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The pros and cons of putting citrus plants out for summer

purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,083
Last year my lime tree was outside from May till September.  It did really well with a bumper crop and looked really healthy when it came back in.
As usual it doesn't like the temperature changes of winter ( it's in the conservatory which on very cold nights can get as low as 5°C when its below 0 outside) and lost some of the older leaves, but last month it started looking odd with curled leaves, that's when I found caterpillars. Little green ones 1-2cm long in these and in web nests on branches. Having painstakingly removed all found over the last three weeks, I am down to finding one today. Because of this half the new growth is chewed all the new flowers have been killed, so no early limes for me ( usually after Christmas the next would be ready in March)
I am seriously considering is it worth putting it out again this year if this is the sorry state it ends up in.😕🤔

Posts

  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 799
    Hello @purplerallim,

    Last year I also had caterpillars in webs on a Tahiti Lime we were over-wintering in a conservatory.
    It turned out to be these fellas ...
    http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/fruit/moths/light_brown_apple_moth.htm

    Fortunately, I spotted them pretty early on and was able to clean them off before losing too many leaves.
    This year I'm keeping a close eye on things .... I mist the plant 3-4 times a week and check there's nothing lurking.

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,939
    Now you know about the problem you just need to check sooner and regularly for problems and pests.  I expect if you give yours a good feed of citrus fertiliser it may well produce some new flowers.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,083
    Oh its putting out new growth all right, and buds are appearing,  but this is the first year it went out for summer ( it is four years old) and it has put me off doing so again. Would these moths have waited four months before hatching, is that normal? 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 26,939
    My 3 citrus plants all go out for the summer and then a polytunnel for winter.  No moth or caterpillar problems so far and they clearly respond well to the direct sunshine and warmth, even if they do need more water.

    We've had the Meyer lemon and limquat for nearly 3 years and have had good crops.  They are both laden with fruit at the mo and will be flowering soon.   The yuzu was just a teeny baby when I bought it mail order 3 years ago but I'm hoping it's now big enough to think about flowering this year.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,083
    edited February 2020
    Yep that's them @Bee witched explains why I found one moth a couple of weeks ago,  killed immediately. I do have an apple tree in my garden, and am in an area surrounded  by old apple trees, so obviously the area has them.

    Ps. I only mist in hot weather, why do you mist now, is it just water?
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 799
    Hi,

    Yes ... just water. I read that it helps pollinate the flowers, and also creates humid conditions which red spider mites don't like. I also have the plant on a tray of pebbles which I keep topped up with water.

    Our conservatory has underfloor heating which is set to 12C ... so my lime does really well in there. It tends to do less well when it goes outdoors ... summer in Scotland can be a bit hit and miss  

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,083
    My lime has rarely had problems,  mist during hot weather never had red spider mite. Only had temperature caused episodes of leaf drop. The limes are wonderful,  much better than shop bought and year round supply,  wouldn't be without it, even now.🙂
  • Bee witchedBee witched Scottish BordersPosts: 799
    Yes, the limes are fab. ... great excuse for a G&T  lol

    I don't get red spider mite either I'm just being cautious as it can get quite warm in the conservatory even with just the winter sun.

    I gave mine a bit of a prune a couple of weeks ago and did some cuttings. Managed to get a new little plant from a cutting last year ... can't have too many plants!

    Bee x
    Bees must gather nectar from two million flowers to make one pound of honey   
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 4,083
    That's why we mist @philippa smith2 At least it keeps them away from the bugs. Mine hasn't looked so poor since it had to go into the greenhouse one summer ( with a watering system) and lost most of its leaves in a two week period!
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