Enjoy This Nutritious Fruit Right in Your Backyard
Grapefruit is one of the easiest citrus fruits to grow if you live in the right climate. Grapefruit is rich in Vitamin C, fiber, and may even help to lower cholesterol. The grapefruit tree’s bushy leaves can provide much-needed shade in a sunny backyard. Here are a few tips for growing grapefruit right there in your home garden.
Growing grapefruit: Warm climates only
Grapefruit grows best in warm, subtropical climates. The ideal area is one that is warm both during the day and at night during the summers. California and Florida are generally thought of as the citrus states, but grapefruit also thrives in Texas and many other southern states. The grapefruit grow all summer, ripening in fall and maybe even winter if the climate is mild enough. You do not want to expose your grapefruit to sub-freezing temperatures as it will cause ice to form inside the fruit. Most plants are able to survive a few hours of freezing temperatures, but any more than that will permanently damage the grapefruit.
Growing grapefruit: Select the right location
Choose a well-lit, warm location when planting a new grapefruit tree. Make sure the soil has adequate drainage and the tree is sheltered from gusty winds or other harsh weather conditions. If the soil in that area is too light, mix in compost or other organic material to add nutrients and thickness. Compost also works well in heavier soil, just be sure the resulting mix is not packed in so tightly that it will not drain. Keep the soil thoroughly saturated with water when planting the grapefruit tree and while it is setting its roots into its new location.
Growing grapefruit: Using mulch
Straw mulch on top of the soil can help retain moisture during this growth phase. Grapefruit tree roots are generally shallow and can be dried out by exposure to the air, so a light mulch covering can be quite beneficial. Be sure to leave a bit of space between the grapefruit tree’s trunk and your straw mulch so the trunk is not exposed to mildew and rot.
Growing grapefruit: Yearly maintenance
Grapefruit trees do not require much ongoing maintenance. Extensive pruning should not be needed until the tree is quite large. You may need to cut the occasional branch to maintain the desired shape for your tree. Do not prune the grapefruit tree in winter if you are concerned about freezing temperatures. You want the tree to be as healthy as possible in the winter, not healing from being clipped. Picking grapefruit should be done with scissors or garden clippers, not by hand. Clip the stem approximately 2-3 centimeters back from the fruit to encourage new growth for the next harvest season.