Thumbnail Mandarin Citrus

The sub-tropics is the climate sweet spot for most citrus, however there's a citrus tree to suit almost every climate zone around Australia, so you too can be picking your very own fresh and juicy citrus fruit from your backyard, courtyard or balcony. Here's our handy guide to help you choose what citrus to grow at your place.

 

Temperate Zones 

Spring Citrus
Citrus leaf miner

Citrus Leaf Miner Damage

Areas that receive no or only very light frosts and have warm to hot summers can grow a wide range of citrus. Juicy Valencia and sweet Washington Navel are two popular oranges for temperate areas, providing you with delicious oranges over many months.

Most mandarins, including Imperial and puffy-skinned Emperors, are suited to growing in mild areas. In cool temperate areas, satsuma mandarins (Citrus unshiu), such as Engall's Seedless, are the best choice. For lemon lovers, look for acidic Eureka lemons or the sweeter 'Lemonade' lemon. Both yellow and red fleshed varieties of grapefruit will also do well. A lime that will do well in temperate zones is a 'limequat', a tangy lime cumquat hybrid with fruit that can be eaten whole, as the rind is relatively sweet.

By creating or utilising 'microclimates' (spots that are protected from weather extremes) within your temperate garden, you can further extend the types of citrus you can grow. Look for areas that are protected from winds or frosts (including next to buildings), or create a sheltered area with attractive screening panels. In arid areas, ensure you mulch around the root zone of citrus to reduce moisture loss from the soil and a create a windbreak to shelter trees from hot and drying winds.

To give citrus trees a great start, mix Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser into soil in the planting hole when planting a new citrus tree, and then water it in well. Regular watering of citrus trees is important as they have a shallow root system and can dry out quickly.

Citrus trees are hungry all the time, particularly in spring when they're flowering and producing fresh new foliage. Feed them every 1-2 weeks with Yates Thrive Citrus & Fruit Liquid Plant Food to promote healthy leaf growth and a great harvest.

Citrus protection tip: Protect new citrus foliage from citrus leaf miner damage by spraying trees every 5-14 days with Yates Nature's Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray.

 


Sub-tropical  zones

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Lucky sub-tropical gardeners have the pick of most types of citrus, so all the temperate and cool zone suited citrus can be grown in the sub-tropics. Additional choices include limes, such as flavour packed finger limes, which are native to rainforest areas in northern NSW and southern QLD, and do well in full or part sun. Kaffir limes, grown primarily for their lush green aromatic leaves and tantalising Tahitian limes also thrive in the sub-tropics.


Tropical zones

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

West Indian limes, also known as Key Limes, have small fragrant fruit with a strong acidic flavour. Native to south east Asia, they're great for tropical climates and produce fruit from autumn to spring.

Another tropical citrus option is pomelo (also called pummelo). Related to grapefruit, there are several varieties of pomelo available, including Nam Roi, which produces very large sweet seedless fruit with a thick rind. Dwarf grafted Nam Roi is available, growing to a manageable 1-2 m tall.


Cool zones

Lemons

Although citrus prefer warm climates, Meyer and Lisbon lemons are the pick for cool zones. Meyer lemons produce golden yellow, slightly rounded and juicy fruit that's less acidic than many other lemons. Lisbon lemons are large and reasonably cold hardy trees that produce heavy crops of thin skinned, highly acidic fruit in winter and spring.

Protect trees from frost, particularly while they're young. In very cold areas, position lemons next to a protected north facing wall or grow dwarf varieties in pots, which can be moved under cover (or even indoors in a brightly lit room) during winter.


Small space citrus

Potted Citrus Tree

If you're short on space, look for dwarf grafted varieties of citrus. They produce standard sized fruit on compact plants. They're perfect for smaller gardens and also growing in pots. A 40 cm diameter Yates Tuscan pot makes an ideal home for a dwarf citrus tree. Oranges, lemons and limes can also be espaliered, which is where the stems are trained to grow flat against a wall, along wire or timber supports. It's a great way to save space and cover a bare wall with lush green foliage, spring blossoms and colourful fruit.

Citrus Growing Guides

Oranges

Quintessential to a well balanced breakfast, the humble orange juice is a staple to many Australian breakfast tables.

Limes

Grow a taste of the tropics at your place with zesty Tahitian limes. From freshly squeezed juice in a refreshing drink to marmalade, cakes, desserts and marinades, limes can be used in multiple ways in the kitchen.

Lemons

A luscious lemon tree can be an awesome addition to your garden! Here is our complete growing guide for lemons

Kaffir Lime

Kaffir lime trees are loved for their aromatic leaves, which are fantastic for that authentic Asian flavour to curries, soups & stir fries.