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Times have certainly changed, but citrus trees are adaptable


It was great back when there were large gardens, with rotary clothes lines and a giant lemon tree.

Well, times have certainly changed, and citrus trees have become quite adaptable to smaller spaces and particularly pots.

If you could only plant one citrus tree, which would you choose? My favourite is my little lime covered in the pesty leaf miner – it still keeps producing fruit, not for my gin and tonics, but certainly for the rest of the family.

I love mine squeezed on salmon.

The transition to pots and smaller spaces has been the development of dwarf citrus, which, I should warn, gardeners are in short supply of at this time of year.

There are a few disadvantages for pot culture. Firstly, citrus require full sun and, secondly, poultry manure and citrus food shouldn’t be applied to container plants as this can cause defoliation.

Therefore, when you do fertilise pots in August and September, use a slow release fertiliser, such as Bounceback or Organic Life, but the hidden gem is Sudden Impact for roses.

I know it sounds a little bit incongruous using rose food on citrus; the beauty of rose fertiliser is that it’s alkaline, which citrus love.

Lemons short on juice can be attributed to several reasons: one is a lack of water during production, and the other is when new lemons are left hanging on the tree for too long.

Cut the fruit from the tree as soon as they look well-shaped and yellow skinned, even if they are still hard, then store them inside.

Last weekend at the nursery, a keen gardener could not understand why his lemon wasn’t fruiting.

And, yes, he had covered all the necessary requirements, but I did suggest he start using sulphate of potash.

This is because, since the year began in January, we had the prolonged drought and water restrictions, then cold wintery conditions. This product will generally stimulate ­flowering on all varieties of citrus, grown both in the ground or in containers.


  • Check succulents for fungus following heavy periods of rain.
  • Apply dolomite to roses – leave pruning until the end of the month.
  • Plants affected by scale should be sprayed with Malathon and white oil.
  • Houseplants require a little extra care during winter, especially if they are in heated areas. Consider spraying the leaves each morning to replace moisture drained during the night.

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