Move over, succulents. We’re calling the biggest houseplant trend of 2020: citrus trees. Bring your living room to life with their attractive fruits, glossy green leaves, and sweet-smelling flowers. Citrus fruits are traditionally incorporated into decorating and cooking during midwinter months when no other fruits are in season. After taking one look (and sniff) at these attractive plants, you’ll want to keep them on display year-round. Backyards aren’t required for growing citrus trees; they perform just as well indoors in containers as they do outdoors in the ground. (Ahem, apartment dwellers: You’ll be ok making the switch from succulents to citrus in the New Year.)
What better way to brighten up your interiors than a blooming clementine tree? Or go with a kumquat, tangerine, mandarin, or calamondin selection. Branch out with beyond oranges with a lemon or lime tree. Whichever you choose, make sure you buy a dwarf selection that won’t grow more than a few feet tall. Find citrus trees at local nurseries in Florida, or order them from an online retailer. One of our favorite growers is South Carolina-based FastGrowingTrees.com. They offer a variety of selections and sizes, and they’ll deliver an established one-year-old tree right to your door.
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Citrus trees are easy to grow in containers, but they do require a bit of attention. Plant them in well-drained potting soil, and feed them a citrus-specific fertilizer every six weeks. They also need regular waterings. To determine when it’s time for a drink, stick your index fingers about 2 inches deep into the soil, and water if it’s dry. Stop when you see water coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom. Ensure the container has adequate drainage (pick a pot with a saucer so waterings won’t get too messy). Choose a container that’s slightly bigger than the original one the tree comes in, so the roots have room to stretch out and grow. Citrus trees need a ton of sun—six to eight hours per day. An ideal location for these sunbathers would be near a south-facing window in a spot that gets a lot of light. Avoid setting trees near a heating vent, which will dry out its leaves and attract pests.