The grapefruit tree is a member of the family Rutaceae. It is a beautiful evergreen tree of genus citrus. It indicates that grapefruit trees expected tons of sunlight and temperate climate for better growth and a big harvest. But the real question is can you grow grapefruit trees in containers?
Here are a few details that you need to know before trying to grow grapefruit trees in pots. Click here to order your own grapefruit tree and other citrus trees from citrus.com.
Which Variety Of Grapefruit Trees Is Suitable For Pots?
Standard and dwarf are two major varieties of grapefruits. Both of them have their own pros and cons. And let me save you some time, only dwarf varieties of grapefruits are good for container gardeners. Here is why:
- Standard varieties can grow up to 15-20 feet in height at maturity level. You cannot provide enough space and nutrients to this big tree. If you want to grow in-ground, you are good to go.
- Dwarf varieties of grapefruits can grow up to 12 feet in height in the ground. But they cannot reach that size in pots. But they can produce fruits in containers. So the dwarf varieties are the best choice if you have a space problem in your garden.
Choose A Container For Grapefruit
From the above point, you can have an idea of containers for grapefruit trees. Bigger the better. A tree of 7-10 feet required tons of soil, nutrients, and space. A pot of 20 inches (20 inches deep) in diameter can do the trick for you. Here is a beautiful looking barrel of 20 inches for your grapefruit tree.
All kinds of grapefruit trees require good soil with good drainage. You cannot go and dig your native garden soil and use that in containers. That soil does not have good drainage and it will compact after a few weeks. The compactness of soil will produce problems for the roots of plants. Plus, mostly normal garden soil has fewer nutrients in it.
Potting soil is needed for container gardening. Potting soil has advantages on garden soil because it has great drainage, great numbers of nutrients and compactness is not a big problem. You can buy potting soil or you can learn to make your own potting soil.
After planting your dwarf grapefruit tree in your big container using potting soil, water your plant thoroughly. Keep watering your plant on a daily basis for the first week. Make sure water comes through the drainage hole of your container.
After a few weeks, you need to master the need for water for your plant, because that depends on seasons and your climate. But you can use the finger method to check the moisture level of the soil.
Put your finger in the soil to check the dampness of the soil. If the soil feels dry to you, give water to your plant. You can also pick some soil from the pot and check the weight of soil and compare it to dry and wet soil.
In the winter season, there are lots of chances that you can over-water your plant. So check the moisture level of soil before giving it water. In hot and intense summer seasons grapefruit trees will require more water because so much water evaporates and it can dehydrate and eventually kill your plant.
Grapefruit trees are classified as tropical plants and they love warm and temperate climates. Full sun needed for their growth and full sun means 6 to 8 hours of direct and full sunlight.
Zone 9 and above are best zones (on USDA plant hardiness zones) to grow grapefruit trees. You can also grow in zones 7-8 but trees on these zones require extra care. So check your zone before planting any grapefruit tree.
If sunlight is a problem in your area, you can also provide artificial light as an alternative to sunlight. LED grow lights are an excellent choice for you. LED grow lights will provide the best wavelengths (blue and red) for better growth. Learn which LED is better for you.
The soil in pots cannot provide nutrients for a very long time. You will need to add extra nutrients at some point. I suggest you go organic on this. You can use all-purpose plant food as fertilizer. Or add organic compost in the soil. You can also use organic and fully decomposed manure. Do not over-fertilize your tree.
An organic mulch of dead and dry leaves, grass clippings, and bark of trees is great. Put some mulch on top of the soil in your container. Here are a few benefits of organic mulch:
- Organic mulch will reduce the evaporation of water in the summer season and it will save your tree from dehydration.
- Organic mulch stops the growth of weeds in the soil. Weeds can suck all the water and nutrients from the soil and leave your tree thirsty and hungry. So use a mulch to stop the weed growth or pull them by hand.
- After a few months, organic mulch will decompose and add some extra nutrients to the soil.
Also Read: How To Keep Weeds Out Of Your Garden
Pruning is a very necessary step for container gardeners. You can prune your trees to decrease the size of it and increase the number of branches. More branches mean more flowers and more flowers mean more fruit.
Wait for the flowering season or you cannot cut the branches that are meant to produce flowers and fruits. Use a very sharp tool to prune your grapefruit tree and over-pruning can cause different problems.
In the hot summer days, pests can attack your tree. But pests are the problem for large scale producers. You can easily control the attack with your hands. You don’t need chemicals (pesticides or insecticides) to kill pests.
If the attack is very hard, you should take some pics of the affected part of the tree and take that to your local nursery or plant store and take some advice from experts. Do not use random chemicals, or you can kill your tree in no time.