Help with containerized citrus please!

jessframpton(5)January 24, 2013

Hello all! You don't know me yet but I have been silently stalking the forums for a long time! It's about time I speak up. I have followed all of your great instructions and trouble shooting tips and have great looking baby citrus trees. I have an improved Meyer Lemon, a Bearss or Persian lime and one kumquat tree that I don't have a more specific name for yet. I have them in A1's gritty mix (thanks a TON to "jessicasdoincitrus") and on a regular fertilizer/watering schedule. So far so good. I planted them in plastic pots because I live in Colorado and move them around regularly for sunlight accessibility and watering.

Now is where my vanity kicks in..... I have fancy big ceramic pots that I want to sit the ugly plastic, very useful for moving around and watering pots in to for showing off. I will also move these ceramic pots outside next season to protect the citrus from the sun.

I have read that mulching the in-between pots space will help as a buffer/protector. My issue with mulch is that it does not keep it's form when I lift the plastic pots out to water and move multiple times a week. What are some of your suggestions of alternate mediums for filling the space, and helping protect the trees themselves while outside during the summer months? Any advice will help. Thanks!!


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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Hello and welcome. Sounds like you are doing a great job. We love pictures around here so please share if you can.

Your idea sounds like a good one. Im curious, why do you need to remove the tree from the ceramic to water. The ceramic should have drain holes. Also the mulch is a good idea but really there isnt anything that will keep its form.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Thank you for the prompt response. I will get pics as soon as I am at home with some decent day light for quality.

I remove the plastic pots from the ceramic because I can not lift the ceramic myself. I move them daily for sunlight exposure. We are SO dry here that I put the plants in the bathroom when the shower is running for moisture. It seems to help better than misting the leaves in the dry environment. I baby them and carry them around daily. It would not be possible with ceramic pots.

Seems as though I may have hit a dead end?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I do the same things with my Meyer Lemon so my wife will let me keep it inside. You may want to try and create a faux top to the pot for winter use. I cut part of a cardboard box into a circle that would fit just inside the pot and put the mulch on top of it so it looks good. If you have to pull the smaller pot from the larger ceramic one it is very easy, quick, and not much mess.

Do you have to move them into the shower area during the summer months as well?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:25AM
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Thanks for the response arkberry. Help me understand this a little better. Do you set the cardboard horizontally on top of the potting mix, then add mulch to the top?

I am looking for something to fill in along the sides for protection. I am thinking about taping some black landscaping fabric, unless anyone has a better option.

I find that my citrus are much less fussy in the summer. I do mist the leaves with a mister, but they are outside all season. In fact, with this mild winter, they have been out every calendar day of 2013!

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:23PM
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What I do is wrap aluminum foil around the whole pot like a gift wrap then poke holes at the bottom. Wrap it thick!
Place 3 or four sheets on a table or surface and then lay the foil down big enough to pull up with just enough to fold over the top after placing your ugly black pot on top.

Then I place the wrapped pot into the ceramic one then fill in around the pot pushing the mulch down very hard.
Then I unfurl the top back and now that the aluminum has been formed against the mulch, as you lift your pot out, the aluminum stays behind along with the shape of your hole.
Just slip the pot right back into the hole you have shaped in your ceramic pot.

Welcome and I hope this helps. You are doing a great job. It's obvious that you have the concept about good draining mixes or you wouldn't of used the mix you are using now.
No room for uninvited spider mites either showering the off like that!


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 17:49

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:46PM
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MeyerMike! I have been following along taking your advice for months! I have trouble shot with your advice many a times, friend:-)

I am thinking I will try your approach. I was going to try some landscaping fabric taped in the pot, but I worry about the small amount of rain fall that we do receive. Not once have I seen mold or rot here in CO pose an issue, but
I'd hate to idly let that happen. I'll use all of the remains from the bark portion of the gritty mix that my husband keeps threatening to toss out..... the audacity!

Thank you for your response, and all of your knowledge on other threads.

I have seen pics online of people planting moss on the top of their containerized citrus plants. Would that not be counter productive for drainage? I think it looks neat, but have some reservations about viability. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Hey Jess..Did it work?

Thanks for your kind comments. I always hope that I am able to help someone enjoy container growing and be successful at it.

I think your trees will be just find knowing that you have been hanging around here and taking in much info from a good group here. Awesome

I don't like to put moss on the top of my mixes when my plants come inside because it slows down the evaperation from the mix I use and I can never tell when I need to water in a pot that is not small and plastic.
I don't mind having them look nice like that in the summer though:-)


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:41PM
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jess, if you can find a plastic pot slightly larger or even the same size you can put one inside the other. and then into a ceramic liner. then you fill whatever mulch you want. best if 2 plastic pots are close - then you just lift one out as you need. of course, that means you'll have to buy/find doubles . but usually there's enough extras around, at least with me. if you use old exhausted soil instead of mulch (like old soiless mix left over from other plants) - and water it too - it will settle and usually will hold it's shape when inner plastic is lifted out - so then you won't need a double at all. i do this all the time with potted plants that i keep outside. even more, you can plant some other plants in the small pocket of soil , smth resilient and non-demanding that can take similar light levels. this will keep the inner soil cooler and slow down the evaporation from inner pot in hot weather.
oh, and if the outside 'ring' is planted, the roots will knit the soil together tightly - the walls will hold easily.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:59PM
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