Cindy the Citrus

Asked November 2, 2015, 4:37 PM EST

My plant is a dwarf Washington Navel Orange tree from Four Winds Growers. I recently purchased this tree from my college's greenhouse. My apartment temperature is anywhere between 65 and 80 degrees. There isn't a lot of light in the location it is at and I am working on getting a plant light for it so it can get the light it needs. I have noticed that a lot of leaves are starting to fall of the branches and there isn't any blossoms starting to show. What can I do to create the perfect environment for my tree without breaking the bank? Also why are the leaves falling.

Madison County Idaho

6 Responses

Cindy is used to being in a greenhouse with conditions mimicking the tropical conditions of her home environment, namely warmth, bright light and high humidity.
Normal room temperatures are fine for citrus plants, but you may want to increase the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer or tray of pebbles and water, and spritz the leaves with water a couple times a week.
You are right that the plant needs more light. It's adjustment to these new conditions are probably why you are seeing the leaf drop. Cindy needs at least 4 hours a day of direct sunlight, and if you don't have a window that provides that, you do need to get a grow light that mimics that.
Water well until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot, and then let the top inch of soil dry out (stick your finger in there) before watering again. It will tend to need less water in the winter rest period.- only enough to keep the soil mixture from completely drying out.
In spring when active growth begins again, fertilize with a tomato-type (high potash) fertilizer every two weeks. Flowers are usually in spring.
Keep close watch for spider mites (under leaves) and scale insects, or the sticky 'honeydew' they excrete, and take action early.
Here are pages about them: Scale insects: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/scale-insects-flowers
Spider mites:http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/spider-mites-houseplants
Good luck with her!

cm

Thank you for the help. I have ordered a plant light and a second container to increase humidity. One more thing. I am really worried about how many leaves are dropping. Will they regrow when the conditions are right?

IF you can get the conditions right, the leaves will regrow. It is difficult to grow citrus indoors, since it is so difficult to provide sufficient light. vw

We are unable to evaluate the suitability of the lighting mechanism shown in your photo. While it appears to be an LED device and also that it provides light from both the red and blue spectra, that is definitely beneficial to a green, growing plant. On the other hand, the duration of light is equally important as the intensity. If this is the current light system you are using in your home, we would certainly not tell you to abandon it. However, we are attaching a publication from one of our sister extension universities that may provide you with some additional, useful information.
http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G6515
LS