Potted decorative flowering

Caring for citrus plants, pruning and overwintering

The rue family includes a variety of citrus species and citrus hybrids. The latter are the result of crossbreeding, with the aim of producing as tasty and many fruits as possible. Most of the popular potted plants are referred to as lemons. In addition to the classic citrus limon, there are a large number of varieties and varieties. Due to complex breeding, there have been a wide variety of types in recent decadesdeveloped. The original types were Citrus medica (citron), Citrus reticulata (tangerine) and Citrus maxima (grapefruit). The main distinguishing feature between the groups is the shape of the fruit.

Cucumber-shaped fruit with granular, caviar-like pulp in 5 chambers, which is very aromatic, very popular with top chefs as an ingredient in fine dishes and drinks

Worth knowing LocationWatering Fertilizing Pruning Repotting OverwinteringSpecies Pests & Diseases FAQ

Citrus plants convey the feeling of summer and vacation. The evergreen shrubs provide a southern flair, especially with a rich fruit load. But be careful: In our latitudes, the wood is sensitive to frost. Find out what needs to be considered when caring for citrus plants, when it is best to repot the potted plants and how to cut and fertilize. We will show you the large selection of different types there are and tell you where the peculiarities best winter. With the right knowledge of the citrus family, care is guaranteed to be successful.

Worth knowing LocationWatering Fertilizing Pruning Repotting OverwinteringSpecies Pests & Diseases FAQ

Matching products: buy citrus plants

Interesting facts about citrus plants

Botanical name: various types of citrus
Other names: lemon tree, kumquat, calamondin, bergamot, lime tree, red lemon, tangerine, calamondin orange, mulled wine lemon, lime tree, orange tree, citron
Use: Mediterranean plant for patios, balconies, gardens and conservatories, container plants
Origin: India, China
Flower colour: creamy white, fragrant
Flowering period: mainly in spring, but there are often reblooms, so that fruits and flowers can be on the plant at the same time
Fruit: initially green, then yellow or orange, rarely red
Special features:In the group of citrus plants there is a wide variety of species, varieties and shapes such as espaliers, pyramids and columns. The care of the citrus plants is identical for all species. In addition to sufficient light and warmth, well-drained soil and sufficient nutrients are important. Leaf fall on citrus plants occurs mainly when there is waterlogging, drafts or frost. With the right knowledge about care, simply enjoy the fine aroma of the blossoms and marvel at the variety of the fascinating fruits.

In which location does the citrus plant feel most comfortable?

A sunny and warm spot on the balcony or terrace in summer is ideal for all citrus plants. From mid-May, place the tubs for the citrus plants outside and make sure that the trees are as protected as possible from rain and draughts. The Mediterranean flair that the exotic plants convey for months on the balcony or in the garden is unique. In winter, the plants come into the house in pots, because citrus plants suffer during longer phases with temperatures below 5 °C. It isnot possible to overwinter the trees outdoors. Citrus plants planted in the ground only survive the winter in a Mediterranean climate.

Worth knowing about the location of citrus plants

  • Places near walls or house walls are ideal in summer, because heat is stored here and the Mediterranean plants benefit from the microclimate.
  • If possible, citrus plants should not be left indoors all year round. The sun worshipers need the maximum amount of light available. Some varieties tolerate a place indoors in the summer better than other species. With proper care, it’s possible that you can enjoy kumquat, calamondin, spiced citrus, and Meyer lemon as decorative houseplants. In general, however, most citrus plants should be outdoors from May until the first frost.
  • Ensure gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions. Immediately after purchase, you should first place the citrus plants in a sheltered place. The foliage first has to get used to the outdoor conditions (UV rays). Slow clearing out is also important after hibernation.

Citrus plants tolerate short-term freezing temperatures. Nevertheless, it is important that you put the potted plants into their winter quarters in good time. The Mediterranean plants suffer particularly in rainy phases with daily temperatures around 5 °C and a sheltered place is an advantage.You do not have a suitable winter quarters for your citrus plant? You are welcome to use our plant-Kölle overwintering service.Plants overwintering

How do I water my citrus plants?

Consistent soil moisture is important for all citrus plants. The water requirement essentially depends on the temperature, the radiation, the size of the plants, the volume of the soil and the composition of the soil. It is best if you water your citrus plants regularly with low-lime water and pour off the excess water after 30 minutes. Never leave the citrus plants in standing water for a long time. A however, the earth must never dry out completely. Both weaken the trees and can lead to leaf fall. The soil of the citrus plants should always dry out a little in the upper third between the individual watering processes.

Important things to know when watering citrus plants

    • In the summer, garden watering of citrus plants may be necessary every 1 to 2 days.
    • The water requirement of citrus plants is greatly reduced in winter.
    • Always avoid standing water. This is particularly important in winter, as otherwise root damage can quickly occur

Spraying the leaves promotes the vitality of the citrus plants. Spray with low-lime water or place a container with water near the plant in the winter quarters.

How do I fertilize my citrus plants?

The presence of sufficient nutrients is important for growth and flowering in all citrus plants. From March you should fertilize your citrus plants  regularly. Add a liquid special fertilizer to the irrigation water once a week. Kölle Organic Citrus Fertilizer, which contains not only the necessary nutrients but also minerals, trace elements and revitalizing humic substances, is ideally suited. In winter quarters you should fertilize heavily reduce. Fertilizing citrus plants every 2 to 3 weeks in winter is usually sufficient. Basically, the nutrient supply of the citrus plants is ensured by regular fertilization. The result is vital plants. As an alternative to liquid citrus fertilizer, there are Kölle’s Beste fertilizer sticks for citrus plants. These provide all the nutrients necessary for the Mediterranean wood for 3 months. Fertilizer sticks are practical to use and save regular fertilizing. Dose the fertilizer sticks for citrus plants according to the instructions on the packet. How you your

How do I prune my citrus plants?

In principle, citrus plants tolerate pruning well and can be pruned all year round . However, it is optimal if you cut your trees at the end of winter. First remove all dead and dry shoots with sharp pruning shears. When pruning citrus plants, avoid leaving stumps on the trunk. Cut as close to the wood as possible and make sure you get a clean cut. For large cuts, you can use tree wax to treat the wound.

Our gardening tip: pruning before flowering stimulates growth and flowering . You can significantly influence the shape through the cut. You can shorten long shoots during the entire vegetation period.

How do I repot my citrus plants?

You can leave newly purchased citrus plants in the culture pot or repot them into a container of your choice. Pay attention to the

When choosing a vessel, make sure that there is a water drainage hole. Pots without a water outlet are unsuitable for citrus plants. Ideally, the plants are repotted in spring . How often you need to repot your citrus plants depends on root growth. Young specimens with strong growth can be repotted annually. For old solitary plants, transplanting every 2 to 3 years is sufficient. Citrus plants that bear fruit are not repotted as repotting can result in fruit drop.

Tips for repotting citrus plants:

  • Repot your citrus plants at the start of vegetation in March.
  • Only use pots with a hole. Closed containers are unsuitable for citrus plants.
  • Choose a pot that is no more than 5 to 10 cm larger than the previous pot.
  • Repot the special features in high-quality potting soil. Kölle Organic Citrus Plant Soil is peat-free for repotting citrus plants.
  • First fill the pot with expanded clay drainage. Then put a layer of fleece on the expanded clay to separate it from the potting soil.
  • Put some citrus plant soil on the fleece and then place the watered citrus plant in the new pot.
  • Fill the cavity between the root ball and the pot with the special soil and press it lightly.

Finally, water the citrus plant thoroughly. Fact: The citrus plant soil has a pH value of 5 and the composition is optimally tailored to the needs of the citrus plants. In addition to coconut pulp and green waste compost, it contains sand and clay. The addition of carbonate of lime ensures the pH value required for citrus plants. The clay contained in the soil has the ability to store water and release it to the trees when needed. Normal potting soil is not suitable for the roots as it has too high a pH and the structure is not suitable for citrus plants.

How do I overwinter my citrus plants?

All citrus plants must be overwintered frost-free . At temperatures below 0 °C the special features suffer, at temperatures below -2 °C young leaves, flowers and buds are damaged. It is therefore advisable to protect the citrus plants from frost in good time.

    • Constant temperatures between 5 and 12 °C. Beware of strong fluctuations caused by intense sunlight, the trees suffer and it can lead to leaf fall.
    • Uniform bale moisture. Waterlogging and complete drying out of the soil should be avoided.
    • Check the winter quarters regularly for pest infestation. Lice or scale insects are often found on citrus during the warm hibernation.

During the cold hibernation, the citrus plants need less fertilizer from October to March. Use a little less fertilizer and fertilize the citrus plants every 2 to 3 weeks.

Fact: Due to the cool hibernation of citrus plants, the tree experiences a kind of hibernation in which the metabolism is reduced. As a result, the citrus plant tolerates the reduced light supply in winter. With additional lighting (plant lamps), a warmer overwintering of citrus is possible.

What types of citrus are there?

The rue family includes a variety of citrus species and citrus hybrids. The latter are the result of crossbreeding, with the aim of producing as tasty and many fruits as possible. Most of the popular potted plants are referred to as lemons. In addition to the classic citrus limon, there are a large number of varieties and varieties. Due to complex breeding, there have been a wide variety of types in recent decadesdeveloped. The original types were Citrus medica (citron), Citrus reticulata (tangerine) and Citrus maxima (grapefruit). The main distinguishing feature between the groups is the shape of the fruit.

What pests and diseases can the citrus plant get?

With optimal site conditions and the right care, citrus plants are robust potted plants with an impressive appearance. Especially in the winter quarters, citrus plants can be attacked by pests or lose leaves. Undercooled roots also lead to problems, which you can mainly recognize by leaf fall, yellow spots or lightened leaves.

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to rinse the citrus plant with water and treat it with a plant strengthener. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. In the case of severe infestation, oil-based plant protection products can be used. A bright location and sufficiently high humidity are important to know when caring for them.


Especially in phases with less light and less growth, citrus plants are more susceptible to aphid infestation. Check your plants regularly in winter quarters. Rinse the plants thoroughly with water at the first infestation. This measure usually helps. Then strengthen the plant with a plant strengthener. In this way, the immune system is strengthened in a natural way.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves with dark green veins are often a result of iron deficiency. If the pH value is too high, the citrus plant cannot absorb iron. It is therefore important that the pH value is controlled. This can be remedied by special iron fertilizers. In addition to overcooled roots, other causes can also be drafts or a pot that is too small.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about the citrus plant

Why is my citrus plant losing so many leaves?

Leaf drop on citrus plants can have a variety of causes. It is usually the result of incorrect site conditions or incorrect care.

Possible causes of leaf fall on citrus plants are:

  • lack of light
  • waterlogging
  • dry air
  • lack of water

a root area that is too cold Improve the conditions and young shoots will form quickly in the right location. Especially young plants that are bought new drop leaves due to the change of location. In the cold season, make sure you have adequate protection during transport.

What can be the reason for curled leaves on citrus plants?

Curling leaves on citrus are a sign of water need. In the case of extremely dry bulbs , dipping the pot into a container filled with water can quickly help with small specimens. It is important that the bale is evenly moistened.

What are the causes if the citrus plant does not bloom?

A lack of light or nutrients is usually the reason why citrus plants do not flower . Kumquats in particular tend to flower every two years. This so-called alternating flowering is normal in this group. Furthermore, very young citrus plants or specimens propagated from cuttings or by seed will not flower.

Can citrus plants be overwintered outside?

Overwintering citrus plants outdoors with good winter protection can work in climatically favorable regions. However, there remains a residual risk and we therefore advise against it.

When can citrus plants be taken out of winter quarters?

From the end of April you can bring your citrus plants out of winter quarters with a gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions. Avoid clearing out on sunny days. More suitable are overcast days with 15 °C to avoid leaf burns. After 2 to 3 weeks, the container plant tolerates full sun and forms new shoots and leaves.

Can citrus plants be propagated by seed?

Many citrus species can be propagated by sowing . It can take many years for small seedlings to become fruit-bearing plants. Specimens propagated by seed do not always bear fruit.

Is it possible to grow a citrus plant from cuttings?

The genus of citrus fruits can sometimes be propagated well by cuttings . As in the case of propagation by seed, it is very laborious and not certain that the citrus plant propagated from seed will bear fruit later.

Why are citrus plants grafted?

Refining citrus combines the properties of two types of citrus. Many citrus plants only form flowers and fruit after 8 to 12 years. In order to have plants with fruit earlier, many varieties are grafted and flower at the age of 4 to 5 years. Grafted citrus plants are also more robust.

Can fruits from your own citrus tree be used?

If the citrus plant already has fruit when you buy it, you should first clarify whether the trees come from organic cultivation before you use the fruit. If your Mediterranean shrub bears fruit after a while, it is possible to use it in the second year. It is important that you have not treated the plants with pesticides. Edible citrus can be found at Plants Kölle in the green square pot. These plants are cultivated according to food standards and can be consumed immediately as they are only organic crop protection was applied. Look out for the labels that say : edible citrus!

Can a citrus plant be kept as a houseplant all year round?

Basically, the citrus plant can be in the house all year round. In most cases, however, fruit formation is lower and the susceptibility to pests is greater. The sun-loving species prefers maximum light and lots of warmth. In summer, being outdoors is a great advantage.

Are citrus plants easy to care for?

As container plants, lemon plants only need an even supply of water and a sunny location. The wintering of the fruit-bearing trees must take place in the house.

Where does the Citrus group come from?

The first lemon trees were cultivated in India and China more than 4000 years ago. Portuguese seafarers brought the fascinating plant and its fruits from Southeast Asia to the gardens of Southern Europe. The cultivation of the special trees quickly reached a level of awareness similar to that in China. Many of the fruits known today are the result of crossing different species of the plant.