Citrus Growing Guide | Tui Garden

Tui Garden

Citrus Growing Guide

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Citrus trees laden with juicy lemons, oranges, limes and mandarins ready to be plucked from the branch are a quintessentially Kiwi addition to many home gardens. Plant in your garden or in pots and you will be harvesting a bumper crop of juicy citrus this season.


Download a printable PDF guide here

Choose a variety

Before you get started, choose a variety suited to your garden and culinary needs. Below are some popular orange, lime, lemon, mandarin and grapefruit varieties to plant.


Best Seedless, Harwoods Late, Ruby Blood, Seville.


Bearss lime, Kaffir lime, Tahitian lime.


Eureka, Meyer, Lemonade.


Burgess Scarlet, Clementine, Satsuma.


Golden Special, Orlando, Wheeny.

Click here for more information on the different citrus varieties available.


1. Choose a suitable spot: citrus trees are frost tender and they do best in a consistently sunny environment with adequate rainfall, in an area sheltered from cold winds.

2. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Garden Mix. If planting in pots or containers, plant in Tui Pot Power, which contains a controlled release fertiliser, SaturAid wetting agent to ensure water gets to the root of the tree, water retention crystals, and Acadian seaweed to protect plants from common soil-borne diseases.

3. Clear the area before planting, removing any weeds.


Planting citrus in the garden:

4. Dig a hole approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your tree and partly fill with Tui Garden Mix.

5. Fill a bucket with water and add two capfuls of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic, this promotes strong root growth and reduces transplant shock.

6. Place the tree (still in its bag) in the bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and soak for a few minutes until bubbles stop appearing. Remove from the bucket.

7. Remove the tree from its bag or container and then gently loosen the root ball of the tree.

8. Place the tree in the hole.

9. Fill the hole with Tui Garden Mix, ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the bag or container. 

10. Press soil firmly around the tree.

11. It is a good idea to stake when planting, as citrus don't like having their roots disturbed - this will help support the tree.

12. Water your tree well.

When planting several citrus at once, it is just as easy to add a layer of Tui Garden Mix to the whole area before planting.

Planting citrus in pots and containers:

  • Partly fill with Tui Pot Power, and tap on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Fill a bucket with water and add two capfuls of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic.
  • Place the tree (still in its bag) in the bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and soak.
  • Remove from the bucket, remove the tree from its bag or container and then gently loosen the root ball of the tree.
  • Place the tree in the pot, and fill in with Tui Pot Power, ensuring the tree is no deeper than it was in the container or bag. Again, it is a good idea to stake when planting.
  • Press soil firmly around the tree.
  • Add pebbles around the tree for a finishing touch.
  • Water your tree well.

13. In the first year after planting your citrus, remove any fruit that sets. This allows the tree to establish itself and encourages better fruiting in the following seasons.


14. Replenishing nutrients used by your citrus plants ensures they will grow to their full potential, producing abundant and juicy crops. Feed your citrus in spring and summer to encourage maximum fruiting and flowering.
Citrus require higher levels of potassium and magnesium, and Tui Citrus Food is specially blended with all the nutrients needed for citrus planted in gardens. Feed citrus planted in containers with Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

15. Magnesium deficiencies can be common in citrus, shown by yellowing leaves. Apply Tui Epsom Salts around the drip line of the tree (where the leaves extend to), to correct the deficiency.

16. Citrus require more watering over the summer months - and well watered, well nourished citrus will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

17. The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your citrus. Protect your plants from the elements with layers of mulch, to help keep their roots moist. Keep the area around your citrus weed free.


  • Prune if you need to for either a desired shape, to remove any diseased stems, or to improve air circulation. Remember leaves are the life of the tree, so don’t cut unnecessarily, particularly before the tree has matured. If you are pruning avoid September/October as you run the risk of lemon tree borer laying eggs in the fresh cuts.