There have been a lot of searches for citrus information lately on the blog, so I thought I’d give you an update on the dwarf lemon, lime, and orange trees I planted in pots last spring.
They’ve been doing a lot of growing! The Washington navel orange and Meyer lemon arrived from One Green World basically as two-foot sticks, with a few leaves and blossoms clinging to them. They’ve expanded on all sides and are going to need pruning next spring to keep them shapely. The key lime from Gurney’s started off quite a bit smaller, but it’s grown a lot, too. Its foliage (after this spring’s fertilization with a lime-free mixture) is lush and green as well.
There are more differences between the One Green World trees and the Gurney’s tree than just size, however. Which is what I would hope, given that I paid $6.50 for the Gurney’s key lime and $24.95 for each of the One Green World trees. The Gurney’s tree is still less than half the size of the others, and it hasn’t bloomed at all. The others have not only bloomed but actually begun to set fruit.
Now, young citrus trees will often set tiny fruits that subsequently dry up and fall off, because the tree doesn’t feel it yet has the resources to bring any fruit to term. They did a lot of that last year. And the Washington navel orange still seems to be of that mindset, but this spring the Meyer lemon has some fruits that have swelled to over an inch in diameter and seem like keepers.
Citrus requires patience, though. Because the process of ripening doesn’t take weeks, as with most fruit I’ve grown. It takes months. Meyer lemons, from blossom to ripe fruit, take at least six. Which is why winter is citrus season. The fruit starts growing in the spring and it ripens all summer and fall to produce a wonderful Christmas treat.
Come to think of it, I remember getting oranges in my Christmas stocking as a child. I had no idea then that it had something to do with the seasons!