I’ve been collecting citrus trees in my garden these last few years, and I have to admit I’m hooked!
Along with fresh herbs, citrus fruit has become a staple at my house. I keep a large bowl on the table, with lemons, limes, oranges and the occasional grapefruit inevitably outnumbering the other seasonal offerings. Salads, drinks, cooking and baking can always use some fresh juice or zest, and I absolutely relish a good batch of lemon curd now and then…
You can have all kinds citrus in your garden, too. They’re fairly easy to grow, and there are so many different kinds that do well here. The flowers smell phenomenal, plus the ornamental value is nice- glossy, evergreen leaves create a lush background for the display of fruit.
Planting in containers is just fine (especially with dwarf varieties, since they only top out between 8-12′). You can even graduate in container size as you go, as long as you end up in something about the size of a 1/2 wine barrel. Use Planting Mix straight from the bag, and mix in a nice starter fertilizer (like Masterstart, Surestart). In-ground plantings get started off right when you add plenty of rich compost into the native soil, along with the aforementioned fertilizer. For happy, productive plants, fertilize pretty regularly with citrus food.
We carry lots of citrus all through the year, and we make sure to grow the unusual varieties as well as the favorites. Here are a few of the coolest:
‘Meyer’ lemon- there’s a reason these are so popular; just one taste will tell you why. Full flavored, with a delightful balance between tart and sweet. Ultra productive, too, with year-round fruiting.
‘Bearrs’ (or persian) lime- I call it the ‘Meyer’ of limes. Bigger, juicier, and more flavorful than the kind you’d find at the store, and I must say, this is the tastiest lime I’ve ever tried. Grows better here than any other lime.
For something different, try a few on the more exotic side:
‘Variegated Pink’ lemon- Make pink lemonade! Clear pink flesh inside of green & yellow striped rind, with nice acidity. The foliage is downright gorgeous, with bold cream-colored splashes and bright pink new leaves.
‘Kieffer’ lime- the leaves are used in Asian cooking, as are the small bumpy limes. Deep purple-red new growth is interesting, too.
Calamondon- this is a striking plant in the landscape, with a compact habit and variegated cream and green leaves. The small fruit has a sweet rind and tart pulp, and you eat it whole like a kumquat.
You can plant any of these (and many more) right now, so come in and see our selection- there’s a lot to choose from!