Opt for a gritty soil. Set your citrus tree up for success by choosing a gritty soil composed of two parts sand and one part potting mix, Giannelli recommends. “This allows water to drain and stay a bit moist, so as not to have wet roots,” he says.
Fertilize twice a year. Giannelli recommends using Citrus-tone fertilizer two times a year, once in the spring and once in the summer. During the fall and winter, when the plant is about to flower, fertilizer isn’t necessary, he adds.
Provide bright light. All citrus plants need bright light to thrive, and prefer south-facing windows with good airflow—but out of direct heat or drafts. “Kitchens and sunrooms are usually good candidates for placement,” Moore says. Giannelli adds that for plants to be the most fruitful, they need four to six hours of direct sun.
Avoid over-watering. Experts advise using the “two-knuckle-deep” rule to determine if your plant needs water, meaning, when you insert your finger into this depth in the soil, if it’s still moist, there’s no need to add water. If it feels dry to the touch, however, it’s time to get out the watering can. “An overabundance of water will cause root rot,” Giannelli warns, so you want to be vigilant. Indicators of this condition include yellowing leaves, and signs that the plant is starting to die from the top down. Moore recommends adding gravel or moss to the top of your plant, as it will help avoid rapid evaporation in addition to imparting a nice decorative element to the pot.
Invest in a mister. It’s important to mist the leaves every day or so to keep them hydrated and healthy, Giannelli says. He prefers the nickel Haws fine mister made in England for both its beauty and usefulness.
Pay attention to outdoor temperatures. If you live in a climate that supports outdoor citrus (check with your local garden store if you’re unsure), Giannelli suggests you only move your plant outside once the overnight temperatures are certain to stay above 45° Fahrenheit to avoid leaf drop and yellowing.