Down in Florida all varieties of citrus are exploding with fruit. Here in Philadelphia the balmy winter has not changed the citrus trees plans of producing fruit. While wondering around aimlessly on Saturday's spectacular weather (check out my set here), I came across this window on 11th street above Washington Ave. The window showcases these gorgeous fruit producing trees, which I believe to be a dwarf Meyer lemon tree (center) and some variety of grapefruit, perhaps a pomello (right corner). Meyer lemons, kumquats and many other forms of citrus have been cultivated in dwarf varieties for us who wish to grow them in containers or greenhouses in areas where the winters can get to be too cold. In Italy they have specific rooms on large estates called limonaia which are designed for optimum sun and ventilation, but for the rest of us, any sunny window will do. Lemons, limes and kumquats do particularly well indoors. And my Meyer lemon tree (which is a hybrid variety of lemon, a lemon crossed with a mandarin orange) sits on my stoop in the summer and comes inside before the first frost. You may be stumped as to where you can find a dwarf tree, or even what to look for when you buy one, but have no fear, the internet is here! I purchased my lemon tree from Four Winds Growers but I have seen kumquat trees for sale in Chinatown and have been told Greensgrow Farm in Philadelphia carries them as well.
Buying & Caring for your Citrus Tree
When purchasing your tree be sure to get a tree that is at least 2-3 years old and to plant it in a container only 2 inches larger than the root ball. When you finally have your tree be sure to use a nutrient-rich draining soil mix. Place a saucer filled with pebbles under your tree and add water to promote moisture but without soaking the roots. Fill the planter with 3/4 soil. Remove the tree from its nursery pot or bag and gently untangle the roots. Place in your pot (I used a terracotta pot from Ikea) and fill in any gaps with more soil. Be sure not to cover the trunk with soil or leave, or leave any roots exposed. After planting be sure to water thoroughly. Indoor citrus trees need to be misted with water regularly. There you have it! You're on your way to cultivating a deliciously refreshing tree.