Young Citrus Tree in a Pot

How to Plant and Take Care of Young Citrus Trees

How to Plant and Take Care of Young Citrus Trees

Planting citrus trees the right way results in a growing and healthy tree with the best fruits. Learn how to plant and take care of young citrus trees below.

There are few things in life better than walking out to a mandarin tree on a crisp fall morning, pulling a fruit off the tree, and eating it there, juicy and chilled. And nothing elevates recipes like some fresh lemon zest in a dessert or a squeeze of juice over a salad. Growing your own citrus can raise your culinary experience to new heights, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

If you live in the right climate, growing citrus trees can be incredibly easy. Even during colder temperatures, you can grow citrus trees indoors. However, you need a suitable growing spot and a diligent routine of watering and fertilizing your new tree. Read on to discover some tips for planting young citrus trees.

Picking a Spot

The spot you choose to plant your citrus tree in will be very important to its survival. To be able to grow indoors or out, we recommend planting in a pot. You want to look for a spot that’s out of the wind without being on a lawn or a bed that gets too much water. You also want to make sure the soil in that area drains quickly.

Before you plant your tree, dig a hole that’s about 10 percent shallower than your root ball. Fill the hole up with a foot of water and let it drain away. Once all the water is gone, fill it up again and keep an eye on how fast this second watering drains; if the water isn’t gone in six hours, pick a different spot.


When you get ready to plant your tree, place the root ball in the hole you’ve dug and make sure the root ball extends at least an inch above the level of the soil. Add organic matter in a one-third mix to the original soil and fill in the top of the hole.

As you fill in the soil, make sure you build an irrigation berm around the tree. Make it the same size as the root ball, and make sure it’s several inches high. This will help direct water to the root ball, rather than the soil around it.

The First Year

For the first year to year and a half that your tree is in the ground, it’s incredibly important to keep it watered. You want to make sure the soil stays damp, but not drenched; this may mean watering it a couple of times a week, depending on the temperature and humidity.

You should also make sure your tree gets plenty of fertilizer from the start. Add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil when you refill the planting hole, and fertilize every February, May, and August.

Learn More About Planting Citrus Trees

Planting a citrus tree can mean crisp mornings eating delicious citrus fruit right off the tree. The trees take some care to keep healthy, but as long as you follow the tips above, you should be fine. The most important thing is to strike the right balance with positioning, watering and fertilizing your tree for the first year.

Growing Trees is fun, and every tree we send comes with a 20-page care guide.

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