Growing Citrus

Having a lemon tree in the backyard was once the great Australian dream. Now it’s a citrus orchard with limes, blood oranges and mandarins rivalling the humble lemon for space and pride of place.

Grown in pots or in the ground, citrus fruitsare evergreen trees that need year-round care.

Luckily, citrus are dead-easy to grow and produce an abundant harvest in only a couple of years from planting. To reap the rewards year after year, follow this simple citrus regime.

  • Watering
  • Fertilising
  • Pest and disease prevention
  • Pruning.

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Growing and maintaining your citrus


Whether you’re growing a lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, grapefruit or tangelo, caring for your citrus tree has never been easier. Follow these four simple tips to keep your trees healthy and happy.



Water trees deeply twice a week during establishment.

The frequency of watering can be cut back when trees are established, so you're only watering during dry periods and when fruits are developing.

It’s important to maintain soil moisture from fruit set to harvest to prevent trees becoming stressed, which could result in a significant part of the crop dropping before it's ripe.



Fertilise at the start of every season. Apply a generous amount of organic fertiliser such as S, blood and bone or composted manure to the soil around your tree.

Here’s how:

  1. Clear any mulch from the area immediately beneath the tree canopy
  2. Apply the fertiliser or manure over the soil surface, in a band around the dripline (immediately below the external perimeter of the foliage)
  3. Water well
  4. Replenish the mulch

TIP: Alternate between different organic fertilisers each time you apply them, to provide a range of nutrients throughout the year. For example Scotts Pure Organic in Spring, and blood and bone in Autumn.

NOTE: The application of controlled release fertilisers in addition to the organics will help to ensure a range of nutrients is available to your citrus when needed most.

Pests and diseases


Problems with pests and diseases can be largely avoided by ensuring your trees are healthy.

To give your trees the best possible start:

  • Prepare the soil prior to planting by enriching with compost
  • Dig a hole at least twice as large as the pot your citrus comes in so roots are not damaged
  • Plant in full sun - at least 5-6 hours of sunlight per day
  • Apply Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food throughout the year

Of course, no matter what you do, pests and diseases can attack your citrus. Look out for:

  • Scale, leaf miners and aphids. These are common citrus pests, but rarely cause major damage. Treat with an environment friendly oil spray
  • Stink bugs can cause damage to your tree and harvest. Remove by hand immediately (make sure you are wearing gloves and eye protection)
  • Yellow leaves are a common complaint with citrus trees but if you have prepared the soil well and replenish it each season, your citrus will survive. Look for fertilisers with boosted magnesium and iron to assist in the prevention of yellowing



When it comes to pruning, citrus are quite different to the majority of fruit trees because they are evergreen. Forget all those fancy pruning techniques and simply:

  • Remove old or dead wood
  • Remove any unwanted growth or branches touching the soil
  • Reduce overall height and maintain a neat shape (if you want).

That’s all there is to it - caring for your citrus couldn’t be easier!

Tips, tricks & advice

Choosing the right fruit for your climate

Grow healthy productive fruit trees suited to your climate by looking at:

Read more

Healthy Soil = Healthy Plants

When it comes to home-grown crops, it all starts from the ground up, including:

Read more

Other products you might need

Scotts Everydrop Premium Granular Soil Wetter


Scotts Everydrop granules are designed to maximise every drop of water, consistently and evenly. Safe to use in every garden situation - on pots, lawns and garden beds.

Defender™ Pyrethrum Insect Spray


Insect pests can cause havoc in the garden, effectively destroying flowering and cropping plants if they're not controlled. Pyrethrum is perfect for use on vegetables and all edibles

Scotts Pure Organic Fruit & Citrus Premium Plant Food


A 100% organic, granular plant food that makes it easier than ever to grow large, healthy fruit and citrus. Your plants get just the right amount of nutrients and can flourish naturally.

Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food


A nutrient-rich, pure organic smart liquid that gently releases fertiliser over 4-6 weeks. Your garden will flourish with this premium seaweed product that comes in a handy Hose-on as well as a Concentrate

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Organics Liquid Fertiliser & Soil Improver


An easy to use all purpose fertiliser that combines the long term feeding benefits of Scotts Osmocote® and organics with the simplicity of a liquid fertiliser

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Organics Fruit & Citrus Plant Food & Soil Improver


A plant food and soil improver specificaly designed for fruit and citrus which combines the best of both worlds - traditional Scotts Osmocote® and organics to nurture plants and the soil