Citrus tree Oranges on a tree

Citrus trees

Common name Lemon, Orange, Lime and more
Botanical name Citrus species
Family Rutaceae
Natural range Asia originally, but everywhere now
Mature height to 8m
Form Short, rounded tree
Likes Regular watering and fertiliser
Dislikes Waterlogged roots
Where to plant Home garden
Known for Tasty fruits

Types of Citrus

For Australians, the backyard lemon tree is an iconic classic, but the world of citrus is so much more than lemons. Citrus are easy to grow for gardeners of any ability and with a bit of work, it is possible to have a home orchard of the whole gang: lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, limes, tangelos, even native finger limes.

Dwarf varieties

If space is tight, it is also possible to dwarf varieties in pots or have several types of fruit grafted onto one tree. There is also a range of early and late maturing varieties, so it’s possible to enjoy home-grown citrus year-round.

The perfect fit for a home garden

Citrus trees are smart choices for the home garden. They can handle lots of sun in the summer; they provide shade and even fragrance as the flowers form. With a bit of proper fertiliser, regular watering, and minor pruning, your citrus trees can live a long and productive life.

How much sun does my Citrus tree need?

All citrus need maximum sun exposure to grow and set fruit – at least six hours of direct sun per day or more, but you should avoid planting positions that are exposed to strong wind, which can stress trees and disrupt pollination and fruit set.

Feeding citrus trees

For most reliable results, buy grafted trees of well-known varieties grafted onto hardy rootstock.
Fertilisation is important with citrus, too. They are notoriously ‘heavy feeders’, so feeding them on a regular basis will help promote strong, healthy growth and large fruits.

Well-drained soil is a must

Citrus species as a whole, need soil that drains well; they do not like their roots to be waterlogged. Water should be applied slowly, and over a period of at least several hours. This will ensure that the soil around the tree is soaked below the surface, which will encourage deep rooting.


Water citrus trees deeply twice a week during establishment, but the frequency of watering can be cut back once they are established. Later you should only need to water during dry periods and when fruits are developing.


It’s important to maintain soil moisture from fruit set to harvest, to prevent citrus trees becoming stressed, which could result in the crop dropping before it’s ripe. Follow these steps and you can be enjoying juicy citrus fruits all year round.

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