They’re beautiful and literally produce fruit for your gardening efforts: citrus plants. While we stock a wide variety of citrus at RCW Nurseries, Department of Agriculture laws, dictates citrus grown out of state may not be brought into the State of Texas. We can only buy Texas grown citrus and the tags must say where they came from and be certified. Citrus are easy, just follow the rules and the fruit will follow.
- Full sun is not negotiable…except for Honey Mandarin.
- Don’t scrimp on bed prep…ever…build high, well-drained beds.
- Maintain even moisture…or your fruit will crack.
- Use a good citrus food that provides extra Zinc and Magnesium.
- Use organic fertilizer…you’re gonna eat ‘em ain’t ya?
- Prune to control height and shape.
- No matter how many flowers you have only 1% to 5% will set fruit…that’s the kind of thing we
send our kids to college to figure out.
- Fruit drop happens. It is common on young trees and we recommend you remove the fruit the first
year to promote a healthier root system. Your tree will abort excessive fruit to reduce stress.
Excessive water during a hot rainy fall can cause up to 25% of the fruit to drop off a mature tree.
- Excessive water also contributes to root rot and leaf yellowing…did you read about the bed prep?
- Citrus are actually a type of berry.
- As soon as you see new growth, start spraying with Spinosad and liquid garlic to control leaf
miners. When leaves stop growing and get tough…stop spraying.
- If it looks like a bird pooped on your tree…leave it alone…it’s a Giant Swallowtail butterfly larva.
They only eat the leaves and are never so numerous as to be a problem…and the adults are really
- Our citrus are grafted. Watch for and remove any growth that sprouts from the root stock. It will
have clusters of 3 leaves, develop huge thorns and grow VERY quickly. It will outgrow the graft (the part you want and paid for) and is so aggressive it can cause the graft to die. We can show you what to look for.
- Know your variety. Know when your fruit should start ripening. Remove one that looks, smells and feels ripe. Perform a taste test: if it passes, harvest can begin. If it fails, wait a week and try again. Your fruit will not ripen all at once…which is a good thing.
- Some seedless varieties can produce fruit without pollination…this is called parthenocarpy. Washington navel is an example, but most need to be pollinated by bees…GO BEES! A few need a second variety to produce well, check the list.
- If you have space, carefully select varieties that will not ripen all at the same time to extend your harvest for months.
- Visit: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/citrus/citrus.html to learn more about problems you may be having…but no pictures.
- Another great resource with good pictures: edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS141.
Ok…now you know everything you need to select and grow great citrus…We perform taste tests if you need a second opinion. Fruit offerings to the RCW Garden Gurus are accepted 7 days a week…help us appease the garden gods.