Friday, October 25, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wintering My Citrus Trees

I brought my 3 citrus trees inside a couple weeks ago. I had them in the garage, but I felt it was going to get too cold over night for them, so I brought them upstairs to the spare room/everything else room.

I made my frame out of pvc pipe and have hung the light fixture to it. I made my frame bigger than necessary, oops...guess I'll have to get some more plants. What's a girl to do. I just have the one light fixture for now, but there's room for another one. The light is 4 ft t5 HO with 4 bulbs, 54w and 6500k each. It is on a timer for 16 hours.

I put Orca Grow Film around it. It's kinda a sloppy job, but at least it's up. And I have the ceiling fan running 24/7. My hygrometer reads in the upper 70s-low 80s for temperature and 50-60% humidity. I don't know for sure if that thing is accurate though.

I spray the trees with fish emulsion every week and also use neem oil occasionally. I have sticky traps set up as well, I've caught some gnats.

Watering has been somewhat of a puzzlement for me. I am so afraid of over watering. I was using a wooden dowel inserted in the mix to check for moisture level. I mistakenly thought that the roots had reached closer to the bottom of the pot than they actually do. So when I found the bottom of the pot still moist, I did not water.

Well my poor lime tree nearly bought the farm. It's roots must be pretty shallow yet as it was dying of thirst, literally.

I was so afraid of over watering that I didn't recognize the signs of under watering. It was dropping leaves like crazy, which I attributed to it being brought inside.

But, I understand now what's going on with it and hopefully it will pull through. It is responding very well to being watered. I just hope it puts leaves back on in a hurry.

There is something else about this tree. I thought it was a Key Lime because the label says it's a Key Lime, but the label also says limequat in parentheses. I don't know, but I think limequat fruit is shaped more elongated, so maybe time will tell.

That got me thinking, though, that I want an actual Key Lime. I read that Key Lime will grow true to seed, so I bought some Key Limes and am going to attempt to grow a couple trees from seed. I will post about that later.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bringing the Tropical Hibiscus in for the Winter

Today I pruned back my Mother's tropical hibiscus to prepare it for the move inside for the winter. I have found some advice online on how to get it ready. I read to prune it back about 1/3 of the way, which I did. I was suppose to make the cuts right above leaves and read that from this area at least two more will sprout and produce blooms next spring. I also read to spray it off really well with water and to wash off the pot as well. I did that. Then I was suppose to spray all surfaces of leaves and branches with fish emulsion spray and even though that smells to high heaven, I did it. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere about removing 2" of the potting mix off the top and replacing with new mix, but for the life of me I cannot find that information anywhere. So, I didn't do that. I did spray the mix with neem oil though. I will watch closely for creepy crawlies.

Now I'm not quite sure of the lighting or heat requirements. I guess I will play it by ear. Right now I have put it under the light with my citrus trees. I'll just keep an eye on it and see how it goes. I did also read that some hibiscus never quite make it through this transition. I hope this one does. I plan to repot this little beauty in the spring.

Another thing I did was to put the clippings into potting soil in hopes of them taking root. I really don't know what I'm doing here, but I thought it was worth a shot since they were going into the compost bin anyway. I probably should have cut off the blooms, but that is so difficult to do. 

I will post updates about the progress as it happens. Wish me luck!

These clippings did not take root so I got rid of them. :(

UPDATE: 27 JUN 2014
I thought I might share an updated picture of this hibiscus tree. I repotted it into a bigger pot with Mel's Mix (I think). It has grown a lot and has produced a bunch of blooms. I used to only get 1 at a time, now there are several at one time. It's so beautiful. It has some Japanese beetles on it I noticed. I'm going to try to catch them before too much damage is done. The others are my 2 meyer lemons and the limequat.