Citrus fruit like lemons and limes are packed with vitamin C and are believed to provide health benefits that include lowering your chances of heart disease to stroke, cancer, anemia and high blood pressure. Although sour, once digested lemons are less acidic than oranges.
The windy south provides some challenges to grow a healthy lemon tree but with a bit of love and attention you could have bags of citrus most of the year and like anything you grow yourself , they are so much better for you than the supermarket variety.
Choose your lemon tree well. Check for damage and sickness. Also check for shape, although a offsided citrus tree will grow back to shape with time its better to start off with a balanced tree. If they are in flower all the better. If you are struggling to decide on what type to get let us know and we can order any size for you.
Dig a hole at least twice the size of the bag the lemon tree comes in. Set the soil to the side. Fork about a half bag of well rotted compost into the bottom of the hole.
Mix equal parts compost to the soil removed from the hole. The size of your lemon tree will determine the amount of compost you need. Fill the hole with the mixture until the root ball removed from the pot or bag is touching the bottom of the hole. It is very important to plant citrus to the level they are in in the bag or pot. If you pack soil higher and over the bark your tree will go yellow, lose it’s leaves and not make it!
Fill the hole at this point with water. To the top! Then once the water has drained away start filling the sides of the hole with the mixture mixed earlier, wetting as you go.
Once finished and the soil is not muddy,make sure the soil level is not over the bark. Step down the soil with your foot and water well. Stake for the first few years.
A lot of insects love to eat citrus so keep your eye on the leaves for signs of this. If you notice something going wrong pop by the nursery or give us a call and we can advise.
Plant your citrus in a sunny warm corner. They can take the wind but are tropical plants and like to be protected.
Feed every six weeks with an organic fertilizer, there are lots on the market that work well. The soil in the south is notoriously sandy, citrus responds well to being fed.
Citrus likes it’s roots to be moist but not soaked. They also don’t like their roots to dry out. Both conditions will result in the trees losing their leaves.
Now that life has given you a lemon tree, enjoy the lemonade.
Eugene Bosini is the owner of GreenBos Indigenous Nursery and Landscaping.
From Lemons Trees to Vynbos and everything in between, contact GreenBos for some friendly advice and excellent work.