Oranges, kumquats, Meyer lemons; they seem such a strange combination of common fruit and tropical treat. Especially around Ottawa where we need them shipped in from more temperate climes, few people realize just how common they can be when you keep a fruit-bearing citrus fruit tree as a house plant!

Native to India, most citrus need a lot of direct sunlight and a good thorough soak after being allowed to dry out. We recommend a south or west facing window that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight. A plant can survive with less light, but it’s less likely to produce flowers and fruit. And boy, do you want it to flower! Orange blossom is one of the most heavenly scents in the world! Like jasmine and gardenia had a baby; makes me sigh every time.

Even when not in bloom, citrus are a nice, easy care house plant with dark, shiny leaves. As a woody plant, with age it grows a nice, shapely trunk that can be pruned to maintain an upright shape or allowed to wander for a little more character. All modern citrus fruits can be traced back to three main cultivars: mandarin orange, pummelo, and citron. We carry some variety of lemon or lime almost year-round, but particularly during the summer. Some are more ornamental like the Calamondin orange (edible, but pretty bitter) while others are delicious like the key lime (pie! Mojito!) or Meyer lemon (pie! Lemonade!).

Even without fruit, these are attractive little plants!

Plants tend to hold onto their fruit for a long time without dropping them; it can be hard to know when they are ripe to pick. Generally you want them to be softer than you would find at the grocery store, but only just. It can also take a long time for the lemons and oranges to fully develop their colour from green, so you’ll need some patience. But that patience will be rewarded with delicious, delicious fruit!

Whether just green, in bloom, or bearing fruit, a citrus tree is what any home needs to bring the tropics indoors and the fruit to the table! Come see what we have for you today!

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