Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Growing Citrus Trees in Pots September 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 8:55 am
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Growing Citrus in Central Texas is fairly easy, the only difficulty being that it can freeze.  I lack space in my yard for more trees, so I keep my citrus trees in pots on the driveway, so I can move them in and out of the garage when it freezes.  Yes, this is a pain, but I find that the reward of homegrown citrus outweighs the hassle of dragging pots around. 

Citrus Trees

In pots, they resemble shrubs, more than trees, but they can be very productive.  Currently the Key Lime tree, Meyer Lemon, and Satsuma Orange are loaded down with fruit.  The Satsuma is supposed to be more freeze hardy than the others, but I’ll probably not test that theory.

Satsuma Oranges

Meyer Lemons
Nearly all of my fruit trees have come from Specialized Plant Sales, at the SFC Farmer’s Market downtown. (I have a peach tree in a pot as well.)  They sell all kinds of things, vegatable and herb transplants, olive trees, fig trees, citrus, Pepper plants, basil, Plumeria and have amazing strawberry pots, usually loaded with berries, when in season.  I’m a total sucker for cheater plants, already bearing fruit.
Specialized Plant Sales
This crazy plant is some kind of lemon tree, with lemons the size of grapefruits.  I forget what it called.

Big as your head Lemons

I have successfully avoided buying an olive tree, although I really want one.  I may succomb to the brown turkey fig plants he brings, already loaded with figs.
If you want to grow some citrus, or other fruit trees, just get some good soil –  mine is Hill Country Garden soil from the Natural Gardener, and get the plants in a big pot.  They grow pretty quickly, and are very rewarding.  Just make sure  you cover them or bring them in when the temps dip below freezing.


15 Responses to “Growing Citrus Trees in Pots”

  1. Teresa Says:

    The larger lemons are usually Ponderosa Lemons.

  2. Joy Says:

    I just bought a Mexican lime and Meyer lemon tree at the wonderful Natural Gardener sale last weekend–two for one. I live in far Southwest Travis county. Do you have any hints for a clueless citrus tree owner as to how to keep them healthy and productive?

    • Congrats, that sounds like a great deal! I am certainly no citrus expert, but have had good luck. I water them often, since mine are in pots, and protect them from freezing temps. They are in full sun, planted in Hill Country Garden Soil, also from NG. I fertilized them a couple times this Spring with some citrus fertilizer I got from Great Outdoors. I don’t recall anything about it, but that it was in a box and it was specifically for citrus. They really are low maintenance, and seem to do well on their own. I have heard from friends that the drought has been very hard on trees in the ground. Good luck!

  3. I also grow citrus in Austin, both in the ground(Meyer Lemons, at 15 feet and full of lemons-in a sheltered location) and in pots. I agree it is totally worth trying. I have satsumas in the ground, and I just cover them with large sheets and blankets when a strong freeze is coming. Yes, it takes time to wrap all the cool, frost tender plants I’ve accumlated over the last 7 years, but picking your own grapefruit or lemon right off the tree is such a thrill. Not to mention how good fresh produce tastes. One thing- citrus are heavy feeders, and I use fish emulsion that I buy from Barton Springs Nursery, and I get more flowers, fruit and better leaf production when I do. There are also some great books on growing citrus in general, the best, in my opinion, being Walheim’s “Citrus:Complete Guide to Selecting & Growing More than 100 Varieties”, Ironwood Press

  4. Jennifer Says:

    I really want a potted Meyer Lemon tree on my patio! Where do you buy your citrus trees?

  5. Erin Says:

    I am trying to find a grapefruit tree of any variety. There does not seem to be any available for retail sales. Do you have any suggestions?

  6. Debbie Says:

    Why are you avoiding olive trees? I really want one as well so i was curious…

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