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By: Jackie Rhoades
When do citrus trees bloom? That depends on the type of citrus, though a general rule of thumb is the smaller the fruit, the more often it blooms. Some limes and lemons, for example, can produce up to four times a year, while the citrus blooming season for those big navel oranges is only once in the spring.
Determining Your Citrus Blooming Season
The answer to, “When do citrus blossoms bloom?” lies in the tree’s stress levels. Bloom can be triggered by temperature or water availability. You see, producing flowers and fruits is nature’s way of ensuring the continuation of the species. The tree chooses its time based on when the fruit has the best chance of maturing. In Florida and other subtropical regions where citrus is grown, there is usually a prolific bloom following the cooler winter dormancy. Rising temperatures in March signal the tree that it’s time to start developing seeds. This citrus flowering season lasts for several weeks. In more tropical regions, this citrus blooming season may follow the heavy rains after summer’s drought.
If you’re growing citrus in a pot indoors, it’s important to try to replicate these environmental conditions for your own citrus blooming season. You may want to move your plant outdoors in the spring when the temperatures rise and remain above freezing. If you’re growing your tree on a porch or patio, you might have to help with fertilizing the flowers of your citrus. Flowering season doesn’t guarantee fruit. While most citrus trees are self pollinating, trees kept out of the wind in a sheltered area often need assistance. All it takes is a little shake now and then to move the pollen from one blossom to another.
It’s not enough to ask when do citrus blossoms bloom in terms of seasons. You should also be asking in terms of years. Many people complain that their tree hasn’t bloomed when, in fact, the tree is still in its juvenile stage. Some oranges and grapefruit can take 10-15 years to fruit. Again, smaller varieties may bloom within three to five years.
What to Expect After Your Citrus Trees Bloom
When do citrus trees bloom and what happens next? Once the citrus flowering season is complete, you can expect three ‘drops.’
- The first drop will be the unpollinated flowers at the end of the citrus blooming season. This looks like a lot, but don’t panic. Typically, the tree will lose up to 80 percent of its flowers.
- The second drop occurs when the fruit are marble sized, and there will be a third when the fruit is almost full grown. This is the tree’s way of ensuring that only the best fruit survives.
- Lastly, when talking about when citrus trees bloom, we should also mention ripening times. Again, the larger the fruit, the longer it takes to ripen. So, those small lemons and limes will ripen within a few months while the larger oranges and grapefruit can take up to twelve to eighteen months, depending on your climate.
These trees take patience and citrus blooming season is largely dependent on the trees environment, but now that you know the how and why of it, you can take advantage of it in your own backyard.
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Read more about Citrus Trees
How to Induce Citrus Blooming
Whether you grow fruit trees in a container on your patio, in your greenhouse or in your yard, the fragrant spring blossoms brighten your living space as the weather warms. Citrus trees must bloom to produce fruit later in the year, so blooming is key to a citrus yield. Although you can't always control the weather conditions, you can take a few steps to help induce blooming in your citrus trees.
Plant your tree in a sunny location. Citrus trees need a significant amount of sunlight to bloom, so don't plant them beneath larger hardwood trees or in the back corner of your patio. Even in containers, citrus trees are heavy and difficult to move, so place it in a sunny spot from the beginning.
Water your plants sparingly in the early winter to induce blooming. Severe drought prevents blooming, but a small amount of water stress helps the blooms develop in the spring. When the weather turns coolest, usually between December and February, water your citrus trees once every two weeks, or whenever the soil feels dry an inch below the surface. Begin watering once a week as it gets closer to spring.
Prune citrus trees in the fall to remove dead branches or those infested with insects. Citrus trees fare well after pruning -- it helps them focus blooming energy on existing branches.
Control the temperature in the winter if possible. Store the trees in a location where the nighttime temperatures fall into the 40s, as cold weather helps induce blooming in the spring. The low temperatures help release the bud dormancy when the weather warms. If temperatures are consistent all year, the buds may not recognize a change in seasons and bloom as dramatically as when they are kept cold in the winter. Although you can't control the weather, move container plants out of your greenhouse or away from the warm house if they are not too heavy.
Fertilize citrus trees three times a year, spacing out the fertilization. For example, if you fertilize in November, add more in March. Time it so that your early spring fertilization uses a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as a 0-10-10, which helps induce blooming. For the other two applications, use a balanced fertilizer such as an 8-8-8.
Collect rain in barrels and use this water for your citrus trees. Groundwater and water from your house may be high in saline, which can keep citrus trees from blooming. Use the rainwater for deep waterings several times a year to help lower the salinity of the ground around your citrus trees to induce blooming in the spring.
Things You Will Need
Wait for your citrus tree to mature if it's not blooming up to your expectations. Many fruit trees must be at least 3 to 4 years old before they begin to bloom in earnest and produce fruit.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.
Submitted by John Haan on March 27, 2021 - 2:49pm
SQUEEZE THE LEMON, AND USE THE JUICE TO MAKE ICE CUBES, STORE IN A BAG IN FREEZER, AND ENJOY LEMON CHILLED DRINK.
Meyer Lemon Tree
Submitted by Connie Gunter on July 24, 2020 - 3:29pm
I live in the southern portion of Alabama (Mobile County) and planted a Myer Lemon tree earlier this spring (added citrus spikes). At one point the tree had blooms and showed evidence of producing lemons (flowers/small green lemons). It's outside in plenty of sun, I have not watered the tree because I think it receives a generous amount due to rain. At some point all of the blooms fell off as well as the small green lemons that were trying to grow. What am I doing wrong? I love meyer lemons and would love for my tree to produce. It's planted next to a peach tree that produced wonderful sweet peaches.
Meyer lemon tree
Submitted by The Editors on July 29, 2020 - 4:14pm
An old adage says “nothing good comes easy.” This may be an example. Lemon trees thrive in sandy loam soil that is moist but not soggy, and fertilized with a 6-6-6-2 (6% nitrogen-6% phosphate-6% potash-2% magnesium) mixture after planting. (Sources vary on the fertilizer recommendations.)
Leaf drop can be a sign of too little water, too cool nights, or too much temperature variation. However, over watering can leach nutrients from the soil and cause root rot. If the roots are damaged they can’t take up the nutrients the plant needs. But even if the roots are fine, the plant needs to be able to access certain nutrients. Do a soil test, find your cooperative extension here https://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services , and try to save it.
Black lemon buds
Submitted by Jane on May 13, 2020 - 2:35pm
I have a four year old pink lemonade tree that blossomed beautifully and then the tiny budding lemon fruits are turning black and falling off. The leaves no longer look healthy. Help!!
Submitted by The Editors on May 20, 2020 - 4:58pm
Lemon trees generally drop their fruit prematurely when the tree has either been watered too much or too little. I’m not sure which is the case with your tree, but if it is planted in a pot and the soil is wet, don’t water it more. If it’s planted in the ground, the tree won’t need hardly any watering at all and should thrive on just rainfall. We hope this helps!
Confuzzling Lemon Tree
Submitted by James on October 30, 2019 - 5:14pm
My Lemon tree has baffled me on what's wrong with it. It's on a regular water schedule and gets plenty of sun. It is dropping leaves every couple days, after said leaf yellows a good bit. Meanwhile, it's blooming like crazy. Absolutely perplexed as to what could cause it. We live in western NC and so I'm worried if it'll survive winter without many leaves on it.
Lemon farming Problems
Submitted by agriculture tech on August 20, 2019 - 2:18am
great information, keep doing a great work
Citrus plant growth
Submitted by Aryan Mustafa on March 24, 2019 - 12:48am
I have planted some citrus plants boughts form nursery 15 days ago but not growing still their leaves shed away citruse lemon and other orange plant.
Why they are not growing.
Submitted by The Editors on March 25, 2019 - 3:07pm
It’s not unusual for trees to experience some level of “transplant shock” after they’ve been planted in the ground dropping leaves can be a result of this. The trees will also take at least a few weeks to settle in, and even then, they’ll start growing out their roots before you see any signs of growth above ground. This is a good thing, since a tree with weak roots won’t stand for long!
If your area is dry and sunny, make sure that the trees are getting watered enough. But if it’s been rainy in your area, you shouldn’t need to provide extra water, which can drown the plants.
Submitted by Barbara Lessard on January 9, 2019 - 12:45pm
I have a lime tree that was producing good limes, my husband planted a lemon tree right beside it and soon the side next to the lemon tree started producing yellow limes that were bitter. My husband died last year and I have not been able to take care of the trees so the lemon tree died and my lime tree only produces a few good limes on the opposite side of the dead lemon tree and the rest are yellow and bitter. Is there anything I can do to get my lime tree to be healthy and produce good limes again?
Satsuma Mandarin SoCal.
Submitted by Scott on December 11, 2018 - 5:09pm
I live in NW area of Los Angeles, CA and have a Satsuma Mandarin (Semi-Dwarf) Seedless tree that is approx 5-6 years old. We are finally getting a good fruiting from it but wondered when can I start shaping it as it seems that one side is more "bushy" (seems to be more branches and leaves on one side) if that is a correct term. It gets great sunlight (full sun starting about 10 am until dusk). Is there a science to trimming/pruning it? I want the other side to start sprouting branches so I won't have to put something on it to support it.
Second question, every year or so, I get a branch that sprouts at the bottom and develops large thorns on the branch. What is the reason for this? Is this considered a "sucker" branch? I always cut them off.
Third question, how often should I fertilize it? The last couple of years I did it twice in the spring (March and in May) and seems to have helped it but am I supposed to do it in the fall? If so when?
Since the tree is in the middle of our side yard it gets watered about 5 mins every day with the grass, and not so much during the winter months unless it rains. It does get hot here in the summer so I assume that its ok. Since the tree is developing fruit now and is tasty I guess the watering is ok.
Orange tree gone all lemony
Submitted by marietta on November 30, 2017 - 8:18pm
I bought an orange tree from costco, after 5 years it started producing nice round pieces of light orange, deep yellow fruit, they peeled like oranges, juiced like oranges, but are lemons. Some even have had navels, some with pointy bottoms. It is quite large and prolific, any chance it will turn orangey?
When your orange tree gives you lemons..
Submitted by The Editors on December 1, 2017 - 3:53pm
This transition may be because the original lemon rootstock (probably “rough” lemon) has taken over because grafted orange portion has died. So the rootstock is producing lemons (because that’s what it is)—or perhaps, as you describe, are sour oranges. It is not likely to turn back into an orange tree. But with a little sugar, you can make lemonade!
Growing Citrus in LIberia, West Africa
Submitted by Leonard Kragness on October 16, 2017 - 4:48am
In my last comment I forgot to mention that the citrus I have already planted were all planted from seeds and it seems like nearly 100% are growing. These trees were planted about 2 months ago and the german plum and avocado trees are average of 1 foot tall and looking very healthy and the orange trees are about 4 inches and also looking very healthy. No fertilizer was used thus far. A few years ago I planted moringa trees that are now towering over my house and about 45 feet tall. These trees actually grew 4" to 6" per day and now bear plenty of moringa pods.
Planting an orange, Avocado, german plum, citrus grove - Liberia
Submitted by Leonard Kragness on October 16, 2017 - 4:39am
October 15, 2017 I have 168 acres that seems to be suitable for growing citrus in Liberia, West Africa. I had the soil tested by the EPA and their report stated good for citrus growth.
I already planted about 200 german plum trees and about 200 local orange trees in nursery application. I would like to know about the best spacing for these citrus trees and any information you have regarding planting, fertilizer, care, weeding, etc. I am planning on about 10,000 trees spaced at 25 feet for oranges (most will be orange) and 50 feet for the german plum and avocado. Your input will be appreciated
Citrus Growing in Liberia
Submitted by Ben on January 28, 2018 - 12:35pm
I was very excited to see that you are growing citrus in Liberia. I have a contact who is seeking to do the same at this moment and is searching for places to purchase seed to start trees or to purchase trees to plant. Where did you acquire your seeds and/or plants? Where are you growing in Liberia? What sorts of agricultural extension services or other support services, networks, or organizations are available in Liberia? I really appreciate your help.
Submitted by Thierry on March 28, 2018 - 8:31pm
I'm very happy to know that you are able to grow (oranges, plums, citrus, and avocados) I currently leave in Texas and my long time project is to grow Florida (oranges, grapefruit, tangerine etc. ) in my native country Cameroon. Would you please help me get the right pieces of information and advice on how to get the seeds, have the soil tested by EPA etc. Regards, Thierry
Submitted by Peg on June 29, 2017 - 3:05pm
My citrus seems to be very small and fruit seems to be ripening too soon. It has some dark spots as well. It's been very rainy here, and I've gotten a lot of fruit, but I'd like to have healthier looking fruit. I battle curly leaf bugs too, as I live by a lake and midges come out of the lake and cover the trees at times, and then other spidery bugs seem to set in to get the midges. Sevin powder seems to help the best for this. What do I need to do to ensure they produce robust and healthy fruit? I have an orange tree, a key lime tree, and a lemon tree.
3yr old 12in lemon tree from seed
Submitted by Patrica on June 11, 2017 - 10:50pm
HELP. I love gardening Dec 2014 I got 4 seeds to sprout but only 1 plant to live. By Jan it was 3in 5 leaves. By Aug it was 6in but leaves keep dying when new one's grew. By summer of 2016 I repotted it to larger pot. But it's still growing leaves then dying leaves n growing leave . It still only about 12in high stalk is still skinny and green. I saw a video of one only 1yr old and it's beautiful he used Neptune seaweed fertilizer. Should I try that or is my 3yr tree ruined? So now what?
Submitted by Patrica still me on June 11, 2017 - 10:58pm
FYI, my leaves never turned yellow they are broad thick shinny and dark green. But as soon as I get new ones the old ones shriveled up n fall off and it branches off but leaves don't stay. And don't grow any taller. And stalk still skinny and bright green no bark at all like a new seedling.
Citrus from seeds
Submitted by Steve S on June 1, 2018 - 6:01pm
I had the exact same issue with some Valencia oranges I planted from seed. UNTIL I stopped by a local indoor gardening shop. They recommended a liquid fertilizer called, Kelp Me Kelp You by Bush Doctor. I mix 1 cap in a 2 liter bottle of water. Remember to NOT over water your plants. Once a week at most. After 18 months I am 20-24 inches tall (above dirt level) with strong, deep green leaves and the plants are put outside daily but brought in at night until the temperature stabilizes a bit more for summer. Good luck.
Valencia orange from seed leaves turning yellow
Submitted by Steve S on May 28, 2017 - 3:25am
I have some starts from seed from a family Valencia orange tree. They are now at the 3-4 inch range with 4-5 leaves on each start under a grow light 14 hours a day and still indoors in 5" peat pots. The leaves are starting to turn yellow from the tip in. Mostly yellow but looking closely, there is some very light green in the center vein. I have tried a light application of a 3-4-2 organic fertilizer but that almost seems to have sped up the yellowing. Help please. These are starts from a 60 year old tree that we had to finally remove due to the drought. I don't want to lose these.
Submitted by The Editors on June 1, 2017 - 1:28pm
Hi, Steve, we hope we are not too late. In short, it could be nitrogen deficiency. See this page for pics of leaves, causes, and controls (the top images are of fruit scrolldown for the foliage): https://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1.
Note that while pH is not mentioned in the link page above, you might consider doing a soil test (orange should be 6.0 to 7.5) and amending as necessary. Click here for more http://www.almanac.com/content/ph-preferences
Submitted by Steve S on June 1, 2018 - 6:06pm
I stopped by a local indoor gardening shop. They recommended a liquid fertilizer called, Kelp Me Kelp You by Bush Doctor. I mix 1 cap in a 2 liter bottle of water. After 18 months I am 20-24 inches tall (above dirt level) with strong, deep green leaves and the plants are put outside daily but brought in at night until the temperature stabilizes a bit more for summer. The plants are doing great and I am getting regular growth on the leaves and the stems are now bark instead of green.
Lime tree thinning fruit question
Submitted by Kim King on May 3, 2017 - 9:24pm
I live in Zone 9 and have a young (maybe 4-5 year old) lime tree. We bought our house 2 years ago and it was stick-like, pathetic, and had only a couple of limes. Since then, we have fertilized and regularly watered it. It looks so much healthier and had a huge amounts of blossoms this Spring. Now there are so many fruits growing, I wondered if I should thin them out to get fewer but better limes. Will there be a problem having too many new fruits growing on this tree? Thank you for your advice!
Thinning Citrus Trees
Submitted by The Editors on May 5, 2017 - 4:21pm
Lime and other citrus trees do not usually need to be manually thinned, as they experience something known as “June drop,” which is when the trees drop a number of their immature fruits in late spring or early summer. In most places, this event happens in June, but in the southern US , it can occur well before. We would advise waiting until the June drop occurs, and at that point, if you still think there are too many limes, you can thin the tree just a little bit more. Enjoy your bountiful harvest!
Submitted by Ogunrinde Oyewo. on July 18, 2018 - 1:47pm
Please how many seedlings make a hectare in dwarf Orange
How many 100kg bags make a ton.
Orange tree care
Submitted by Monica johnson on May 1, 2017 - 5:52pm
I need someone to come over and spray pesticide on my dads very large orange tree
I have no idea of there is such a person for hire. Where do I start looking?
How to find plant care
Submitted by The Editors on May 2, 2017 - 1:17pm
If you have a computer, search for “tree care, YOUR TOWN , YOUR STATE ” and see what comes up. You could also go to a nursery and inquire there. Cooperative extension services at universities can be very helpful. Click here http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services , click on your state, and inquire at the service nearest you.
Submitted by KHALEEQ SIDDIQUI on April 10, 2017 - 9:04am
MY QUESTION IS WHAT ARE REASON THAT SOME CITRUS FRUITS ARE NOT JUICY AND HOW TO INCREASE JUICE IN THE FRUIT.