Fruit and Vegetables

Citrus fruits - Citrus


Citrus fruits, plants of the Citrus group, belong to the Rutaceae family, which includes over 25 cultivated species of predominantly Asian origin. They are evergreen arboreal plants, which can vary considerably in height depending on the species and the type of cultivation, with a minimum of about 1 m in ornamental plants such as Citrus mitis or Calamandino, and a maximum of over 9 m in height for the cultivated as Limone, Cedro or Orange.
The leaves are one of the first reasons for the ornamental characteristics of this family, as they are very bright and rich in aromatic oily substances. Persist on the plant over 2 years, they are generally oval elliptical in shape. The color of the leaves is variable from the dark green of the older ones up to yellowish green for the young leaves placed at the apex of the shoots.
The flowers are generally white in color with 5 petals, they are a further motif of ornament because they are present at various times of the year (re-flourishing), in ornamental species they are gathered in showy bunches and are very fragrant (zagare).
The fruit, which is botanically defined as a particular type of berry called hesperidium, has a rough skin of colors ranging from yellow to red, with a spongy white area below, called albedo, enveloping the pulp which is juicy and this can also be of various types colors, including rosaceae.
Fruit production is undoubtedly the main reason for their cultivation and based on this it is possible to distinguish the main varietal groups of the genus Citrus:
· Direct feeding, or extraction of juices: oranges, lemons, mandarins, and grapefruits
· Production of candied fruit such as cedar and chinotto
· Extraction of perfumes or essences such as bergamot
· Ornamental and with edible fruit: kumquat, fortunella, calamondino

Citrus fruits in the garden

Citrus fruits are widely cultivated as an important agricultural resource in the most suitable areas, namely temperate and maritime areas or only in some areas of Lake Garda. By virtue of the numerous ornamental qualities, they are spreading at an amateur level in the gardens with other fruit-makers, or in real gardens, up to reaching with particular miniaturized selections, even in city apartments.
Their cultivation for ornamental purposes does not pose major problems if performed in suitable climatic zones, while for temperate-cold areas the cultivation takes place only in favorable microclimates or better by raising plants on pots with the possibility of transferring the plants from the garden to the heated or protected areas in winter .

Cultivation of citrus fruits

The first condition of successful cultivation of citrus fruits in soil is, as mentioned, the temperature that in winter must not fall below 0 ° C, considering that the optimum for vegetation and production falls between the 7 ° of winter minimum and the 28th summer maximum.
In the Citrus sphere there are also various resistances to the lowering of temperature, directly related to the species, among the most sensitive are the cedars and lemons, while bitter oranges and kumquats are more resistant to cold.
Among the basic factors in the success of crops there is the soil, which must be light, loose, very fertile, and the good availability of water, which however must flow quickly into the soil, without ever stagnating.
Another element to take into consideration is the windiness, particularly harmful on the whole Citrus genus, as it can destroy newly formed flowers and fruits or even detach the leaves.
As far as lighting is concerned, the optimum is given by the good irradiation that is obtained only by distancing the plants well and, very important for pot cultivation, in winter an excellent lighting, on pain of total fall of the leaves.
The cultivation, in short, is optimal in temperate climatic zones, with mild climate in winter, in a sheltered position from wind, and sunny.
In areas with harsh winters it is necessary to place the citrus plants in a cold greenhouse.


Fertilization for the Citrus genus is an indispensable practice; it is made with balanced fertilizers in the macronutrients and richly equipped with micronutrients, such as Manganese and Zinc, which are essential for the normal physiological activities of the plant.
The optimal period of administration of the fertilizer coincides with the vegetative restart, which occurs at the end of winter, with a considerable advance compared to the beginning of the blooms, to then continue at regular intervals of 8-10 days.
In winter it is advisable to reduce the number of fertilizations, without ever interrupting them, precisely because the plant is always in vegetative or productive activity, as in the case of lemons, oranges and mandarins.
Citrus fruits benefit greatly during the entire period of growth of frequent foliar fertilizations, in order to resolve cases of acute deficiencies or temporary deterioration or blockage of assimilation from the ground due to excessive temperatures.
To avoid the onset of the typical leaf yellowing by Clorosis Ferrica, which often affects citrus fruits during vegetative growth or very frequently if the type of soil is calcareous, various administrations of products based on iron chelated by radical are important.

Citrus fruits - Citrus: Adversity

Citrus fruits are subject to a wide range of adverse events.
Environmental pathologies: these are typically deficiencies, among which ferric chlorosis (which has already been treated for fertilization) manifests itself at various levels according to its gravity. The leaves gradually turn yellow, from the vegetative apices to the base of the plant. In critical cases the plants do not bloom or have poor flowering or lose fruit early. The leaves then dry at the edges and fall until the plant is completely defoliated.
Along with this deficiency there are others that present different symptoms including: yellowing of the basal leaves, twisting of the leaves, bleaching and deformation of the same, or punctuation and curls, followed by poor flowering and fructification and poor quality of the fruits (aromas, sugars, color and size).
These causes can be checked in advance, with the use of suitable fertilizers such as those specific for citrus fruits, while in other situations the plants can be recovered at the level of the first manifestations with specific interventions with trace element supplements.
Other "environmental" causes are:
- the lack of light, which leads to poor flowering and consequent poor or no fruiting, in addition to a minimal growth of plants; it is therefore advisable to place the citrus fruits in a very bright place, with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
- pollution: these plants do not develop at their best in places subject to pollution, therefore they are not advised to be used in the traffic lanes, or in any case in urban furnishings in areas subject to heavy traffic.
- winter and summer thermal stresses; in areas with very cold winters it is good to keep citrus plants in a protected place, at least until April or May, in order to avoid any exposure to temperatures well below zero for prolonged periods; in summer it may be necessary to lightly shade the potted specimens during the hottest hours of the day.
- excess salinity in water and soil, which the plant can suffer from general debility.
In these cases, together with the prevention and removal of the predisposing cause, the timely use of "energy" products is recommended to offer the plant a valid aid for a fast recovery of the vegetative efficiency after stress and to favor its harmonious development.
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