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Topic: citrus

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Kat (polbio) -
Subject: citrus
Date Posted: 1/29/2012 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Does anyone have any experience with growing citrus plants in northern climates. I am in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. We get very hot and humid summers, but very cold (usually) winters. Is it possible to grow them in a greenhouse or indoors in this climate?

Date Posted: 1/30/2012 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 12,080
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When I worked at an indoor garden store, we had a few miniature orange trees for sale  But they do require a lot of light year round, south is the best for them but watch for mites.  Here they are grown mostly indoors and maybe summered outside but beware of pests and animals.  The flowers smell wonderful.  I have grown fig trees and had a few figs, not that great tasting.  I imagine the citrus trees would need lots of water and fertilizer as well as sun, and not just a few hours a day which is a problem in the northern part of America.  The trees we had actually did produce fruit, very, very small oranges, but the store was like a hothouse greenhouse and had skylights to get maximum sun here in Oregon.  Our winters are usually rainy and cloudy.  And we also had lemon trees and lime trees, both harder to get fruit from here.  I am just south of the 45 parallel in the Willamette Valley in Oregon which is a large agricultural area.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 9:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2007
Posts: 3,365
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I think you will have to settle for miniature oranges and lemons that you can grow in pots and move indoors if you are that far north.  I've grown Meyer's Lemons in a pot and just move them in when it freezes. My understanding is they really can't take much cold.

Date Posted: 3/5/2012 3:05 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
Posts: 112
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In the good old days (really old) they would grow citrus in big pots and keep them in greenhouses in the winter and wheel them out for summer.  A lot of work for a few fruit.  You are correct that they can't take much cold.  I live in Northern California at about 2000 feet in elevation and the only citrus that is reliable is the Owara Satsuma Mandrin.  It has taken several hard freezes(around here that means down into tthe 20's) with minimal damage, whereas my Bearss Line and Meyers Lemon have been badly damaged, altho not killed.   I have a friend who lives in a colder microclimate (not a lot colder) and she routinely every winter wraps her citrus trees with a string of  the incandesent  chrismas lights and then wraps that with the floating row cover material.   The lights apparently generate enough heat to keep the tree from being damaged.