange. It also had many yellow leaves even after fertilizer applications, and it didn’t grow much. Last year, I transplanted it to a container. Since then, I’ve noticed it improving. It’s growing more, it’s not dropping leaves, and its leaves are much greener now than they were when it was growing in the ground. It’s also just beginning to bloom now.

This is a photo of an Oroblanco citrus bush we have growing in yet another container. We bought it from a nursery just over a year ago. It has two fruits on it, which I am anxious to taste. So far it also seems to be doing well in a pot.

Last winter, the temperature here dropped down to 26.5 F on two nights, but none of our citrus plants had any noticeable signs of freeze damage. Even the three citrus bushes we have in pots which were outside and uncovered didn’t show any damage from the freezing weather. So far, the orange fruits I have picked are also not showing freeze damage. Cold damaged citrus typically has dried out pulp.

April 21 2012 12:40 am | Oranges and Oroblanco