How to care for citrus in winter: the care of citrus fruits in pots or in the ground. How to protect citrus fruits from the cold and ensure abundant spring flowering.
During the winter it is necessary protect citrus plantsfrom night frosts, intense cold, strong wind, snow and hail… in short, it's a lot to do!
Today we will seehow to care for citrus plants in winterso as to protect them from cold, wind and frost. In fact, there are various methods forprotection of plants from the cold, when it comes to vegetables just set up a greenhouse-tunnel but in the case of large plants such as those ofcitrus fruitsyou have to play with your wits.
How to protect citrus fruits from the cold
Plants ofcitrus fruitsthey must never be exposed, without adequate protection, to an atmospheric temperature below 2-3 degrees. Those who live in northern Italy would do well to fully cover the plants and free them from protection only with the arrival of April, when the most vigorous branches will begin to bloom and when the danger of late frosts has now passed.
Who cultivatescitrus plants on the balconyor in any case in pot, it can lean the plants against a wall facing south or west, better if protected by a partially closed canopy. The ideal would be a greenhouse but we know that not everyone has the space and resources to invest in setting up a greenhouse large enough to accommodatecitrus plants.
On the balcony or in the garden, the citrus plants in pots, once placed against the wall, can be covered with a transparent plastic sheet to be fixed to the same wall. The plastic sheet will provide good protection for the plants not only from the cold but also from the wind.
Alternatively, to protect citrus fruits from the cold, it is possible to wrap the whole plant, including the vase, in large sheets of non-woven fabric.
When using plastic sheets to protect citrus fruits from frost, remember to air them at least once a week at the hottest hours of the day. Those who really have a green thumb and want to ensure a good flowering (with intense fruiting) can consult the weather forecast and match the "air hours of the plant "with the most favorable weather conditions.
Remember that, even in winter, the land of citrus fruitsit must not be completely dry but rather humid.
In case of citrus fruits in potsto be collected on the veranda or in a sheltered and dry place:
Before bringing the plant indoors, it is a good idea to clean it to eliminate any parasites and unwanted guests from pots and foliage. In view of the winter, it is recommended to prune the foliage in order to allow greater penetration of light. Autumn pruning is the right opportunity to thin out the foliage and cut off unnecessary branches.
How to care for citrus in winter
In the case of young citrus plants just planted, these must be protected individually, at least for the first two years from the first in the plan. As previously mentioned, protection from the cold is performed with plastic hairs. On the market there is no shortage of specially perforated breathable bags that wrap around the hair and trunk. Protections from the cold are put on and taken off according to the climatic trend. They are usually put on at the beginning of winter, and then gradually removed from the end of March.
Inwinterlot ofcitrus fruitsthey have fruits on the plants: citrus fruits, oranges, mandarins, cedars, grapefruits, clementines ... It is important to promptly harvest when the peel has reached the optimal color.
Smokiness could damage the crop (if you notice a dark patina on the leaves and fruits, it is a fungal disease called smokiness), in this case, copper-based treatments are recommended but we'll talk about it in the last paragraph.
When winter has heavy rain and hail, a disease called "brown rot" or allupa can occur. This citrus disease affects the fruit on the plant with the rotting of lemons and oranges becoming covered with a whitish matter. This infection spreads with the splashes of rain on the ground affecting the lower fruits. In this context it is important (with the next pruning) to cut all branches that are too low or creeping. Remember to always prune your citrus fruits and do not neglect the plants.
Winter fertilization of citrus fruits
Between the end of February (in southern Italy) and mid-March (in the northern part of Italy) you can continue with the first fertilization of the year. Fertilize with ground lupine which provides good doses of nitrogen. Just put 6 - 7 handfuls of ground lupine for each young sapling and switch to ten handfuls for the larger trees. Lupine macinao is an excellent organic fertilizer useful for numerous plants: azalea, hydrangea, camellia, lemon, mandarin, orange, grapefruit, other citrus fruits, geranium, rhododendron ... It should be buried superficially or, in case ofcitrus fruits in pots, should be placed towards the edges of the container.
Ground lupine can be purchased at all Garden Centers and specialized retailers, you can ask your trusted nursery while if you don't have one you can take advantage of the online purchase. On the web there are many ecommerce that offer bags of ground lupins. The price of ground lupine varies according to the producer, the origin (ground lupins derived from organic or non-organic farming) and the quantity. Among the various proposals present online we point out those with the best value for money:
1) 20 kg bag of ground lupins, price 39 euros with free shipping.
2) Pack of 3 kg of ground lupins, price € 16.90 with free shipping.
Ground lupine will help citrus fruits to stimulate flowering and fruit production so it is important not to delay with this first fertilization: do it at the end of winter.
Citrus plant care in winter
Whether your lemon, orange or any other plant citrussuddenly it loses all its leaves, you have to review the environmental conditions. Thecitrus plantsthey are sensitive to cold and a thermal shock can cause rapid leaf loss. If, within a few days, you find yourself a citrus plant without leaves, run for cover and add a protective sheet.
In case of falling yellow leaves, several diseases are possible. In this case, I invite you to read the dedicated article"Citrus with yellow leaves".
Apart from yellow leaves and avoiding the thermal shocks that cause the leaves to fall from citrus plants, in winter it is rather quiet for these plants. The typical diseases of citrus fruits such as cochineal, aphids, fumaggine, defoliation ... have been treated in different locations. In case of diseases or parasites, consult the page dedicated to citrus diseases.