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Plant is still alive but no signs of new leaves,pos too early. Should I prune it as would be normal in early spring,or just leave well alone this year?


By Wen

United Kingdom Gb

Got the plant for christmas,seemed fine. Put it at front window as to frosty in porch then mid Jan many many leaves dropped all at once. Please help!

On plant Limoncella



Hi There
it's obviously not happy!Something in the conditions of it's care has changed.
This happened to my mini orange some years ago and I think the sudden change of climate to warm dry air is responsible.~
the answer is to look after it carefully for a while ~don't let it dry out completely~ but don't over water it~check the soil and when it is starting to dry out stand it in rainwater if possible until the soil is damp but not soggy~if you can stand it on a tray of damp pebbles it may start to grow new leaves eventually but also check for pests such as spider mite~ .
it's a fair bet that between growing in a nursery with optimum conditions and then being transported in various degrees of hot and cold has not helped it~it needs to settle down and adjust~is it above a radiator?probably not a good plan! try moving it to somewhere with maximum light but not too hot or dry.

See RHS guidance below
The citrus family includes such familiar fruit as oranges, lemons and limes; while small plants are not difficult to grow in pots, given the right conditions, overwintering them successfully is difficult without a conservatory or glasshouse.

Citrus are not demanding plants, but a conservatory or frost-free glasshouse is a must for anyone wanting to grow them well. They do not make happy house plants in winter, when light levels and humidity are usually too low, and centrally-heated rooms indoors are usually too hot.

Equally, citrus are not well suited to year-round outdoor culture, as the combination of winter wet and cold readily kills young citrus plants in the UK. Examples of outdoor success are largely limited to a handful of more-mature plants in sheltered London or south-coast gardens. For healthy plants, provide a winter minimum of 13°C (55°F) for calamondin orange, 10°C (50°F) for lemons and 5–6°C (41-43°F) for many other citrus.
Citrus x meyeri 'Meyer'. Image: Tim SandallSelecting the best

Citrus is a wonderfully diverse genus, from breakfastbowl-sized grapefruits to diminutive kumquats, and from pretty limes to bizarrely-shaped Citrus medica var. digitata (Buddha’s hand).

Popular choices include:

Citrus sinensis (sweet orange): a slow-growing citrus. Try juicy ‘Valencia’ or virtually seedless ‘Washington’.
Citrus aurantium (bitter orange): not as popular as sweet oranges but does have attractive foliage. ‘Bouquet de Fleurs’ has particularly highly-scented flowers.
x Citrofortunella microcarpa (calamondin orange): dwarf, hybrid plant with fruit suitable for preserves and marmalades.
Citrus reticulata (mandarin orange): one of the few spineless citrus. Matures quickly but needs warm conditions (18°C/65°F) in spring to induce flowering.
Citrus limon (lemon): C. x meyeri ‘Meyer’ is still one of the most popular and hardy lemon hybrids, with prolific cropping; C. limon ‘Garey’s Eureka’ is similarly reliable. For a lemon-lime hybrid, grow C. ‘La Valette’, while ‘Variegata’ has highly ornamental green and cream foliage and stripy young fruits.
Citrus aurantiifolia (lime) and C. hystrix (kaffir lime): key lime is compact with small fruit; kaffir lime leaves are used in Thai food.
Citrus medica (citron): an old ‘heirloom’ citrus from which candied peel was made.
Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit or pomelo): quite tender, especially when young, and may take a few years to begin cropping.
Fortunella japonica and F. margarita (kumquat): close relatives to citrus and fairly hardy, kumquats produce thin-skinned fruit eaten whole, either raw or candied.
When first brought indoors, citrus often respond by shedding a large proportion of their leaves. Image: Tim Sandall
The yellowing of leaves is encouraged by over wet or too dry roots. Image: Tim Sandall
Growing citrus

During summer, stand citrus plants outdoors in a sunny, sheltered spot such as a south-facing patio. Water regularly and feed weekly with a summer citrus fertiliser. As the weather cools in autumn, bring the pots into a conservatory or glasshouse, reduce watering and stop feeding. A few leaves may yellow and drop from the initial change of environment. Excessive leaf drop suggests overwatering and either too high or too low a temperature. If in doubt, let the compost dry slightly between waterings. Repot only in spring, using a John Innes No 2 potting compost with extra grit or sharp sand. If the roots are not congested, simply topdress by replacing the top 5cm (2in) of compost.

Fragrant white flowers are borne on one-year-old wood from December to February. Warmth and

humidity encourage good flowering. Flowers are bisexual and self-pollinating, so don't require artificial pollination. Fruits take almost a year to develop fully. Thin fruits on younger plants.

Remove congested growth in early spring, and pinch out shoot growing tips in summer. If renovation is required prune back by two-thirds in early spring.

Flower fall before fruit set: dry roots or lack of humidity
Flower failure: poor light, poor nutrition, erratic watering or cold
Leaf yellowing: excessively wet or dry roots, draughts, cold or poor nutrition
Leaf fall: cold, draughts, high winter temperatures or over-watering

Read more on citrus problems

23 Jan, 2009

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