Do you know which citrus can tolerate lower sunlight levels?

meyermike_1micha(5)March 21, 2011

I ask because in all the years I have been growing them, I have finally discovered which citrus trees I have that do poorly in little sunlight as compared to those that do well with with minimal hours of it.

What have you discovered and I will tell you what I have discovered to see if we have come to the same conclusion while growing them indoors and even outdoors.

Please let us know the ones that do well in part sun as compared to those that need full sun.

This could be great information and hope for those that never think they have enough sun to grow any kind of citrus

Thank you


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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Good question, Mike :-) I know for me, growing citrus in the ground, that my grapefruits really need a lot of sun. And I grow them predominately in a protected area of my lot (backyard, south slope, protected by a large retaining wall to the north) so I can keep them as warm as possible, since I'm not very far from the ocean. Both for looks and for good fruit production. My lemons, especially my Meyer lemon seem to be pretty tolerant of less than perfect circumstances, including a little less sunshine.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 5:34PM
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All of my citrus trees are on the north to northwest side of my house. They all only receive sunlight after noonish. I would have to say that the calamondins are very forgiving. The moro blood orange grew very well but did not bloom for the first 4 years but appears to be doing well with that now too so I don't know if that was a lighting issue or a maturity issue. I would have to agree with Patty on the Meyers. They have been very prolific fruit bearers since planted 5 years ago. Plus they live under a southern magnolia tree and never really get full sun. The naval orange is on the NW side and also grew well but never set any fruit until this past growing season when it gave me an even dozen oranges.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:45PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

In my experience, citrus do well in semi shade locations. My yard is not very sunny because of neighbors growing towering trees. But, I have close to 25 varieties of citrus in it and most get only 4-5 hours of sunlight and are in shade for the rest of the day. Never had any issues with productivity. Heat is different from shade - my yard is not cool in the summer and gets blazingly hot because of concrete pathways near my citrus, so even the grapefruits do well in my yard though they hardly get 4 hours of sunlight.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:58PM
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wanttogarden(USDA 9b, Sunset 15, N. Calif.)

It seems that the sweeter the fruit, more heat is required. Sour fruits like lime and lemons do not need too much heat.


Here is a link that might be useful: Four Winds growing chart

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 1:06AM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Mike, you never did post an answer based on your experience in the NE (and I'm still curious what your list comprises)...

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 2:09PM
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For most all citrus the heat is more important than direct sun; the only problem with less sun is most take longer to reach full production. My Mother had one in Sacramento, CA that was sandwiched between the house and a wood fence and got at most 2 hours of direct sun per day; it bore lemons year round; but the sweetest were in the Summer (HEAT). My Guatemala Meyers are hedgerow planted 7 ft x 8.5 feet (between rows) N to S rows in full sun; they reach full bearing in 3 years and will produce 3-400 fruits per yaar... Macrophylla (full size) rootstock

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 3:31PM
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Hey Tim:

If would have to say I am in the same exact boat as Ashley.

Outdoors I find most of my trees do very with less than 6 hours of sun.

Indoors, I find that my Calamondin, limes, and ponderosa do very well out of the full sunny windows and just placed around the plant room in light.
The Grapefruit as Patty says and my Meyer Lemons are the ones that crave for the most sunniest spot in my room all winter.

I do find that heat plays a major role on how good the fruit turns out. If they ripen by summers end, they are juicy and sweet. If they ripen at any other time, I get dry fruit, or sour fruit with lots of meat.

I do find that I get less fruit and flowering on a few of my trees without lots of sun, but extra green foliage.

I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 9:19PM
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I recently procured a Variegated Flying Dragon and a Variegated Owari Satsuma.

The expert who sold them to me advised that all Variegated plants do better in lower light. I have them in dappled shade and they seem content.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 5:13PM
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prayerrock(zone 5)

New to this forum and wanted to pop on and say hello to Mike and Josh and everyone:) Mike is getting me started in I need another plant addiction..LOL

This topic is a great one since I will have to bring mine in the house for the winter were I live in zone 5.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 9:16PM
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How well do citrus trees handle drastic temperature changes? For example right now in SE Washington where I live it's 94 during the day and 55 at night.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 7:24AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Greetings, Mary!
Mike got another citrus convert, eh? ;-0

Matty, your temps are practically the same as mine right now.
Citrus do fine with these swings during the growing season. During the Winter,
however, it's best to moderate the temperatures. For example, you want to avoid
overheating the leaves in the sun while the container/soil is still very cool.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 10:38AM
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prayerrock(zone 5)

Hey Josh..yep Mike is trying to make get another addiction..LOL

I admit I am addicted and my life has become unmanagable..LOL

So what the heck, why not citrus also.

On that note, I was wondering if somthing like a kumquat could be grown in the house during winter months and still be healthy with the diminished light?

Mary(with all the new stupid questions)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 4:43PM
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And it worked

You won't be sorry once you can pick your own fresh fruit, smell those wonderful fragrant flowers, and see the rewards of your hard work!

You can keep these trees any size you want and grow them outside or in. They are also easy to keep pest free and don't require much work once you get the hang of it.

Kumquat is a great choice from what I hear. Ponderosa have always been troopers for me since the day I first started.

There is no such thing as stupid questions here unless you ask one like"Is it ok to leave my tree outside in a snow storm?lol


    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 7:56AM
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