I’m the proud and paranoid caretaker of two Bearrs lime trees and one Meyer lemon tree. They actually look more like shrubs than trees. I grow them in large ceramic containers indoors at the moment, just inside my French doors where they catch as much sunlight as possible.
I bought my citrus trees years ago after reading romantic books like “Under the Tuscan Sun” and seeing movies with dreamy orangeries.
I lived with the little citrus trees for a couple of years, then wrote about growing containerized citrus a couple of years ago for Grow, the gardening section in The Denver Post.When I wrote piece titled “Pucker up and enjoy citrus delights.”
I was all sunny about my citrus trees.
I had not battled yet battled scales. My citrus plants have had a long bout with this bad bugs. Plants, generally speaking, do not fall victim to pest invasion unless the plants are stressed. In my case, I made the mistake of moving the potted citrus too far from sunlight. The limes and lemons got displaced by my Christmas tree. Don’t ask me how they got in, but the nasty scales started showing up on yellowing leaves. Ugh.
I’m still nursing my citrus plants because when they’re healthy, they have gorgeous glossy green leaves. They blossom and bear fruit at the same time. And the flowers? They’re magnificently fragrant–almost like gardenias.
Even before the last frost date, I hauled the three large containers to my front porch. I heard through the grapevine that citrus scales hate cold. After frost danger passed, I moved the citrus trees to my secret garden’s hot sunny patio. The spring’s driven rains seem to have helped wash out the nasty scales.
Now the citrus bask in the sun. They’re budding. And seemingly sighing, having survived another long Denver winter. They are not really at home here, so citrus trees need tender loving care.
If you care to take a tree on, you’ll find them more readily available now. Citrus trees seem to be going mainstream. Over the weekend, I saw citrus on sale at Safeway. Take a citrus tree under your wing, and it’ll reward you for your efforts.
But if you’re planning to bring the citrus tree inside, you need the sunniest of windows. Or, if you’re lucky, a greenhouse.
••• “Cultivate your corner of the world. You grow your garden; your garden grows you.” •••
Colleen Smith’s debut novel Glass Halo, set in Denver, was a finalist for the Santa Fe Literary Prize and is available online and through your favorite bookstore as a limited-edition hardcover or e-book. Her new book Laid-Back Skier will be release in 2011.
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