grapefruit-tree question

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Tue Jul 22 09:00:19 EST 1997

At 5:31 PM -0400 7/21/97, Joel Vanden Berg wrote:
> 	I started a grapefruit tree from a seed two years ago.  It stands about
>a foot and a half, but now it seems to be having problems.  Even though it
>is kept watered the leaves keep curling.  If  you know anything about
>these trees (and or citrus trees) could you please give me a call.   I
>don't know what to feed it, what window it should be located in, etc.  If
>you have any answers, could you please e-mail me directly at
>	tamvb at
> 					Thanks,
>				Tammy Vanden Berg


Citrus prefer high light, high humidity, and reasonable
nutrients.  Hot and dry-air conditions are not the
best for them.  Indoors in winter the air is usually
too dry (leaf tip browning and curl) and the night
temperature too warm (burns up reserves via night
respiration that would otherwise sustain more growth).

Symptoms of too dry and too hot air are leaf curl and
brown, crispy leaf tips.  The best place in the house
for plants is the bathroom if there is adequate light
(an East or South exposure in northern hemisphere).
The kitchen is the second-most humid room in the house.

Also, be careful about over-watering.  Plants can show
drought symptoms because of over-watering.  This prompts
people to water EVEN MORE erroneously.  Check the soil
for moisture by touching it with you finger if cool-moist
then don't water...if dry-warm then water.  Overwatered
plants lose their roots to rot fungi and bacteria after
dying because of insufficient oxygen.  With no roots,
the rest of the plant shows drought symptoms in spite of
very wet soil.

Insect or other herbivore stress can cause some of the
symptoms you described too.

I don't know where you live, Tammy, but putting the
Citrus outdoors in the summer usually gives plants a
real boost.  Put the plant out for several days in a
shady spot to get it hardened off for outdoor living.
Then plant it in a good sunny spot with good soil
moisture and by autumn (when you might need to take it
back inside for winter) your plant should be huge!
You might need to buy a wastebasket for a pot and drill
some drainage holes in it to bring it back inside.


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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