How to care for citrus trees in your area for winter
How to overwinter citrus trees. A guide for most of the country. With winter approaching, learn to overwinter citrus trees need protection from cold temperatures and freezing. These tips can make it easy.
It’s easy to prepare your citrus trees for winter. For growers in the Midwest and East Coast, trees should be brought inside or into a greenhouse to protect them from frost and freezing. For those who live on the west coast or most of the Gulf Coast and Florida, a frost cloth will be enough if it gets close to freezing at night.
If you plan to overwinter citrus trees inside for the winter:
- In fall, move your trees to a shaded outdoor spot for several weeks. This will help them to acclimate to the change in weather and cooler temperatures
- Check trees for insects before moving inside or to a greenhouse. Spray the foliage and trunk thoroughly with water and allow the plant to drip dry. Treat the tree with insecticidal soap and pick off any bugs you may have missed. Aphids can be removed with a strong blast of water. They can’t climb back up the tree. Scale is a common indoor citrus pests. The soap will kill most pests on contact. Throughout the winter, continue to look for signs of aphids and scale. Lightweight oils and insecticidal soaps will help control them. Controlling ants is also helpful when dealing with aphids.
- Move trees to a south-facing window or a bright room where they will receive ample light. If your room doesn’t supply enough light, consider investing in a grow light. Temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees is ideal. Keep trees away from heating vents or drafty areas.
Humidity and water is important
- You should provide sufficient humidity for your citrus trees. Blossoms that become dehydrated will likely drop before setting fruit. You can place a shallow container of pebbles under the pot to give the plant the extra humidity. Cover the pebbles about halfway with water – do not allow the pot to sit in water.
- Cut back on watering during winter. Water when the soil is dry to the touch.
- Do not fertilize your tree during the winter months.
If you plan to overwinter citrus trees outside, do this:
- Know your USDA Hardiness zone and first frost dates. If you’re unsure of your hardiness zone, check here.
- Pick any ripe fruit before the frost.
- Water outdoor citrus trees during the winter, because moisture will protect the roots from damage. Moist soil freezes but it will not harm the roots. Give young trees about 1-2 gallons of water weekly November through February in the absence of rainfall. Give more mature trees up to 5 gallons per week from November through February if it’s a dry winter.
- Purchase inexpensive frost cloths available to cover your tree. You can also wrap the tree’s trunk in layers of cardboard to insulate it against frost. Cover the trunk from just below the main limbs to the ground. Secure the cardboard with duct tape because this will prevent losing to wind and animals. Leave it in place until the last frost.
- String small outdoor holiday lights throughout the tree’s branches to help warm them before frost hits.
- Watch for aphids and scale. Knock them off with a spray from the garden hose. Treat the tree with insecticidal soap as needed.
- Do not prune until after the danger of frost has passed.
Welcome to Jerry’s Jungle. Cool Plants for Cool People. We’re a Mom & Pop Shop located in the historic district of downtown Albany, GA. We grow and sell rare, unusual and also just great plants! We love Citrus*, Brugmansias, Begonias, Herbs, Tropicals and also Perennials of all kinds.
Since we have a brick and mortar business that keeps us busy, and also a web and graphic design business, we’ve decided to ship twice per week unless there is a holiday. Shipping days depend on our schedules, but usually we ship on Mondays as well as Fridays.
If you’re looking to buy flats or half flats of any of our plants listed here, we’ll need at least three months** notice to propagate. Contact us here on Etsy and we’ll send a special offer. If you are looking for something not listed here, contact us through Etsy. We may already have it in stock or be able to propagate from our existing stock.
If you receive a plant that is damaged in the mail, please know that we use Priority Shipping. Packages are insured for up to $50. I will gladly provide any information you need to file a claim with your local post office. It is up to the receiver to file a claim with the United States Postal Service.
Thanks for stopping by and if you’re ever in Albany, GA – come see us! If the gate is open – so are we.
*All citrus is certified by the Georgia Citrus Growers Association.
* We’re sorry, but we do not ship citrus to Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
**Some items can be rooted sooner and some may also take longer – it depends on what you’re looking for.
We are a licensed Georgia Department of Agriculture Live Plant Grower, License #39793