You can grow your citrus tree in a pot, but how to make potting soil for citrus fruit trees?
This is possible with 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 citrus varieties are incredible sights with ever-green leaves and a sweet citrus smell. The first step is to get the container for the plant right.
Ensure the container has proper drainage, as too much moisture can rot the roots. A small container for a young citrus tree will be enough for proper draining.
Citrus trees are indigenous to Near Oceania and tropical regions of Asia, and they can be found in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8–111. The soil’s chemistry, composed of sea sediments and containing around 94% sand and varying amounts of silt, clay, and organic components, is crucial to their successful cultivation.
Rich soil is essential for citrus tree mixes because it is packed with microscopic life and constantly turns particles into nutrients. Liming helps the plants acquire enough phosphorus and maintains the environment constant.
Because they harm dogs and cats, citrus plants must be kept out of reach of animals.
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.
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. The soil also constrains their nutrient reach 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. Do not use regular garden soil for proper fertility, as it may deplete essential nutrients. Purchase fresh fertile potting soil for your citrus tree. Get the soil mixed with organic and inorganic materials to ensure proper drainage.
But before the soil mix comes into play, the planting container is equally important. Ensure 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.
In summary, you must make sure that your potting soil meets three basic needs:
As I have mentioned, the initial step is to get the right container. You can 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, damaging the tree’s roots.
Use a container of considerable size, at least bigger, than nursery pots. This will allow the roots to develop well and have enough 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.
The next thing is to ensure that there is proper drainage. The container of choice must have a draining hole, providing well-drained soil. Ensure that the potting soil contains the right materials for enough amount of light and adequate drain. Too heavy and hard a soil mix will not allow proper water drainage.
This may, in effect, cause the rotting of the citrus roots. You can add a gravel or sand layer at the container’s base for extra care to achieve drainage. The soil can be made of peat, sand, and perlite. The soil should not be all organic to avoid quick decomposition. This may lead to compacting and distorted draining.
You can place a screen or finely meshed gauze at the base of the container. This may be necessary if the draining holes are large.
When watering the plant, the screen will prevent the soil from washing out through the holes. It is best not to use garden soil to make a citrus potting mix. Purchase fresh potting soil with the right pH, slightly acidic for citrus trees. The soil should contain a combination of perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, and coconut coir for lightness and aeration.
Avoid inorganic or chemical wetting agents as they make the soil too wet. For increased aeration, you can mix wood chips 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.
The best way to ensure the soil has good drainage is to mix in larger chunks of materials such as branches, leaves, and perlite. To better understand what makes soil loamy or sandy, let’s look at the different soil types: clay, loam, and sand. Clay is an alkaline soil, not a great growing medium for citrus trees due to its high pH and compactness.
Loam is a mix of clay and sandy soils and is loose and rich enough to clump up when wet but still break apart easily. Our goal for our homemade potting mix is to make loamy soil that is slightly more on the sandy or acidic side.
The citrus plant needs the right amount of nutrients because the container might restrain it. Aside from adding inorganic materials, you should also add compost. This will ensure a supply of nutrients to the tree. You should add compost 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. Citrus trees require nutrients for proper growth and productivity.