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Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Posted by Shiraz78 England, UK (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 4, 11 at 9:28

Hi Guys,

New-comer here. So glad to see that there are other Citrus growers on-line I can turn to for advice as Citrus growing is quite rare in England. Very few have success but I have decided that i am going to give it a proper go....

I do need some advice over and beyond what I have been able to dig out from the archives on here.....

1. I have just bought a mini-lemon tree, but it looks more like a vine, and its branches are so long that it has been grown into a circular bush-like shape. I was going to a more tree-type look, so should I prune it back to encourage sideways growth? Any tips on how to straighten this plant out or is it just too late to tame this one?

2. on the same lemon tree I notice that thick dark-green branches are appearing sitting directly on top of the main stem. What are these and if I get rid of them, will they harm the tree's future?

3. I also have a meyer lemon and a Calamondin plant which I plan to bring indoors. I have huge windows all around my house so light is not going to be an issue, but during the winter our sky is very grey....does this light count or when we say light we mean 'sunny' sunlight? Also the air can get quite dry, if fed and fertilised properly, how will my plants cope with this? shall I just spray everyday on the foliage...would this be enough? Has anyone on here got experience of growing Citrus in the UK?

4. I have bought a ready-made Citrus compost, are these ok or do I have make a special mix like Meyer Mike?

Thanks alot for the advice I have already received on here and more than I will un-doubtedly pester everyone for.

Best Regards

Shiraz


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

First off, it is great to meet you all the way from there:-)

Welcome

You can grow anything there just as we do here. I have heard of many people having great experience growing citrus in your area. Who knows, maybe by the time you get this all under your belt, you could start a local Citrus Club.

I will tell you that the first and most important thing about growing citrus in your area and or for that matter where trees spend a lot of time indoors is to make sure they are planted in a great well draining, open, and porous mix.

Next is make sure you have plenty of light to get them through the winter in your home and if not to think about investing in lights.
It sounds like your trees are going to be VERY happy in this regards.
Even if you get many grey days, sunlight still reaches your plants in windows that big.

Is there any way you can post a few closeups of your tree so that we can better guide you as to trimming them?

I would never ever use any sort of compost in a container for your trees since you will defeat any open porous mix purposes. Your trees will show signs of decline as soon as the days grow shorter, even outside in full light once it starts to compact your mix.

I do have friends that frequent England and they tell me the weather is more temperate than us rarely hitting the nineties and hardly ever into the teens in winter. What is the weather like in your area year round?

It is usually a general rule that no matter where anyone lives, citrus perform best in open and porous mixes while sitting in containers:-)

This is just to get you started. Let us see how many more will contribute. I will help more if some don't cover what I am thinking.

I noticed you had other questions and I will leave that open for our friends here.

Again, welcome

MIke:-)


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

1. depending on the size of your tree, it may be too early to prune. pic will help. sometimes pruning will encourage more growth, either straight up or laterally.

2. these dark green branches might be what some people call water spouts, they grow very fast and thick. wont hurt the tree at all, but will affect the shape. generally, will cause the tree to have a more bushy shape.

3. you have to account for intensity of the light and also the length of time, winter = shorter periods of light. the sun will be at a much lower angle, plus the cloud cover, i'd say add some artificial lighting. the room i put my plants in for the winter doesnt have good light, so i setup some high wattage CFL's with timers and run the lights for 12 hrs.

during the winter, we have the heater on, and it can dry the air in the house. i do not mist, but i do check the soil moisture approx 3-4 after watering.

4. like mike said, a well drained medium is best. im not sure about a citrus compost mix, but you can get a pot of it, water it thoroughly and set it out for a few days and see how much moisture it retains. you could mix it with perlite to get better drainage. i use a garden soil mix, adding in perlite, and it holds decent moisture for 2-3 days in our very very hot Texas summers.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

For what it's worth, my Climate here in Ohio is very similar to that of England. People think these Great Lakes are left over glaciers. Not true, the glaciers made the hole. But those holes are just where all the rain goes. I'm sure you can relate. I asked an Englishman where are the lakes without rivers came from, he looked out at the rain and smiled, saying "Where do you think ya' dumb Yank.

More to the point, while I enjoy freezing winters compared to the mild ones across the Pond, we both get to enjoy sunless days for weeks on end. Last I checked, it was something like 30% sunshine for the entire year, and less than half that during the winter. We both get short days in the winter and long ones in the summer. Generally speaking green-pigmented chlorophyll absorbs mostly visible light, however enough visible light reaches the ground that the Tree will do just fine with the natural light of your window room during the winter, provided it is properly heated.

During my trees first winter, I was surprised to see them grow and flourish despite the low hanging sun and endless clouds. Around March, they bloomed and my 'Sun' room smelled great. I did notice an elongation of leaves, but I suspect that was due to the reduced light. A larger surface area means more light which means more sugar, or something like that.

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As far as pruning, it's sort of a catch-22. If you prune, you will have to keep pruning, especially if you want a certain form. If you don't, the tree will grow however it thinks best for the current situation without much planning for the future. Thus, the indoor tree has no idea it will become an outdoor tree in a couple of months, and vice-a-versa. Without pictures and a 'bushy' description, the only pruning I'd suggest, other than no pruning at all, would be to heed back some of the top branches, keeping one of them to become a new leader. Again, without pictures I can't really say. You could keep it a bush, I'm growing one of my cuttings into one. You could also try to train it into a 'real' tree, whatever that means.

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At fist I used the ready-made citrus soil. It nearly killed my trees. I will 3rd what everyone else said, and use a well draining soil. Real citrus does best in a sandy loam, which is a heavy draining soil. But don't use that in your pot, like I did, as it will compact and stay wet, literally drowning the roots in water making them unable to absorb nutrients as they rot away. That said, I've had no problems with my dwarf citrus once I switched to a proper potting soil. I'm no green thumb, but the little guys are doing well.

The popular soil around here now seems to be Al's mixture. I think it's 5 parts pine bark, 1 part peat, and 1 part perlite mixed in with some gypsum (or lime) and a proper amount of fertilizer. I'm sure someone will come along and verify, but whatever it is you can find all of the components at any garden store. My mixture is very similar, though I leave out the gypsum and lime to keep my PH around 5.5-6.0 from the peat, but I'm no expert. If you are curious, I use 7 parts by volume small-medium CHC and 1 part by volume sphagnum peat moss (pH usually 4.5-5.0). I do a lot of work at a University lab, and the plant guys owe me favors, so they checked out my soil and it's pH is 6.0. But I'm no expert, and while I've read papers that say citrus prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.0, everyone around here seems to do just find in any good draining soil regardless of 'pH' testing. Anyway, enough technical mumbo-jumbo. (A soil pH below 5.0 will harm citrus, or so the plant guy tells me... that would be hard to do with any of the soils talked about around here :P)

As far as fertilizer, stay away from 'sticks' or any kind of instant fertilizer. You'll want a high Nitrogen count fertilizer. The recommended ratio is 3:1:1, but you might not be able to find that. I use a 19:6:12 time released formula, of which I can't remember the name. Whatever you do, do not use in-ground fertilizers, or direct chemicals, such as tossing in a handful of potash or ammonium-nitrate like you may do in a garden, or you will burn your potted plants.

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So that's a lot of info. Let me just finish by saying I'm on my 2nd year, and having spent decades killing house plants left and right, the advice on this forum has taught me a great deal and helped me help my trees thrive. So I'll leave with these words of wisdom. "You cannot plant an acorn in the morning and expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak... or bite into a fresh lemon" (I added that last part for posterity).


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hi Guys,

Mike, I have read so much of your stuff on here it feels like I already know you. Thanks for the advice, I have got the citrus mix on Saturday and watered the plants after I re-potted them the same day. I have invested in a PH and moisture meter just so I know whats going on a root level.

Question around the Citrus mix is that it looks totally different to what you use Mike, your mix almost looks ornamental (just mainly bark chips), but I bought bark chips recently and they just look damp and moist so I decided against suing them and bought a ready-made citrus mix which is low in peat, and made from totally degradable materials. I am considering adding perlite to the standard citrus mix, but don't want to ruin what may be a the perfect mixture for citrus. I checked yesterday the moisture levels on my plants (3 days after watering) and its still showing wet...though the top of the soil seems dryish. The question is....if its still wet down there after 3-4 days, isn't that a sign that my mix is wrong? Is it harmful if I have a mix that takes say...6-7 days to dry out? Let me know on this one

What about rains guys, over here in the summer, we have frequent rains, though there may be sun and it'll be warm but still it will rain. Should I keep my plants inside so they don't get wet roots after being over watered in the rain, or shall I leave them outdoors to benefit from the air/humidity and direct sun? would appreciate an answer to this one as I keep wondering ...shall I bring them in? shall I leave them out? and wife just keeps sighing at how many times I keep moving my pots from location to location .

I will upload pics guys, as soon as I have taken some and figured out how to upload on here. Too late for the pruning though, as I got trigger happy with my pruners and just went for it after about 10 hours reading on-line.

One Calamondin just had too much fruit, too much foliage and a good portion of the leaves were just not getting any sunlight or air circulation and as I saw many buds of new flowers I didn't want to jeapordise their nurishment and just went for it, will send pics soon

The Meyer lemon was growing like a bush so heartbreakingly I have to trim it back hoping to grow it like a tree using a stake to re-shape the plant.

Any advice is appreicated


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hello and thanks Shiraz:-)

Let me do the best I can do in this uncomfortable position with my leg elevated..lol. Broke my heel:-(

I love what Windysheets and Houstontexas had to offer, especially the part about open mixes.
It is apparent here that many grow in different mixes and become quite successful at it.
There is common ground between most of us>

*Citrus will not thrive in mixes that compact or hold water for too long of time, especially in climates such as ours. This fact remains that everyone here no matter where they live, even in hot climates all benefit from porous mixes and tweak it a bit based on conditions and circumstances, no matter what they use.

Yes, my mix is exactly how Windysheets describes and I just love the results. I have yet to kill a tree since I have been, especially due to the fact they spend a lot of time indoors.
If you are conscientious of this fact, you will have a great head start. Many people think that just any ole bagged mix will due, but unfortunately learn the hard way after years of trying.
If your mix is taking over 6 days to dry out without any watering after the first day, yes, too me that is way to long to dry out.* How long will it take to dry out once the sunlight is only a few hours day and winter is here, or between rain storms is of greater concern.

A good mix should dry out evenly through out although many will dry out on top first and then to the bottom.
You could use a wick to trick the moisture out from the bottom. Having moisture towards the bottom is not always a bad thing, but not knowing how to work with it is.
It is recommended here that one use a moisture meter to read the moisture and then others such as I recommend using a wooden dowel.

You see, the great thing about using porous mixes is that one does not have to worry about bringing their plants in and out dependent on rain. You can just leave them out there until the cold without a hitch. You don't have to worry about drying out come the short days either. Really, the more often you have to water, the healthier your tree will be. It can be inconvenient for many, and for other not at all and find great benefits in watering more frequently.

Lol..I can only imagine what your wife thinks. I do it all the time when I loose the sun or when the cold arrives..

You know I don't go by any set rules on trimming. I do it whenever I feel like it and my trees never respond badly. The only time I don't prune is when a new flush of growth starts to appear for fear of loosing buds, or when in bud so I don't cut them off.

Let us know when you get pictures. I would love to see them. Use a free hosting site such as photo bucket and then upload them from there. It is easy.

Have a great all for now.

Mike


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Wow.....thanks guys.....

Great feedback...I can't wait to get home to see if my soil is any dryer. I am seriously considering getting some crushed granite and changing my mix, but due to inexperience I have re-potted twice in the last 2 weeks, this would then be a third re-pot and I don't know if I will be doing more harm than good.

Any thoughts on whether or not I should add builders sand to my out of the bag citrus mix?


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Shiraz:

What size were the bark that you had a look at? What did it look like? Do you have access to perlite and other goodies?

I have an idea for your mix if you should decide to amend the bagged one.

I wouldn't do another thing with your trees until you get the perfect together mix together or the one that you know your trees will be satisfied with.

Mike:-)


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

I would suggest a test, as your trees aren't going to die like tomorrow if the soil isn't "perfect." Try to mix up a soil with the qualities mentioned above (fast draining, good air flow) using the recipes found all over the site. (As I said before, Al's recipe has had tremendous success.) Gather two smallish, around 8-10", containers to test your soil. Fill one container with your new mix, and one with your current soil. Water them as if you were watering your trees. If you old soil is really bad, you will see the difference right away, as the new mix will not pool water on the top while the old soil might. Your new mix might even start draining a little right away, which is perfectly fine and desirable IMHO.

Test the soil after 12, 24, and 36 hours by shoving a dowel from the bottom up through the drainage holes, and examining the amount of 'moist' and 'wet' soil attached to it. This is just like testing a cake for moisture with a toothpick. The new mix will never be 'wet', which is when the dowel is covered in soggy, wet dirt. Moisture will also be uniform from the bottom up. The idea behind the popular mixes, such as Al's 5:1:1 mix I've mentioned before, is to have a soil that holds water without drowning the tree. That is to say the soil absorbs water, and the roots suck it out as needed (along with evaporation and such), instead of pooling the water and drowning the roots.

I did this after reporting my trees 5, yeS FIVE, times within 2 months before finally realizing I'd need a better soil. I used to have before and after pictures showing the month to month differences good soil makes compared to bad soil. My trees went from brown sticks to lush green sprouts in about 2 months. At first you might be a little put-offed by the notion that water comes out as fast as it goes in, but a good draining soil has a sort of water threshold that when reached, excess water simply drains out. Now, that's not to say the soil is sufficiently watered the minute it starts draining, as a good draining soil will always drain a little bit as soon as you add water. I hope I'm explaining this properly, but after the test you will see for yourself how a good mix becomes nearly impossible to over-water by saturating it with water, while a bad soil will pool up and overflow the top. My State, and most of the country west of the Mississippi, has had record rainfall this year. None of my trees have come close to drowning.

Just my 2.5 cents, others with much better experience may have different opinions.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Well now you got me thinking about soils again. Here is Al's most recent post on container soils and water retention. One of the first things he talks about is the mistake I made early on, mixing in 'potting soil' with rocks hoping it would improve drainage. Instead, I ended up with rocky potting soil that only reduced nutrients. When I first got into this last year, I printed out the post and gave it to a biologist I know, the same person who had my soil tested. She told me it was an excellent explanation and guide with lots of wisdom, and should definitely keep in on hand.

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0622171013552.html


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hi guys,

Thanks for the top tips regarding soil. I am thinking I will need a 'stony' dry looking mix that almost looks artificial. Either that or I have got it completely wrong. When I see mikes soil and other pictures I think that's so different to the soil I have received the plants in and here lies the confusion. Also the soil I am using at present seeds woody in nature (levingtons citrus mix) drains right away but 4 days later the moisture meter is still wet at root level. Does this mean the soil is retaining moisture for too long? I have pics of the healthy tree which I will be uploading shortly along with my pruning work.

Thanks again guys.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Something else has occurred to me. What everyone here talks about in terms of good container soil is essentially a soilless medium. For example, Al's recipie is 70% bark, 15% perlite, and 15% peat. Insitu soil, peat is considered an organic nutrient and additive and not actually soil. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil_conditioner)

Here is a paper I've bookmarked, it's quite old but has good info, that talks about soilless medium and micronutrients. (http://ohioline.osu.edu/sc165/sc165_4.html) It's not specific to citrus or anyting, but specifially states their 'soilless' medium is pine bark, hardwood chips, peat moss and sand... which sounds oddly familiar:P

Anyway, Mike's 'soil' that you see in his beautiful pictures is technically soilless, at least from the academic point of view. So your description of 'artificial' fits right in, and is correct in every way. In other words, successful citrus is more easily grown in something that's definitely not soil from the ground. Afterall, when was the last time you saw a giant English Oak growing out of a bed of tree bark and perlite.

Again, treat my opinions here with a grain of salt. I love to read technical papers about my hobbies, but this is only my 2nd year doing this and I don't have much trade experience, as they say.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

I consider your offerings more than opinions. I enjoy reading them and can tell you are very excited to do well with yours after years of trying Windy3sheets. And thank you for your kind words:-)
I can also see your dedication to help a fellow citrus lover out and its very nice.

Shiraz: When you say your meter is reading wet at the root level, is that literally what you mean? Does the meter come out saying WET?

Also, I am not one that believes that moisture readers give accurate readings since I never saved a tree using them. But a wooden dowel or barbecue wooden stick of any kind would tell you a much better story.

Mike:-)


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Yes Mike the meter reads wet quite literally. I haven't tried a wooden dowel as I don't even know what that is. I will try something made from wood, but how do I tell if it's too wet or too dry using this method?

Also, why is the mix the plant was actually grown in so different to your recommendations? My little calamondin tree had lots of fruit, foliage and flower buds when I got it..... How is this possible using that kind of mix?

I am struggling to get hold of dry hardwood chips. I have builders sand, perlite and the citrus compost. I was thinking to mix 1 part citrus compost, 1 part builders sand and 1 part perlite, but now after discussion with you guys I am going to go for a soil less mix and try to look for exactly the same ingredients as Mike before attempting yet another re-pot. I have re-potted twice in 2 weeks already except the new healthy calamondin I mentioned earlier. As this was doing so well and came in a fair sized pot already I thought to leave it as is. I will be posting pics soon so you can have a look.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Heres some pics of the Calamondin

Photobucket

Some buds showing....I think...

Photobucket

After pruning....wish I had taken a before shot....All pictures are after pruning...

Photobucket


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

windy3sheets....

Thanks for taking the time out to provide such a detailed response....I do have further questions......

1. What level of wet is too wet or too dry....how do you know when is the right time to water again?

2. How much do I water when watering? The water starts to drain from the bottom straight away, so I never really get to water more than say a couple of litres max. Is this enough for 5-7 day intervals as this water is retained for this long in the current mix?

I know these seem like daft questions, but I really need it spelled out to me initially


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Citrussy Conclusions

Oh...and these questions I got an answer for....

1. At present my pot is drying out after 6 days, although it is not even and is still moist at the bottom....moist, not wet...Does this mean I am ok?

2. I should leave my plants outside, but didn't quite catch the recommendation regarding leaving them outside or inside to avoid rain. Also I thought since I have great light indoors, why not 'train' my plants to be indoors early instead of disrupting them, especially in England where the threat of rain is ever-present and when my citrus is outdoors I am constantly looking to the skies hoping the rain won't come. I have put my plants next to walls so they get minimal rain water and as they have been re-potted, might need the shade to root themselves.... But is it best to bring them in for fear of too much rain or is it best to give them the outdoor air circulation, pollination and humidity and direct sunlight? decisions decisions....your opinions will be appreciated.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Well let me just say that's a great looking tree. I see it's not only got fruits ripening, but has new buds starting to flower. The leaves look really good too, so it appears to be getting the correct amount of water.

To answer your question in a nutshell, "too wet" is when the soil solution, the space/pores between the individual bits of soil, is full or water instead of a mixture of water and air. If you pinched a clump of soil and water comes out, it is soggy/wet and supersaturated. If the soil is sticky but does not 'bleed' water, it is moist. Wikipedia has a good article that explains it.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soil)

If the water is draining when you start watering, and continues to do so as you water, then your soil is a good drainer. All that means is that the water is not pooling(perched) in the soil solution, which will block airflow and choke the plant. You'll know you've watered enough when the soil is thoroughly moist, but not wet. You can use your moisture meter and probe at different depths, or use the BBQ stick method. Moist soil will cling evenly on the wood BBQ stick in little particles, while Wet soil will coat the stick or cling unevenly.

If the soil is moist after watering, and continues to remain most for 6 days, then that's your interval. However, if the soil is soggy and wet for 2 out of those 6 days, then that can cause problems. So you should probably measure take moisture readings of your soil for 6 days and see how it does.

The advantage of Al's mix, which Mike uses and you commented on, is that it drains uniformly and does not supersaturate easily. I'd suggest reading Al's excellent post on container soils. (http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/contain/msg0622171013552.html) He explains the importance of container soil structure for aeration and water retention much better than I.

So while the top of your soil will usually be drier than the rest of your soil due to evaporation, a well draining soil will evaporate water fairly uniformly, as this means air is flowing throughout the soil. Thus a good soil will remain evenly moist, and not just moist on top and wet on bottom.

Anyway, if your soil has this qualities you'll have no problems. If it were me, I'd just water the plant and monitor the soil until it dries. That would tell me if I need to re-pot or can just stick with it for now.

P.S
If you leave it in the pot, watch for leaf color changes, as this can indicate lack of fertilizer should the leaves turn bronze or light green. You probably have no idea how they trees were feed and what's in that pot. (Whether it was it a one time fertilization, time released fertilizer, or semi-weekly feeding)


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Thanks Windy, that really clarifies things in my mind's eye.

If I do re-pot deciding that this is not the right mix....when re=potting, what do you guys think I should do with the exisiting soil, do I hose the whole soil off the plant and then pot in the new mix? Any tips on how much of the old soil to retain when changing mixes?

I am thinking I will have to definitely change mixes as my soil is still wet after 2 days, and in the winter whilst indoors I can imagine the problem will only get worse....

Any feedback on my idea of this citrus mix to be used in conjunction with builders sand and perlite? Good idea or bad idea?


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Are you sure the soil is soggy-wet and bleeds water if you pinch it or compress it, and not moist where is sort of leaks water if you do the same? I don't want to make you think your soil should be dry, which I'm worried I have.

What is the composition of the citrus mix? Is it just sand, peat and soil? Or is it some kind of hardwood/softwood chips? The latter is preferred, the former is definitely not.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

The soil is not soggy wet where it bleeds water but does group together in lumps at the bottom of the roots it seems. Just watered and fed the plant it was very dry at the top and just moist at the bottom. Hope I am doing the right thing, don't want to kill it. Fingers crossed


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Sounds like you are doing the right thing to me. Your tree looks really good, like I said. Kudos to the greenhouse the grew that puppy.


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Shiraz: I am sure that Windy is doing a great job at not only helping you, but spending the time to be here and guide you. So I will just answer your questions in my own way since I am afraid the meds are going to zap me once again.:-0)

Please don't rush anything since you have time to learn all you need, to be successful at this.
You have the choice to make this a pleasurable experience to start with or a worrisome one. I sense you are over worrying and will loose out on the joy to experience the fun of having citrus starting now as I once did. Relax, you will do just fine:-)

1: Drying out after 6 days is just fine at this time of the year. As long as citrus are evenly MOIST, which is what I think you have, they will be fine.
Looks like that tree did just fine in that pot and this time of the year can be as close if not better than the environment it was use to growing in before you bought it. Like I said, your major concern should be come the fall when days are shorter, and then I would do a re-pot based on that.

2: I don't think the rains will do any harm to them, if anything be beneficial. I have a feeling the fear you have is unfounded. I would do a wait and see approach. As long as the soil is not soggy wet, they should be fine. I fear the amount of time you are transplanting and moving your plants will do more harm than good. Just find them a place that is sunniest in your yard and enjoy!

Many people I know grow these trees in much heavier mixes than I do and do very well at it this time of the year. The amount of daylight and warmth makes all the difference.

Do you have a hardware store any where near by? Wooden dowels can be had at any store that supplies lumber or building materials. Let me link you to a thread that will help:-) Barbecue sticks work just as well.

The thread linked at the bottom is a couple of years old, but you can still derive some good ideas from it.

Shove one deep into the root zone and pull it out. If you feel the slightest bit dampness on that stick, do not water. I touch my inner wrist or face with them.

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: wooden dowels


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Wooden chop sticks and wooden shishkabob sticks. now I know that is not spelled right, but hope it's close enough. ;-)

Shiraz... good luck with your tree. It's a nice one!

Josh, help! lol...
Hi Mike...


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Thanks so much guys. Mike hope your ankle gets better you need to be outdoors man! I heard somewhere to never re pot in the fall but it makes logical sense to change the mixture with changing weather conditions as per you recommendation I think I will go to a soil less mix when it moves indoors. Will monitor the situation and your advice and guidance will help me relax.

Plus knowing I have expert advice also helps. Thanks guys, I live in Manchester.... Northwest of England but I am originally from London....Chelsea to be precise.

Will keep you guys posted on the trees and might go back to get some more thick barked dwarf citrus plants. This is great stock for $30 a tree. There was one other there that looked established..... Hmm....


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Oh Shiraz!

Growing citrus trees can be quite addicting. I think you have caught the fever.lol

Fall is NOT the optimal time to do any sort of transplanting and can still be done. But if it is a matter of life or death for the future of my trees while indoors, then for me it is a must to make sure their feet are residing in a very happy environment to get them through the toughest part of the year.
If my trees hold well through the winter, then I will make the time come the following spring to do all my re-pots.

Yes, relax and enjoy this new adventure you are embarking on. We are all happy and here for you.:-)

Thanks for your kind words and it is a pleasure to help you.

Mike


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RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Just one question remains........

when repotting.....how much of the old soil shall I hose off?

All of it so the bare roots are showing? some of it, or keepas much of its 'natural environment as possible?


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hello, Shiraz!
That one question is difficult to answer.

Bare-rooting is best *IF* you're re-potting during the optimal time of year (Spring)
*AND* if you're replacing all of the old soil with a very differently textured medium.

If the tree is very, very rootbound and the old soil is compacted, some have suggested
that you only remove a couple wedges of the old rootball during the first year. Then,
you remove the other wedges in the second year to make the transition go more smoothly.

If you're switching from the current soil to a mix that is bark-based like the 5-1-1,
then you don't necessarily need to remove all the old soil. You can simply tease
the roots apart around the bottom and outer sides of the rootball, rough off some soil,
and then replace with the bark mix.


Josh


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hi Shiraz,

I'm just north of Birmingham in the UK, I had mine in the levington as well and it was just too wet, the moisture meter never went down. The mixture appears to be made up of recycled wood thats been shredded into chunks and i think this is part of the problem.

I've just moved some of mine over to the gritty mix and into the CHC mix for comparison. They're all doing much better and water retention's not a problem any more.

It takes a bit of time to do the gritty mix properly but the CHC with all the soaking and cation exchange takes just as long so it might be worth trying both as i have done and seeing which one works in your situation.

All the best with your trees.


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Hi Sabiann

Great to see another Uk grower. Any Recommendations on where to get the ingredients for the gritty mix in this country.... Preferred suppliers etc.

Thanks for your levingtons feedback, I had a feeling it wasn't right. I don't want to wait too long between watering and with a 6 day gap at the height of summer it pretty obvious I have to go grittier. Any tips for a Uk supplied gritty mix would be appreciated.


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

These are the places i used Shiraz:

The bay for large sized (P45) perlite. This is effectively glass and is dusty so only partly open the bag and give it a hose down or you'll end up breathing the dust in, which you probably know already, but worth mentioning in passing.

B&Q small pine bark - i sun dried mine and put it through a shredder to make it smaller and then through a garden sieve to give it a consistent size.

Builders merchant for the grit which is readily available, but you will need to wash it before you use it.

All the best


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Grit? Anyone heard of John innes no. 3? Is it any good for citrus?


 o
RE: Indoor Citrus Trees...advice for a beginner.....

Josh: Thanks for the helpful information on transplanting! Much appreciated and listening to your suggestions has work mightily for a many of my trees. They are all responding well to the transplanting.

Hello all!

Mike


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