Citrus plant not doing well – House Plant Journal

Citrus plant not doing well

Plant: Citrus – key lime & meyer

How long have you had the plant? Less than a month.


Citrus were shipped to me, but showed up pretty healthy. I checked their leaves and noticed small brown dots, and webs. I sprayed with neem, waited 7 days, during which leaf drop started, so I switched and sprayed with insecticidal soap. I waited 1 week before repotting which was the seller’s instructions. I’ve had the plants for about a month and the leaves keep dropping. Before dropping they look mostly healthy, not dried out, but some warping or lighter areas which I assume is where the spider mites(?) were.

Light Situation:

I live in NYC, so it’s generally humid, and both plants are near a south facing window and may get around 1 hour of direct sun in the afternoon. The plants are near a radiator but it’s been off since I situated the plant there!

How do you determine WHEN to water? I wait for the soil to become about halfway dry.

Describe HOW you water: Fully soak the soil, and let excess drain away.

Fertilizer? Grow scripts Trivium, 18-5-10 NPK


Soil mix used: peat moss/coco coir, perlite, and bark chips.

Darryl’s Analysis

Note: since I don’t have first hand experience with citrus plants, I’m making my analysis based on the documentation from the University of Maryland Extension website.

When your plant is situated to the side of a window, the number of hours of direct sun will be insufficient.  Citrus trees will only grow well indoors with 6 or more hours of direct sun, which is ideally directly in front of a large, unobstructed south-facing window.  If you don’t have this natural light situation, you will need a grow light strong enough to measure 2000 FC and kept on for 12-14 hours a day (the first three in this list are strong enough).

Everything you’re doing sounds fine and will work if the light situation is improved.

Most people who have citrus trees in the long term put them outside during the warmer months of the year and only keep them indoors for winter under grow lights. They’ll only work as an exclusively indoor plant if you have exceptionally large and unobstructed windows.

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