Question Growing Mandarins in the UK

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Rory Edwards, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. Rory Edwards

    Rory Edwards Member

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    Hi all,

    So in April i will be receiving a mandarin (approximately 1m tall in a 5L pot). I am planning on keeping it outside during the summer and then bringing it indoors to over winter, it is apparently frost hardy to -5C but don't fancy risking it, being England the weather isn't all that reliable.

    The plan is to grow the tree on in a pot for the foreseeable future while restricting height to approximately 2m so it can be 'easily' moved in and out, are there any tips or tricks that you can offer to growing a tree like this potted?

    Many thanks!

    Rory
     
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  2. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Rory, and welcome to the forum.
    My first thought would be don't overwater it; citrus don't like soggy soil, although I think mandarine is the most forgiving. Keep the soil fresh, repotting every year or two. And fertilise with a good organic fertilizer on a regular basis, although reduce the amount recommended as yours is in a pot.
     
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  3. Rory Edwards

    Rory Edwards Member

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    Hi Darren thanks for the quick response will give those tips a go. Cheers!
     
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  4. DarrenP

    DarrenP Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    No worries, Rory. I should have said to use a slow release fertiliser too.
     
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  5. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Rory & welcome.

    For indoors, a citrus needs good air flow, not heated air from a heating system.
    They prefer air temps around 24-28c, not much humidity but warm roots & not too moist.
    They also need lots of light year round. Afterall they are Mediterranean.
    So for the indoors portion of the year you will need to furnish your growing zone with a suitable UV grow light & run it at least 8hrs daily.
    That light will provide some heat as well.
    Ambient light from the sun at the low angle it will be in your winter, is not enough & will allow pests & diseases to proliferate.
    A small solar powered fan is a good method of creating air flow around the tree.
    The panel can sit indoors on the window sill to catch sun & good light for several hours daily.
    The fan can be placed under the tree blowing upwards on low.
    Potted citrus need a very loose open potting mix.
    I know it sounds wise to use organic fertilizer in pots.
    But potting mix is dead so organic composts & fertilizers can not be broken down properly by the necessary microbes into plant food in those conditions.
    Best to use a specialist citrus slow release fertilizer as Darren said in his follow up post & mix it well into the top 10cm of the potting mix.
    Don't leave it exposed to the air as it will be wasted. Elements such as nitrogen gas off if the little prills are exposed to air.
    The mix needs to be refreshed every 2yrs at least.
    Don't pot it into a massive pot to begin with as it will not survive. Citrus roots like a little confinement.
    A good money saver pot is a 20lt plastic bucket as it is the ideal shape.
    It comes with handle for easy manoeuvring. The 20lt bucket is narrow but tall so its the right shape for a citrus to start off in.
    It should last you the first 2yrs, then pot up to the next size a little wider & the same height.
    You can get creative & do artwork on the sides of the bucket or just paste wall paper around it to decorate.
    I have those little roller stands for pots that I use to sit my 20lt buckets on. They work very well.
    Once you get sick of carting your tree indoors, you might consider using frost blanket which comes in many weights right up to snow thickness.
    It is very good & can stay on the tree all winter.
    If taken right to the ground & pegged down will also provide some micro climate on cold days but does not allow air flow unless the sides are opened up daily.
    Google frost blanket.
     
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