Lemon (and Orange) Love: Citrus Trees for Your Landscape

Donna Fossum

Believe it or not, you can successfully grow citrus trees in San Antonio — and they’ll even produce fruit. It just depends on what you plant and where.

Many people wonder whether they can plant citrus trees in central Texas and if they’ll even be productive. I speak from experience when I say yes!

In fact, Meyer lemon is the citrus tree I’ve had good success with. It’s hardy and a splendid producer. Just ask my coworkers who enjoy the fruits of my labor (no pun intended!) when I bring it in to the office around Thanksgiving each year.

Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange so they’re quite a bit bigger than a regular lemon. The juice is very sweet and makes excellent lemonade and pies. I’ve even made Meyer lemon jelly with the juice. Who needs butter when you have homemade Meyer lemon jelly?!

Morning sun and afternoon shade is best for growing Meyer lemon trees in our blazing hot summers. Make sure the soil is evenly watered and allow the soil to dry out before watering the plant again. A little high-nitrogen fertilizer between April and September should keep the plant healthy and happy.

Other types of citrus that are excellent for our area are ‘Orange Frost’ and ‘Arctic Frost’ (tangerine hybrids). The most cold-hardy ‘Arctic Frost’ survived 9 degrees F and the most cold-hardy ‘Orange Frost’ survived 12 degrees F. If you live in an area that’s prone to freezing, it’s best to grow these citrus trees in containers so you can move them to a protected area during periods of extreme cold. The taste of these is sweet/tart with a true citrus flavor. The peel is easily removed with a low seed count. Sure to please those of us who love citrus!

Depending what part of central Texas you’re in, they may need to be protected during hard freezes.

 

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