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Citrus help!

lloydshawlloydshaw Posts: 3
edited August 2019 in Problem solving
Hi everyone, I hope someone can help me before it’s too late! Above are some pictures of my citrus plants, the first one is a lemon tree I don’t know much about and the other is a calamondin. They’ve been happily living in the conservatory for a couple of years and were both growing well, particularly the calamondin which has been fruiting recently. The lemon tree hasn’t flowered yet. A few months ago they started looking a bit sick and the soil moisture was hard to regulate so I repotted them about 6 weeks ago thinking they had outgrown the pots. They’ve had fertiliser about once a week and they’ve had a couple of sequestered iron treatments. They’ve got to be too big to easily move outside now and the temp has been varying from 16.5C to 43.7C with the humidity ranging from 19% to 73% over this summer. I thought this might be under-feeding or iron/magnesium/manganese deficiency from a bit of googling but I’m not sure and would like to know I’m heading down the right treatment path. Any help would be greatly appreciated


  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,302
    Let's bump it up for any advice from citrus heads 🍋
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,577
    Citrus like bright, light conditions, but not too close to a window as the temperature swings are more extreme there. If you can’t move it outside for summer, try and at least keep the air flowing in your conservatory by ventilating as much as possible. If humidity is low, lightly mist the leaves with a spray bottle, avoiding times when it may have direct sun on the leaves. Keep the plants on the dry side during the dormant season over winter and do not feed during this time. They like a well-drained, slightly acidic soil to grow in - water well, allow the water to drain out the bottom of the pot (so no standing in water in a pot tray, get it up on pot feet) then allow the surface of the compost to dry out between waterings. Thats just a few general pointers that you may already have got covered, but if its in the wrong potting medium or allowed to stand in water it will slowly starve and kill off the plant.

    If none of the above applies, I suspect your main issue is likely overfeeding. What are you feeding it and are you feeding it all year ‘round? Once a week is a lot of feed and overfeeding one element can lock out the plant’s access to other essential elements - say, overfeeding a high potash feed to encourage fruiting and flowering can lock out out minerals like calcium and magnesium. Even with the correct feed, if you give too much thats almost worse than none at all.

  • Thanks for your help guys, I’ve been feeling a bit out of my depth with these plants. They seem to be very fussy and I just can’t seem to please them. I’m coming to think of them like toddlers! Originally I potted them on with some John Innes no 2 and vermiculite. That was a good while ago now and they hadn’t really been getting fed much at all back then but they were happily doing ok outside. When I bought them in for winter about 2 years ago they started to get a bit sick and I thought this was due to the central heating, which is why I moved them to my mum’s house in the conservatory as it’s much cooler in there. Until last week they’ve each been given 10 drops of citrus baby bio about once a week with about 2 litres of water, a little more water for the calamondin, but I thought this was too low as it should be 40 drops for 2 litres according to the label. I’ve not been feeding them over winter and barely watering them but I have recently bought some specific summer and winter feeds thinking this was underfeeding or maybe something to do with the hard water in our area so we’ve upped the feed to the right concentration for 2 litres a few weeks ago but no improvement yet. From what you’re saying it seems that maybe they’ve been over fed but I understood them to be hungry plants in the summer? What can I do to correct the issues caused by the feeding?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,101
    I’d say that it’s magnesium deficiency.

    Take a look at this and see how the photo compares to yours. Then read on to find out how to sort it out.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,630
    I agree, the top photo does look like it's deficient in magnesium. You should treat it using Epsom Salts. Both really could do with being outside at this time of year if possible so they get watered with rain water.

    There's not much branching going on with the top photo, and clearly needing a lot more sunlight. I would prune some of those branches back to rejuvenate the plant.

    Try to water them thoroughly and then leave alone until the soil is quite dry. 
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,231
    As it's been in the conservatory over summer the leaves could be scorched. My lime doesn't like either hot or cold ( below 10° or above 27°) and shows this  stress by turning leaves yellow and then dropping them. Lemons are a little different as they have a season, whereas limes grow all year round, so now is the down time for lemons winter feed is appropriate ( I use one teaspoon per two litre bottle used over a couple of days, but two weekly at least) Be prepared for it to loose alot of leaves, but with a little tlc it should come back next year. Just remember if it's hot mist the leaves it cools the surrounding air temperature. 
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,577
    I am not 100% sure it is magnesium deficiency, or at least not just that - the leaves on the second photo do look typical of magnesium deficiency with the regular pattern of  yellowing between the veins, so a dose of epsom salts may be just the thing, but some of the irregular, blotchy patches on the first photo look atypical...

    I used to have a four seasons lemon in a large pot that was very healthy and prolific, fruit-wise. It got a handful of slow-release granular feed once or twice a year plus it had a rusty iron reinforcing rod stuck in the pot for slow-release iron purposes. 

    I don't know the babybio stuff, hence if what you are doing is too much or too little, sorry, but do check its not too high in potassium compared to nitrogen. Your plant looks quite young, so I would forget trying to encourage fruit and concentrate on encouraging strong, leafy growth just now. I also wonder if the slowly, slowly weekly drop method is as good, and whether it just needs a single high-quality feed and a deep drink then left alone to recover in its own time...

    Citrus grown indoors are really tricky and they are prone to all sorts of problems and nutrient deficiencies so its not just you!
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,231
    This is what I feed mine on ( summer feed but they do a winter feed too) I dont think you should be giving it much at the moment as re potting will have given it enough for now. Wait until next year in spring to start adding feed, but no summer feed until you have flowers.

  • Brilliant, thanks guys. I’ll try giving them a dose of Epsom salts, how much do you give and how often? Also, how often do you feed your citrus in summer and winter? I’ve read somewhere that once a week is about right but I’m getting the impression that might be too much?
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,101
    If you read the link I provided you will see how to measure out Epsom salts.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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