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The Favored Ones

January 16th, 2012

I’m not much of one for high maintenance plants, indoor or out. The majority of my houseplants are neglected, which is actually what houseplants seem to like! Most of them live on in the same location for months without a thought. There are two that are my favorites though, receiving special care.

These two dwarf citrus trees are my pride and joy when it comes to plants that live in pots (here’s a post with their history and why they mean so much to me). During the long cold winter months, they get carried outside whenever the weather is mild enough. I would put a light on them, but I really hate the thought (plus I’m pretty sure the sherif would stop by every now and then to make sure I was just growing citrus).

You many wonder why I go to all this trouble – I’m really hoping they’ll bloom soon and provide me with some fruit this year or next. One of my garden dreams has always been to have a citrus tree in a pot with a few lovely lemons dangling from it’s branches. Soon, this dream may actually come true.

Do you have any plants you favor above others? What special treatment do they get?

For more information on growing tropical fruits and other exotics indoors here are a few book ideas:

27 Comments to “The Favored Ones”
  1. Jennifer Fisk on January 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I have a Christmas Cactus given to me shortly after the birth of my second son. I resides away from west facing windows during the heating season and on the woodstove a few feet away the other 6 months. It blooms twice a year and is really pretty. I water it every once in a while and feed it once or twice a year.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  2. Melissa on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I hear ya- I just bought my first citrus the other day- a lime! I’m getting ready to transfer it to a bigger pot today. Can’t wait to have some fruit in a few years!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  3. Erika on January 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

    What kind of citrus do you have. Lemons I know but are they Meyer lemons? I am thinking of getting one or 2 this spring but haven’t settle yet it yet. I think I remember you saying they were meyer, are there any special rules for them soil, light, etc? We live in southern MS so part of the year I can leave them outside, but do they need lots of water, fertilizer?


    Reply to Erika's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 9:50 am

      I have a variegated pink lemon and a key lime tree right now. I’d love to get a Meyer lemon too.

      They don’t need too much care. The ladies at Lemon Ladies orchard recommended that I feed: Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

      I have also read that citrus prefer to be in a smaller rather than a larger pot. They don’t need a ton of water, but mine drink a lot. I let them dry out between waterings and allow them to be fairly dry during the winter.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Wanda on January 16, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I have a bay tree that I’ve managed to carry through quite a few winters now. I love gardening but have trouble maintaining house plants due to my neglect. I tell myself I’ll be better when I retire from teaching next year. I’ve always wanted an orange or lemon tree but don’t have good windows so I don’t think they would bear fruit here. I love the smell of the orange flowers. My bay tree stays outside except for the winter and I use the leaves in cooking.

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  5. Sofie Dittmann on January 16, 2012 at 10:09 am

    We’d need the plants first to actually favor one… :) Working on that…

    Reply to Sofie Dittmann's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 11:10 am

      How about some herbs, I can see you & Al relishing fresh herbs mid-winter!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. Annie on January 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Yeah, I had a bay tree too that I carried around from TN back to TX. It lived in a pot for 4 years or so, never getting very big but I was determined to have a bay tree. When we moved to our house I planted it in the ground and now the dude it 8 feet tall and 3 feet wide… and growing! It grew from 6 inches to 5 feet in the first year alone (I think it’s happy). Now it needs no special treatment.

    Reply to Annie's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

      Bay is on my list of plants to get this year!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. Kim on January 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I am excited to say I will be getting a container Meyer lemon tree very soon!!! I also want to grow satsumas, which are really popular here in South Louisiana. These I will be growing from seed though…wish me luck!

    Reply to Kim's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 11:11 am

      I used to have a citrus tree that I grew from seed, I think it was a hybrid though and after 15 years it hadn’t produced even one flower – so it was replaced with these 2 trees. I hear Meyers will produce from see though (mine was a mandarine orange).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Deborah on January 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I bought a dwarf lime tree (a twig) summer 2009, and it was supposed to set fruit within a year. Well, it finally did this past summer, and I have 3 large limes dangling from it. It bloomed a second time, but I don’t think any of the fruit will set, and it’s about to bloom a third. It’s so exciting!

    Reply to Deborah's comment

  9. Amy on January 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Our next door neighbors, a wonderful retired couple, gifted my husband and me a large peace lily a few days after we lost our twins to a second trimester miscarriage. It bloomed within a few days, two gorgeous blooms. It seemed too perfect! I obsess over this plant, hoping it lives for a very long time; my grandma received one after the death of her mother in the early 80s and I think she still has it, more than 20 years later. Ours has a prominent spot in our living room where we can keep a close eye on it.

    I tried a lemon tree once but didn’t have good luck. I think we kept our house too cool. I did love the smell of the blossoms, though!

    Reply to Amy's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      What a wonderful story of the peace lily!

      I have read that citrus like a cool indoor temp. We keep our house at 55 at night at 60 during the day. I have had a few that didn’t do well, but I got them from a discount seed catalog and I think that may have been the reason. These two from Monticello are doing very well!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Kathi Cook on January 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I have 7 mini phalaenopsis orchids, most of which I “rescued” from a big box store for $1 to $2.(They slash the price when they are past bloom.) I kept them alive for the past 2 years with no blooms and now 3 of them are filled with buds! I am trying to find a really pretty way to display them while they are blooming. I was thinkinking of putting them all in a pot with a maidenhair fern. I love your dwarf citrus plants! I tried an orange tree once with no luck.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  11. amy on January 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Susy~What fertilizer do you use for your citrus? I have a meyers lemon and have yet to fertilize it. Thank you, Amy

    Reply to amy's comment

    • Susy on January 16, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      I gravitate towards Dr Earth Brand fertilizers whenever I purchase them. They have specialized ones including Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer .

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • amy on January 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm


        to amy's comment

  12. Jennifer Krieger on January 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I can kill any citrus, just let me at it! And I live in LA!
    I recently potted a Meyer lemon which was previously in a terrible garden space, way too wet. Now it is green and happy, with one lovely yellow lemon and a score of green ones coming on. I will continue to tiptoe around it.
    I had a friend in Columbus who had a lemon tree and as far as I know it’s still going. She doesn’t have my skill at plant murder.

    Reply to Jennifer Krieger's comment

  13. Jane on January 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    With the fruit trees it takes at least 5 years before the will even think about fruit. MIne r 3 come On 5!

    Reply to Jane's comment

  14. Domestic Executive on January 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I have stopped having plants in the house as I seem to kill them off. I’m always too busy with the garden outside! My step mother who is a fanatical gardener is appalled that I keep murdering plants indoors so I thought it best to give up altogether and bring flowers from the garden indoors instead,

    Reply to Domestic Executive's comment

  15. warren on January 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I have a peace lily I have had for years and I just love it…I mist its leaves all the time and repot it as it needs it (unlike some of the other plants). I had a lemon tree and it made one great lemon but it died as hard as I tried to prevent it…

    Reply to warren's comment

  16. KimH on January 16, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I have way too many houseplants and I tend to neglect them all.. They thrive anyways. M’honey always tells people that I ignore my plants and thats the magic. I guess so. ;)

    They multiply like rabbits & I cant seem to get rid of any, and Lord knows I wont let any actually die.. except for the 3 that did die this year.. 2 orchids and 1 African violet. Whats odd about these 3 is that there were other exact plants in the exact same place that got the exact same care that are doing wonderfully. Its still a mystery to me. They’re the only plants I’ve had to die in my house for over 25 years.

    I still have one orchid that I love and if there are any that I love and pamper the most, its probably that one.. Almost all were gifts or that I adopted when someone passed on..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  17. judy meade on January 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I had a prayer plant I bought at a local store years ago for .99 – it was so tiny. I don’t know what I did right but it lasted for almost 10 years. It even bloomed tiny white flowers. Needless to say that plant wasn’t tiny any more. Finaly died of “old age”. Some day, hopefully when things settle a bit, I’m getting a lemon tree. I live the fragrance of lemons, the foilage is prety as well.

    Reply to judy meade's comment

  18. Betty on January 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    You’re doing a great job taking care of your dwarf citrus trees. I find it funny imagining people wondering what plant you are exposing light on. I am sure they will grow strong and healthy.

    Reply to Betty's comment

    • Susy on January 17, 2012 at 7:38 am

      We did have a neighbor a few doors down who happened to be growing marijuana, he home was raided by the sherifs who found 50 plants growing in his basement. It’s been a joke between the local gardeners ever since.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. Helen on January 17, 2012 at 2:50 am

    I have a group of dwarf citrus trees myself and it is true that they are fascinating. I just enjoy taking good care of them and I love the way they bring life and energy in my garden.

    Reply to Helen's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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