You can grow your citrus tree in a pot. This is possible if you have the right mix of materials and fresh potting soil for the plant. It is vital to have well-drained and fertile soil for healthy growth. The dwarf varieties of citrus are incredible sights with ever-green leaves and sweet citrus smell.
The first step is to get the container for the plant right. Ensure that the container of choice has proper drainage as too much moisture can rot the roots. For a young citrus tree, a small container will be enough for proper draining.
Making Potting Soil For Citrus Trees
It is necessary to gather the right potting soil for the healthy growth of your citrus tree. The following are the detailed ways of making potting soil for your citrus tree. The quality of the potting soil is an extremely important factor.
Why The Potting Soil Is Important
Unlike trees that grow in the field, trees grown in pots are limited by some factors. They have limited space for root growth according to the container size. Their nutrient reach is also constrained by the soil in the container. These are the reasons why the potting soil must be made with care.
The right potting soil will ensure the good health of the citrus plant. Citrus trees require well-drained fertile soil, and this must be given consideration. The potting soil must be carefully mixed to meet this demand.
For proper fertility, do not use the regular garden soil as it may be depleted in essential nutrients. Purchase fresh fertile potting soil for your citrus tree.
Get the soil mixed with organic and inorganic materials that will ensure proper drainage. But before the soil mix comes to play, the container for the planting is equally important. Ensure to have appropriate draining holes in the container before filling it with your potting soil. The soil mix is needed to meet the nutrient requirement of the tree.
For a summary, you must make sure that your potting soil meets three basic needs:
- It must encourage proper drainage to prevent root rot.
- It must also allow efficient aeration of the roots for good growth.
- Finally, it must contain adequate nutrients for the good and healthy growth of the citrus tree.
Get The Right Container
As I have mentioned, the initial step is to get the right container. You can choose to use a non-porous material, be it plastic, wooden, or terra cotta container. The choice will depend on your preference as all three are good enough.
You may choose a terra cotta container for more aesthetics or a plastic one for ease of moving.
It is good to use a plastic container if you need to move your plant for sunlight during the day. Plastic or polypropylene are the right materials for your container choice.
Do not use black colored nursery pots for your citrus tree. These pots retain too much heat that can damage the roots of the tree.
A container of considerable size, at least bigger than nursery pots should be used. This will allow the roots to develop well and not get starved of space. A large pot of about 30 inches in diameter should be large enough. You may need to change the pot as the tree increases in size.
The draining holes of the container must be ample. If your box has just a central hole for drainage, you should make more. Drill more holes, about four to five more around the base for efficient drainage.
Get The Right Soil Mix
The next thing is to ensure that there is proper drainage. The container of choice must have a draining hole, which will provide well-drained soil.
The potting soil must contain the right materials to ensure it is light enough for an adequate drain. Too heavy and hard soil mix will not allow for proper water drainage. This may in-effect cause rotting of the citrus roots.
For extra care to achieve drainage, you can add a layer of gravel or sand at the base of the container. The soil can be made of a mix of peat, sand, and perlite. The soil should not be all organic to avoid quick decomposition.
This may lead to compacting and distorted draining. A screen or finely meshed gauze can be placed at the base of the container. This may be necessary if the draining holes are large. The screen will prevent the soil from being washed out through the holes when watering the plant.
It is best not to use garden soil for making a potting mix for citrus. Purchase a fresh potting soil with the right pH slightly acidic for citrus trees.
The soil should contain the right combination of perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and coconut coir for lightness and aeration. Inorganic or chemical wetting agents should be avoided as they make the soil too wet.
For increased aeration, wood chips can be mixed with the soil. It is best to have a well-balanced mix of fertile soil, compost, and materials like sand, perlite, peat moss and others. The draining and aeration of the soil are essential for the growth of the citrus plant.
Meet The Nutrient Requirements
As the citrus plant will be restrained to the container, nutrients must be supplied. Aside from adding inorganic materials, compost should also be added. This will ensure a supply of nutrients to the tree. The compost should be added with caution to avoid heaviness and clumping of the soil.
The potting soil purchased must be fertile enough to support the tree. You can add liquid organic fertilizer as the tree grows. Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient for citrus trees. This is why you must add an organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen.
You can purchase a citrus-specific fertilizer mix in your gardening store. Nutrients are required for proper growth and productivity.