Tips on growing citrus trees in Britain

With the recent rise in gin’s popularity, a huge quantity of citrus fruit is sold by British grocers.

Some gin fans prefer to add ice and a slice of lemon, while others opt for a lime wedge. A number of producers recommend the addition of orange before you relax with your drink on your rattan garden furniture.

Instead of paying shop prices for a few pieces of fruit, have you considered growing your own?

The British climate

Citrus fruit are best grown in pots, so they can stay outdoors for the summer then be easily transferred inside to survive winter.

You need, therefore, to consider the space you have available. Pots can stay outdoors from late June to late September, but will need to grow indoors for the remaining nine months of the year. Most will grow to around four feet high, though this varies.

Centrally heated rooms are not suitable for citrus trees, but a porch or conservatory with lots of natural light is ideal, although the overnight temperature should not drop below 10°C.

Growing and caring for citrus trees

Lemons are the most popular choice with British gardeners, though some also opt for limes, oranges, grapefruits or even kumquats. Ideally, the trees are potted in spring, using a soil-based or specially formulated citrus compost.

Citrus trees need a warm position with lots of sunshine, plus sufficient water and a summer citrus feed. In winter, it’s wise not to get the soil too wet, as overwatering can then cause problems. Misting when indoors can assist pollination, and they should also be given winter citrus feed.