I received a dwarf calamondin tree approx 2.5 years old purchased from a local grower who grows from stem cuttings. However, I’m realizing that the tree hasn’t been pruned much and it seemingly has three stem cuttings planted together!
It was kept inside by the previous grower in not so bright light and then I brought it home into my unheated greenhouse where it started to drop fruit and leaves.
A few related questions:
1. Is there a reason for the fruit, bud and leaf drop? It gets full sun via direct light and grow lights for 12-14 hours per day.
2. Should I repot and split these into three separate plants or can I leave them together and prune?
3. Will a high phosphorous fertilizer (bone meal 4-10-0) mixed with a citrus fertilizer (10-5-5) help in flower and root development once I split them?
Thanks for your help in getting this lady back to full health and bearing fruit! The picture attached is of it now after fruit and bud loss.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. We do receive a number of questions about growing citrus trees and the attached links offer insight on the subject. Here are some answers to your questions:
1) It is normal for citrus trees to drop some fruit in order to thin out and devote resources to the remaining fruit. However, nutrient deficiencies could also contribute to fruit loss. For example, soil that is deficient in nitrogen, magnesium and iron could lead to leaf drop. Excessive watering should also be avoided. Another factor could be that the temperature at the roots may have been too high in the greenhouse, especially if the plant receives 12-14 hours of direct light a day.
2) Calamondins do not like to be over-pruned so it would be preferable to repot the plant and split into three separate plants to promote growth. The attached links offer some guidance in this respect. In general, citrus plants like slightly acidic soil. For example, 1/3 sterile potting soil, 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 organic matter would be a good mix when you repot. Make sure the soil drains well – soggy soil could rot the plant’s roots.
3) Once split, use a citrus fertilizer or slow release formula. A fertilizer high in phosphorous can also be added to promote growth but care should be taken not to add too much.
Best of luck with your calamondin!