Growing Citrus In Cold Places

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My lemon tree started blooming, so I thought I’d share the beautiful gems with all of you. Unfortunately, I can’t share the gorgeous smell! I love the scent of citrus blossoms.

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Not too long ago, the little buds were just tiny, like this:

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They grew until the plant was covered in white buds like this:

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Even before the buds opened they started to smell AMAZING, and over the last few days they have opened into these sweet, waxy blooms.

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Some of the blossoms from last year turned into this year’s fruit. This is a lemon, and the next shot is a blood orange.

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If you have an indoor space that gets a fair amount of sun in the winter, I would highly recommend growing one of these beauties. The foliage is gorgeous, the flowers are lovely (as is the scent), and they are pretty forgiving plants. My dad gave me these trees a few years back. A few of the trees were bare-root, and some of them he had been growing in pots. My dad was a lot better at regularly fertilizing and watering than I have been, but I am improving. You’ll notice that in the following photo, there are not a lot of large leaves, but there is a TON of new growth and small flower buds.

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Even though I brought them inside for the winter, they lost a lot of leaves. There are probably a few reasons for this:

-The seasonal drop in temperature for one.

-The shock of being moved abruptly (without being whatever-the-oppsite-of-hardened-off-is) may have had something to do with it.

-New temperatures

-Less light

-Maybe even the difference of humidity from outside and the mudroom could have done it. I’ve read somewhere that misting your trees can help, or putting them over a tray of pebbles and water, so that the evaporating water can help keep the humidity higher.

-Cold. Our mudroom is very cold in the winter, due to drafts, the tile floor, and the heater vent that was closed until just recently (for some reason), so it may have just been too cold in there.

-And finally, it could have also been a lack of water, since the tree that lost the most leaves was the one that I think was most neglected when it came to watering.

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Whatever the reason, I am just glad that the trees seem to be forgiving me, and I hope to make it up to them this year.

This morning I noticed that the lemon tree had shiny dried spots on it. To get an idea of what I’m talking about, imagine that someone flicked sugary syrup-water onto the leaves and then it dried. And that’basically what happened. The culprits were fairly easy to spot once I knew to look for them. Aphids. They drink the sap from the tender buds and leaves and excrete a sweet sticky substance called “honeydew”.  I also found a solitary “scale”. I killed the majority of the aphids, and removed the scale. I squished them by lightly brushing my fingers over the areas where the infestation was the worst. Kind of gross when you think it through but hey, it works. I need to mix up a spray for the rest of them. We’ll try using some soapy water first, and then go from there.

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Baby Boy enjoys smelling the flowers too, but I have to keep a close eye. He likes to pluck the flower buds!

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So give it a try if you have the inclination! My next citrus attempt…kaffir lime! I’ll keep you updated on how my trees do this year. Any favorite citrus memories and recipes out there?

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