Friday, April 06, 2012

Orangerie, Year Two

Dwarf Meyer lemon
My little dwarf Meyer lemon and tangerine are now a year old. They have successfully survived living outdoors for a Midwestern summer (humid! hot! forgetful gardener!) and a winter indoors (brr! she keeps the heat low! it's dry! no supplemental lighting! why do these cats keep trying to eat us?). The lemon tree flowered in mid-winter and filled our front room with a beautiful fragrance for days. We even have two tiny baby lemons growing.

I originally purchased the lemon and tangerine as edible houseplants. I wanted a little bit of plant life in our front room but wasn't really interested in a typical houseplant. After a year of living with them, I've gotten very fond of these citrus plants. I think I would grow them even if they didn't produce food. The glossy leaves are really beautiful and the blossoms were spectacular.

Dwarf citura tangerine
The tangerine has not yet flowered. I'm not sure if that is because its a bit smaller than the lemon or if they mature at different rates? Regardless, it seems to be flourishing. I even got brave enough to prune it up a bit so it looked more tree-like and less shrubby.

I was worried about whether or not the plants would survive through the winter indoors. They were both placed in front of the south facing windows of our front room, which get beautiful, bright light during the daytime. I misted them daily (or as close to as I remembered) as citrus likes a more humid environment than my house is in winter. I just recently started adding some organic fertilizer to the plants. I'm using Espoma Citrus Tone simply because it's the organic citurs fertilizer I can find around here

I added a third citrus this year, a key lime. Ouch! Apparently key limes have thorns. Here it is in the package and after being potted and pruned a bit. I'd love to add a few more similar plants...I understand dwarf pomegranates can be grown and fruited indoors as well as some other tropical edibles. We have three sets of large south facing windows (our front room, family room, and the master bedroom) so we definitely have the space and the light. At this point the limiting factor is finding ways to keep the plants close enough to the windows to get the light while keeping the cats out of them. Apparently kitties find citrus to be quite edible, and they don't bother to wait for fruit!


Yarrow said...

Wonderful to see this! I've been wanting to grow citrus and tea indoors for a couple of years now but haven't gotten to it. Likewise with figs. Thank you for the inspiration. :)

Tony said...

I came across your blog a few days ago and thought it was very interesting. I have been doing many of the same types of things at home. What's been going on the last year?