A couple of Citrus trees on your patio will quickly create an oasis making you feel like you're in the South of Spain, and you can bring them indoors as soon as the first frost arrives.
Beautiful colours, sweet smells and – if you’re lucky – a modest fruit harvest mean a Citrus tree already has plenty of appeal. But this Mediterranean beauty always remains green so you can enjoy it all year round. Tangerine, lemon, lime, orange, kumquat and grapefruit trees may all look slightly different, but they all have a study trunk with a green crown. Another similarity is that they produce fabulous blossoms, they all like a warm and sunny position, and they lend an exotic note to your patio or balcony. They’re classic container plants that need a lot of light during both summer and winter. They come in sizes ranging from 50 and 250 cm.
It started with lemons
Citrus trees are part of the plant genus Citrus. They have been cultivated for more than 4000 years, making them one of the oldest cultivated crops, and have produced thousands of cultivars. Originating from South-East Asia, the lemon was the first to emigrate to Europe, followed in the 16th century by the orange. The tangerine arrived in 1805. They were highly popular orangery plants amongst royalty and the nobility – the cultivated versions now available to the general public are a relatively new innovation. Citrus is currently very hot because of the ‘pick your own’ plant trend. The flavour of the fruit might be questionable (apart from kumquats), but the trees are equally cheerful and decorative if you just leave the fruit in place, so add some zest to your garden (and life) this year!
- The name Citrus is derived from the Latin word Citron and is related to the Greek word 'kédros' which means 'tree with fragrant wood'.
- All citrus fruit have evolved from four original forms: lemon, pomelo, tangerine and papeda (a bitter lemon).
- Oranges don’t continue to ripen once they’ve been picked but lemons do.