Is it possible to under-plant container citrus trees?

slashyAugust 22, 2008

Hi all,

I have two small citrus trees, a Eureka lemon & a Tahitian lime, that are about 20cm tall each at the moment. They've been living quite happily in a sunny spot in my backyard all Winter since I bought them. As we're heading into Spring here, and I imagine they're about to put on a bit of a growth spurt, I'll be re-potting them soon into 50cm-wide, minimum 50cm-deep self-watering containers (the type with a reservoir at the bottom).

What I'm wondering is, does anyone have any experience of planting anything around the base of citrus trees in containers? Any plants that would be beneficial companion plants, or that like similar conditions and might do well there? My preference is always for edible plants & herbs, but I'd be happy to explore other options.

My conditions here are frost-free and quite warm (think Southern California, but with a little more Summer humidity). These are plants that are intended to live outdoors all year round. The property I currently live on already has a thriving mandarin tree & unknown-variety lemon tree in the ground.

Also, any tips for how best to care for first-year citrus trees would be fabulous! I'm guessing staking them is a good idea? Should I pinch off any flowers that appear?

Thanks in advance for your responses,


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Citrus do not like wet feet .
A container with a saucer might not be the best idea .
No staking is needed .
The movement from winds actually produces a stronger trunk over time .
Check this link for some great advice

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing citrus

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 8:50AM
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There is a web site that has a very nice section about companion planting. I just read that Nasturtium flowers planted in the root zone, under citrus trees help repel insects because the tree will take up the pungent odar of the Nasturtium. This doesn't affect the taste of the fruit. You might get some good ideas from this site.

Here is a link that might be useful: companion planting, etc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2008 at 11:25AM
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gatormomx2, thanks for the tips. I'm opting for the self-watering containers (which are more like 'earthboxes' than pots with saucers underneath- they have a water reservoir below where the soil is) because other people I know have container-grown citrus in my area and warn me that without the water reservoir, they will get parched by our hot summer winds and die. I imagine that this wouldn't be such a concern in places with less dry summer heat, or higher summer rainfall.

Brass tacks: thanks for that! I might have a go at planting nasturtiums underneath the lemon tree and see if it works.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 1:04PM
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