What is a dwarf citrus?
what, exactly, is a dwarf citrus? How big is the tree? Does
it produce tiny fruits? Can you grow one from seed?
--- Various readers
Nearly all dwarf trees get
their size from the rootstock. For citrus trees, that's usually a
flying dragon trifoliate
orange, which stunts
the resulting tree down to around 10 to 12 feet tall.
You can use the bonsai
effect --- a small pot and occasional pruning --- to miniaturize your
tree further, down to about
4 to 5 feet.
Generally, if you want your dwarf tree to grow larger, you'll pot it up
into a 25% larger container annually. If you're happy with the
size of your dwarf tree, wait until the tree has finished ripening up
all of its fruits, then tip it out of the pot, cut off about an inch or
two around the outside of the rootball, add some fresh soil to the pot,
and put your tree back in. At the same time, cut back about a
third of the tree's branches so the top growth roughly matches the
scionwood (what you graft onto the rootstock) decides what kind
fruit you get. That's why you get huge lemons from a dwarf Meyer
lemon tree that's only two feet tall --- it's the variety, not the size
of the tree, that determines fruit size. Since some citrus
do better grafted on dwarfing rootstock than others, there's not the
range of fruit types available as dwarfs, but you can often find dwarf
lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits. In some
cases, the fruits are the same size as the ones you'd find in the
grocery store, in come cases they're larger, and in some cases they're
smaller --- it all depends on the variety.
Which brings me to the
final question I often get about dwarf citrus
--- can you grow one from seed? You can probably answer that
question yourself from the data I've already given you. Remember,
the rootstock determines how big the tree is and the scionwood is
responsible for the fruits. So, if I plant a seed from my dwarf
Meyer lemon tree, the offspring is only going to get its DNA from the
scionwood and will turn into a full-size Meyer lemon tree.
to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the
RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.