Citrus care encompasses a broad range of issues with a unique set of obstacles for those of us growing with containers in northern climates. There’s a basic set of information that you should familiarize with. Other types of information can be looked up as the need arises. Links to these guides are found at the bottom of the page.
The problems that you will face that are most unique are governed by your micro-climate. I can speak best to the obstacles and common issues I face in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but that may not be representative of your local area. That being said, I’ll try explain general differences about certain environmental factors that can be applied to identifying your particular climate. These factors include sunlight, temperature, soil moisture, and humidity.
In the United States, Florida and California are two major citrus producing states. The climate of southern Florida is very different than the climate from southern California and there are some obviously better cultivar matches for each type of climate. Interestingly, a given variety’s size of fruit and taste of fruit and be considerably different when grown in these two states. This illustration points out that not every citrus variety will be ideal for your environment and identifying suitable cultivars should be your starting point for making a purchasing decision.
Similarly, certain citrus varieties are more conducive to the indoors than others. This is not to say that with enough care and attention that you can’t grow a given variety inside. It’s a matter of how much time, effort, and potentially money(think about your electricity bill) you want to spend to “make it work”.
That leads me to the next point: realistically, how much time are you going to spend? If you determine it’s going to be too much time, you could incorporate some automation to reduce the hours. Maybe you decide to build a self-watering system. Cool. But know yourself and rate yourself in terms of laziness. If your idea of automating a process from a “let’s get out work” mentality maybe growing citrus isn’t quite up your alley. It’s still going to be work. Your total number of hours spent on your citrus collection may be reduced but you’ll still need to be vigilant about monitoring their health. I say this not to deter people from growing citrus, but for folks to be aware of the investment they are making and the responsibilities it entails. It would feel awful to have something die primarily to one’s own lack of attention and effort.
Environmental Conditions in Your Local Area
The environmental conditions section below is meant as a tool to lookup your outdoor environment so you’ll have some great starting data to research about your area further.
This is currently a work in progress but the idea is you’ll be able to type in your zip code and see all relevant data for hours of daylight, rainfall, humidity, and temperatures throughout the year in your local area.
The following charts are using averaged historical weather data for Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hours of Sunlight