Orange you glad it’s fall?

I’m not, bring back summer. With fall comes the chilly (and even cold) weather so I have to take down my tomato garden and then bring in my citrus trees.

I’ve had a citrus tree since summer of 2012.  Specifically my lime tree. I haven’t made quite as many errors with citrus trees as I have with bonsai, but made a few.  The first one was putting my lime tree in an enormous 15 gallon pot.  If you’ve ever had a small citrus tree, the root ball is tiny. And stays tiny as the plant flourishes.  Well, in order for a container plant to successfully fruit, the root ball needs to be hugged by the pot.  I didn’t know this at the time so thought “more is better” and put it in an enormous pot.  Not only did it get very lanky and barely produce any fruit, but since the root ball was so tiny there was a lot of space growing mold where the dirt never really got dry.  So the plant had horrific case after horrific case of fungus gnats. IN MY HOUSE.  Well anyhoo, fixed that and the tree got happier.

Until my next error.  At this point- (fall 2013), I was ready for plant #2- variegated pink lemon. I knew to keep it in a smaller pot already and kept the two trees by the window at the backdoor.  Come about end of January 2014, I got a Meyer lemon to complete my “set” just before we had a very cold snap.  It was like 10 degrees for a week….and apparently my back door isn’t quite as well insulated as I would have hoped so the trees got too cold. All three looked horrible as we came into summer, but luckily two pulled through.  The Meyer lemon was just too small and unestablished to pull through.

SO, when winter of 2014 rolled around, I decided to set up the grow light rather than give the trees another opportunity to freeze since they had spent all summer recovering.  Now, as we approach winter of 2015 the two of them look MUCH better finally.  So onto yesterday’s “bringing in of the citrus” ritual.

So I brought out one of my grow lights and set it up with the extra pieces I bought to make it taller.

DSC_1237 DSC_1239

Then I set it all up in the office and put a timer on it because- it’s hard to remember to turn it off and on every morning and night!


Then I transplanted the Chinese Elm bonsai…..


And then I got down to business with the citrus trees.  It sounds super easy – “move them indoors”….but they’ve been OUTSIDE. Meaning: bugs.  So I do a thorough check to make sure nothing horrific is coming inside.  I’m all about some spiders hanging out on them, but what I was checking for was fungus gnats.  We had had a lot of rain for the past couple weeks and sure enough the lime tree had a BAD case of them.  Sorry, bro. You have to dry out a few more days. So I used my little poker tool and broke up the soil and mixed it around a little. If you look closely at this pic you can see two bugs on the lip of the pot in the shade…but I assure you, there were more.


Here’s the variegated pink lemon, calmondin (basically a really tart orange colored lime) and Chinese Elm looking all ready for winter! Hopefully the lime tree can join them soon.


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