Potted indoor citrus trees in a white Scandinavian style room, plus how to care for indoor citrus trees on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Martha Stewart)

While 2017 was the year of the olive tree, I’ve turned my attention to indoor citrus trees for 2018. I’ve always lived around citrus trees — my mom bought four when I was little and put them in our kitchen garden. They would live inside during the winter, and the smell of the blooms in early spring and watching the fruit grow is a tiny and glorious joy. The flowers’ fragrance fills the house just at the time of winter I’m hoping for a sure sign of the weather turning around, and brings a sunny, zesty scent of the summer to come. I absolutely love to care for these low-maintenance trees, and these interiors certainly show off their style! Find more inspiration and how to care for indoor citrus trees below.



Chaise with potted citrus tree, how to care for indoor citrus trees on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Skona Hem)

  • Choose a dwarf variety which prevents the tree from growing too large.
  • Provide 8-12 hours of sunlight daily such as a south-facing window with good airflow. Avoid spots near exterior doors, radiators, fireplaces, and ovens. Keep room temperature about 65ºF in winter.
  • Pot up in a container with several drainage holes on the bottom and add a dish of pebbles underneath to help with air circulation. Mix 3 parts regular potting soil with 1 part small-gauge redwood or cedar shavings. Add a dose of slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer, following directions on the package.
  • Citrus prefer infrequent, deep watering to frequent, shallow sprinklings. Water about 1/2 gallon weekly, when the top 3 inches of soil feel dry (Unsure? Buy a moisture meter). If you live in a dry climate or have dry heat, mist leaves every few days. Fertilize with a high-nitrogen, low-phosphorus food (20-10-10) or a citrus fertilizer to keep it well-fed.
  • Prune at least three times a year (April, June, and September) to increase the number of branches, thereby boosting fruit production and giving the tree good shape. Come spring, the tree can spend more time outdoors. When all threat of frost has passed, slowly acclimate your citrus tree to its new outdoor home by first placing in a part-shade location. After a few weeks, move to a protected location in full sun with good airflow.
  • In general, most lemons and limes will ripen in six to nine months, and oranges will be ready to harvest in about a year. Citrus fruits ripen only on the tree, and when ready, many varieties may be harvested over a period of weeks or even months. Once the fruit has reached its full color, test for ripeness by applying a bit of pressure to the rind. A slight softening indicates your citrus is ready to pick. Next step: get cooking!

Mini potted citrus tree with entertaining essentials for elegant party set-up on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Gardenista)

How to care for indoor citrus trees, potted citrus trees in loft kitchen on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Design*Sponge)

Modern apartment in Madrid with large indoor citrus tree and Barcelona rocking chair, how to care for indoor citrus trees on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Mi Casa Revista)

How to care for indoor citrus trees on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via The Herald Dispatch)

Huge potted citrus trees framing French doors on Thou Swell @thouswellblog(via Domino)

Have you ever tried to grow citrus trees in your home?


Leave a Comment


  1. Libbi Vynalek wrote:

    I absolutely love the idea of a citrus tree, but worry that it would die in the winter due to lack of sun. I live in Ohio and we barely get 8 hours of daylight on a good day between November and March, not to mention the bouts of days/weeks of gray skies. Also, my house has no south-facing windows and we have a pretty shaded property. I’ve already killed my fair share of houseplants, so for now I’ll be coming back to this post often to daydream!

    Posted 1.31.18 Reply
    • It’s definitely tricky when the weather gets so overcast in the winter – but I’m so glad you’re inspired by these pretty trees!

      Posted 2.4.18 Reply