Growing delicious citrus plants indoors is an excellent way to have fruit throughout the year and to add  beautiful decor to your home.  Many people think that citrus plants only thrive in the warm sunny climates of Florida and California, but with a few simple tips and tricks you can be growing your own lemons, limes, and other citrus plants indoors in no time.  

There are several critical factors to your success: sufficient light, adequate humidity levels, good soil nutrients, and predictable watering.

Sufficient light:

In order to be healthy, thriving, and product, citrus plants need an average of 8-12 hours of directly sunlight every day.  Generally speaking, these plants to well in south facing windows and areas of a home where they can access direct sunlight throughout the day.  If your indoor citrus plants do not get that much direct sunlight, you may need to supplement what they are getting with some fluorescent plant lights that will fill in that missing time.

Potted orange plant near a window in a home, healthy fruit close-up


Adequate humidity levels:

Humidity levels indoors are of a particular concern in the winter months.  Often the air is much drier in the heated rooms of our homes.  One sign that the humidity is too low for your citrus plants is the leaves will begin to fall off.  To combat that dry air simply use a spray bottle to add some moisture to the leaves and growth of your citrus plants – simple but effective!


Good soil nutrients:

For citrus plants and trees to be successfully cultivated indoors, it is not generally recommended that you simply use some existing soil from your yard to fill the container that you will be using for the citrus plants.  It is really critical that these plants receive a good amount of specific nutrition from the soil they are planted in so a light commercial potting soil will be the ideal choice.  Some fertilizer is also a good idea as an additive to your potting soil mix.

Predictable watering:

Citrus plants do very well when they have a predictable watering schedule, but maybe less than you think!  As a general rule of thumb, citrus plants will need about ½ gallons of water every approximately 7 days – the soil should be slightly moist, but definitely not soggy.   In between waterings these plants do not like to remain wet so make sure that your chosen containers have good drainage to avoid standing water around the roots.


In addition to the growing instructions above, there are several things that you should watch for, and correct, when growing citrus trees indoors.  First, if the leaves are starting to yellow your plants may be in need of some extra iron.  Second, as with all plants, watch for pests and treat quickly – aphids and spider mites are especially attracted to citrus plants.  Finally, check your soil Ph – citrus generally like a Ph between 5-8.