Are you ready to grow a citrus tree?
Before anyone purchases a citrus tree for their home landscape, they need to determine if they are ready to commit the time and effort to keep the tree healthy enough to grow edible fruit. Citrus trees usually do not produce quality fruit until three or four years after planting of a 1-year-old tree.
The main challenge for anyone growing citrus in Florida is the plant disease known as Huanglongbing, or more informally, citrus greening. It is an incurable disease that requires many costly inputs, time, and frequent attention to detail to maintain tree health, otherwise the tree will decline, produce off-flavor fruit, and become unsightly. This means that if you are a part-time resident of Florida, the challenge is even greater because the tree may be untended for part of the year. The unfortunate reality is that even with dedicated effort and attention, some trees will still be affected early by the disease and never produce edible fruit.
Regardless of the effort, citrus trees are unlikely to live for many decades as they historically did. We do not want to discourage the planting of home citrus trees but want interested residents to be aware of the challenges as well as the tools we are developing to help keep citrus a traditional part of the Florida home landscape. If you accept the challenge of citrus in the home landscape, we wish you success and that you find our education resources and tools helpful. Please let us know your thoughts and experiences.