Growing Citrus Trees in Ontario

I had posted previously about the Dwarf Lemon Tree that I have been growing in my dim and drafty windowsill here in southern Ontario. I had bought the plant on a lark, thinking it would be fun to try, but I didn’t exactly expect to be successful.

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The plant definitely doesn’t get enough sunlight here, and so I am looking forward to putting it outdoors during the day in the spring. We are in a 130 year old house with drafty windows – so the plant was getting a cold breeze, but it was also sitting too close to a gas fireplace as well.

My lemon tree does lose leaves, and some of the leaves have turned yellow, but most are hanging in there! It is normal for a citrus tree that has changed environments to lose leaves at first. Once it adjusts to the environment it should stabilize and start growing new leaves. The yellowing and leaf dropping may also be due to my over-watering.

I have fertilized the plant, and I hope to re-pot it in a larger pot in the spring when I can work outside. In the meantime, the plant flowered beautifully, I pollinated the flowers with a craft paintbrush, the the fruit are still growing.

Lemon tree in flower
Lemon tree fruit

I also bought a Dwarf Tangerine Tree, after my Lemon Tree came into fruit. Once I realized it was possible to grow citrus trees indoors here, I became confident enough to try another. Citrus trees generally can only survive outdoors to Zone 8. Even then, the trees will suffer if they experience frost. They can definitely be grown successfully indoors though.

A Citrus Tree can survive for 50 years. Trees are available in Dwarf form. They begin producing fruit between their 2nd and 5th growing season. I’m not sure how old the little trees are that I purchased, but they are about 12-18″ in height and width and have both flowered and produced fruit in my first season with them!

Tangerine Tree in Bloom

The Tangerine flowers were somewhat smaller and less showy than the Lemon flowers, but I have had much less leaf drop with the Tangerine, and I am getting a lot of new leaf growth with it.

The Lemons are bigger today


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Still more Lemons getting bigger
The Tangerine Tree still in bloom
The Little Tangeines are now growing

I used the same paint brush pollination technique with the Tangerine flowers that I had previously used with the Lemon flowers. The Tangerine flowers fell off much more quickly than the Lemon flowers – BUT – I do see some baby Tangerines starting!

More Tangerine flowers turning into Tangerines

I can’t say whether the fruit will grow large enough to eat, but I think they might! In the United States you can order Citrus trees from Citrus.com. They also carry Grapefruit, Avocado Trees, Kumquats, Olives, Persimmons, Pomegranate, Figs, Mandarins and Limes. Citrus.com cannot ship out of the United States and even to some states because of the regulations regarding agriculture in those locations.


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