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Top tips for growing citrus fruit

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Lemon
Not the easiest of fruits to grow but here are some vital tips. Picture; Lubera

Lubera: secrets of citrus fruiting and overwintering

Neapolitan Lime
Neapolitan Lime. Picture; Lubera

The care and harvesting success of citrus plants stands and falls with the overwintering of them. Anyone who has visited an original orangery knows that the winter conditions are cool and bright.

Swiss fruit expert Lubera has shared these hints and tips to help you grow the perfect limes, lemons, and oranges.

The winter temperature needs to be between 5°C and 10°C, so that the plants go “dormant” period. Under these conditions, the plants can cope with the smaller amount of light during our winter.

Especially in the first half of the winter, citrus plants have a light deficiency at temperatures above 15°C, which leads to leaf fall.

Unheated rooms such as a stairwell, a garden house or a shed are well suited, as are greenhouses. The overwintering period is kept as short as possible. In mild regions, it is from early November to early April. Where it is colder, mid-October to mid or late April is sufficient.

In spring, summer, and autumn, the plants need a sunny, open location. An ideal location is on balconies and terraces with full sun that are warm and protected.

Sensitive to waterlogging

Orangery growers know how sensitive citrus plants are to waterlogging. Citrus plants should be watered only after the soil has dried, not just on the surface but also the deeper layers, where the sensitive, fine roots are located – they should not be permanently moist.

The vegetation period for citrus plants is limited in our region. Therefore, it is important that the plants have enough nutrients when they are back in the sun.

The supply of nutrients from organic material, which is found in open soil, is lacking for potted plants, so give them a mineral fertiliser from May to August, specifically made for citrus fruit.

The phosphate content is low, but the nitrogen and potassium content is higher. Trace elements, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and molybdenum are also important. The fertiliser should be applied with the irrigation water.


Two fertilisers by Lubera

Instant Citrus Feed
Instant Citrus Feed. Picture; Lubera

Frutilizer Instant Citrus: The standard fertiliser for citrus in pots.

Prevents iron chlorosis in iron-loving plants, also suitable for camellias, palm trees, and other Mediterranean plants; all plants with a high iron requirement, but that do not show any signs of chlorosis: petunias, kiwi, raspberries, hydrangeas, 1kg bucket £10.90.

Instant Solution Fe
Instant Solution Fe. Picture; Lubera

Frutilizer Instant Solution Fe: Solves iron chlorosis problems (yellow leaf whitening, the leaf veins remain dark green and the borders are clearly visible.

Iron chlorosis often occurs in calcareous soils with a high pH above 7).

Susceptible plants include raspberries, citrus, petunias, kiwi, hydrangeas, camellias, and palm trees, 1kg bucket costs £8.40.


Lemon recipe to cure a headache and cocktail lime

Citrus pick-me-up
Citrus pick-me-up. Picture; Lubera

Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into some black coffee, which actually tastes good, and put the lemon peel on your forehead and temples and close your eyes for about 20-30 minutes.

Who does not like to relax with refreshing Caipirinha using self-harvested limes? The original fruit for this drink is the Mexican lime Messicana, which is sliced and crushed. With its sour, but also lime-like aroma, it can also create a special note in warm dishes and also in salads.

Mexican Lime Messicana
Growth: Compact, small leaves, fertile.
Flowers: Loads of white flowers.
Fruits: Thin peel, aromatic.
Overwintering: In a cold house is possible, but it is better to overwinter in a conservatory.
Price: Starts at £25.90 for 4.5 litres, visit www.lubera.co.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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