What Mix/Pot/etc for container citrus?

JoppaRich(7b)March 8, 2012

I just received a Meyer Lemon and a Nagami Kumquat from ebay, and I'm not sure what to pot these things up in.

They're small trees, the Kumquat's rootstock is probably as big around as a pencil, and the scion probably has 25 leaves at this point. The lemon is a little bit smaller.Their roots are wrapped in a plastic bag, and it feels like there is some peat in there, or maybe soil.

How big of pots should these things go in? I've got some gutter-trough based SIPs set up (with 3 or 5g buckets). I've also got some 14" terracotta pots open, as well as some decent sized nursery pots.

I've got plenty of 5-1-1 on hand, and could probably find the stuff for the Gritty Mix. I assume the SIPs should be filled with 3-2-1?

So, I guess the questions are: What size pot, SIP or not, and what mix?

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Odd that no one answered your question?

The 5-1-1 would work good for citrus, I see citrus and palms come in a medium just like the 5-1-1 all the time.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 4:15PM
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Into 5-1-1 they go.

Any suggestions on pot size? They're "pencil" thick, and clearly were in some sort of small tube before (roots are about an inch across, and 6" or so deep)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:16AM
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I am not experienced with citrus, but I would really like to get into growing them in containers some day.

Maybe a 5 gal for now?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:33AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Joppa - growth rate is significantly affected by the degree of root compaction. The less compacted, the greater the growth rate, all else being equal. There is no notable difference in growth rate between plants in small containers vs plants in large containers until the plants in small containers develop congested roots. The turning point is about when the root/soil mass can be lifted from your containers intact. IOW, if you pot into a 1 gallon container now, and pot up before the root mass can be lifted from the container with soil intact, you're golden. Starting small helps you avoid over-watering due to over=potting. While the 5:1:1 and the gritty mix are very forgiving in terms of reducing the likelihood of over-watering, with the 5:1:1 mix you still have to be in the ball park, and there is no sense in tempting fate.

The gritty mix would be best for your plant, but the 5:1:1 mix will also work very well.

Best luck!!


    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:06AM
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I just found some kitty litter that looks strikingly like turface, and isn't falling apart when wet, so I'm gonna mix up some gritty mix with it.

Any ballpark estimate on how long I'm looking at for a repotting if I use 1g pots for these trees? Trunks are pencil width, and roots were grown in citrus tubes I'm told. If I had to guess, citrus tubes are a lot like 1"-1.25" pvc.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:53PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Do you mean "How long before I should repot?" or "How long will the repotting session take?"


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 3:33PM
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Hi Al,

"How long until I need to repot."

I'd like to be able to get to atleast next spring. If that isn't realistic, I'll need to find a bigger pot I guess.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 4:06PM
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I found a pair of #3 nursery pots in the shed, so I'll just pot into those. I think they should hold for a while

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

A good strategy for you would be to put your plants in a small pot (1 gal) and toward the end of this coming summer, pot up into a 3 gallon. You could then skip repotting next spring & repot in spring of '14.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 6:48PM
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