Like all plants, citrus trees also need nutrients to grow and produce an abundance of fruit. Citrus trees are heavy feeders, so choosing the right fertilizer is necessary in order to ensure healthy trees and a bumper crop.
In this article, you will learn how and when to fertilize your citrus fruit tree, and take our expert’s advice on the best citrus fertilizers available online. Once you’ve read this actionable advice you’ll know exactly how to produce a bountiful crop of delicious citrus fruits.
Are you excited already? So are we! Let’s delve right in…
What Kind of Fertilizer for Citrus Trees?
All citrus trees need a balanced N-P-K fertilizer that also contains micronutrients. These nutrients include iron, copper, manganese, boron, and zinc.
Citrus trees also like to have slightly acidic soil so when choosing a fertilizer, make sure it is specifically for citrus trees in order to ensure your trees are fed correctly.
Fertilizers for citrus come in different forms. You can find chemical and organic mixtures that are available as spikes, sprays, and granules.
Liquid Fertilizer Spray or Concentrates
Are generally in a concentrated form and need to be diluted with water, but you must read the instructions on the fertilizer’s label to see how to dilute the liquid and how to apply.
Citrus Tree Fertilizer Concentrates are for use with indoor plants and require dilution with water. This type of fertilizer is ideal for colder climates where dwarf trees are grown in pots in glasshouses or conservatories. They are popular in the United Kingdom and other cooler regions. We have three hand-picked products on our list specifically catering for this type of application.
Citrus Fertilizer Granules
Do not require diluting or mixing with anything else. They are ready to use with just a scoop to sprinkle around the soil as a top dressing, or they can be dug in. The instructions on the product’s packaging will tell you how many scoops are required based on the size of your citrus tree.
Fertilizer Spikes or Sticks
These work a little differently to granules. They are pre-measured so all you need to do is place the spike into the ground. These types of fertilizers are by far the most convenient for busy people who don’t want to spend the money on buying a sprayer and spending time spraying each citrus tree. Overall they are generally slightly more expensive but much more convenient.
Spikes are often considered one of the best fertilizers for citrus trees in containers due to their convenience and easy dosage. Once you’ve worked out the required amount by following the manufacturer instructions, just rinse and repeat each time you want to feed your citrus tree.
Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers
If you’re growing your citrus trees in a container, they will need a higher nitrogen blend citrus fertilizer, whereas trees grown in the open garden require a balanced 10-10-10 or 12-6-5 fertilizer.
You must fertilize your citrus tree correctly based on its age so the size and age of your tree will determine how much fertilizer you citrus requires. (more about how to measure the amount based on your tree size later).
Wondering where to find the best fertilizers for citrus trees? We’ve done all the research for you and listed our unbiased views of the best citrus tree fertilizers right here. So let’s get to it…
10 Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers Reviewed
I’ve hunted far and wide to find the best Citrus Tree Fertilizers available for the general consumers’ use. My main considerations are with the quality of the citrus fertilizer nutrient balance, overall performance, and ease of use.
As well as my own tests and input from my gardening expert friends, I have also considered customer reviews across most major online platforms and gardening forums that show the full level of customer satisfaction with these specific citrus tree fertilizers we have on review.
Citrus tree fertilizer spikes from Jobe’s are the easiest way to fertilizing citrus trees. The 4-6-6 spikes don’t require mixing or spraying, making them ideal for ground-planted trees.
Pre-measured, each spike is designed to be pushed an inch or two into the ground or soil and provide a slow-release action to feed the tree right through the growing season.
For anyone who is familiar with my product reviews, will know that Jobe’s fertilizer spikes are right up there as a ‘must have’ for me.
There is also a version for potted Citrus Trees, offering a smaller spike that is a perfect measure for smaller trees on your patio or grown indoors.
These products are suitable for Lemon Trees, Lime Trees, Orange Trees, Apple Trees, Pear Trees, Cherry Trees, Plum Trees, Avocado Trees, Peach Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Nut Trees. A great balance of nutrients for fruiting trees directly (4-6-6) released into the root network reduces run-off or fertilizer waste that is often associated with granules or powder fertilizers.
I love how simple they are. Push or hammer them into the ground around the drip line of the tree and get on with life. The fact that I have a pet dog also leads me to appreciate the fact that this fertilizer goes below the surface of the soil and out of ‘sniffing range’ of the dog’s big nose, which also gives me a bit more confidence. However, having said that this is an organic product that’s safe for use around pets and children.
How to use: All you have to do is simply insert the spike into the soil around the tree drip line. If your tree trunk diameter is 3 inches, you will need 4-5 spikes to feed it. The instructions on the packaging are simple and clear. In our sample, there were 8 spikes in one pack, or you can buy 15 spike packs. Check out the latest price on Amazon.com as you can often find discount vouchers or multi-buys on Jobes products.
Customer Reviews: Users were very satisfied with the quick results of these spikes with a noticeable improvement in the color and growth of citrus trees. 73% of users rated this product 5-stars matching our choice as the best fertilizers for citrus trees.
- Simple to use and organic with outstanding results
- Potted version available for use in pots or containers
- Protects the tree from disease and insects
- Use for Lemon, Lime, Orange, Avocado, and many other fruiting trees
Another organic citrus fertilizer is Down to Earth’s mix, which has an organic set of ingredients with a 6-3-3 formula, great for citrus fruit and avocados. It performs particularly well as a lemon tree fertilizer.
This fertilizer mix contains micronutrients, such as iron, zinc, calcium, sulfur as well as feather meal, fishbone meal, alfalfa meal, greensand, basalt, and much more, which are all the nutrients needed by citrus trees. The product helps promote new growth, more fruit, and fragrant blossoms. It’s not just ideal for citrus fruits; other fruit trees, vines, and ornamental plants will also benefit from this fertilizer.
One downside is that it requires digging-in for best results, although it can be used as a top dressing if your soil is loose, then you can rake it in. This product represents good value across the season compared to some other options, you can check the latest price online here.
How to use: For established trees, use up to 4 times a year. For new trees, more applications are needed. The product must be mixed with soil as per the instructions. Users were amazed to see how healthy their limp citrus trees perked up almost immediately after applying this citrus fertilizer.
Customer Reviews: A strong brand name in the organic market Down To Earth has a loyal following and you can count us in on that too. 4.5/5 in customer reviews, with excellent performance in lemon tree fertilization. A common complaint with this type of organic product is the smell, so avoid using indoors.
- Excellent for lemon tree fertilization
- Good value for money
- Great results with a mass of fruit
- Requires mixing with soil
The Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer spikes are another very convenient product that easy to apply and in truth, it’s hard to get the dosage wrong! You simply push them into the moist soil around the base of your tree.
The spikes are supplied with a plastic protective cap, allowing you to hammer them into the ground with a mallet. For dry soil, it is recommended to moisten first to soften before driving the spike into the ground.
How to Use: The dosage works in pretty much the same way as Jobe’s Organic Citrus Fertilizer Spikes, in that you simply apply the recommended number of spikes based on the diameter of your citrus tree.
The nutrient ratio (N-P-K) is 15-5-10 so the spikes are a well-balanced feed and the manufacturer recommends just one application in spring and once in fall. The spikes are really only suitable for larger more mature trees, as they are large, each measuring approximately 4 inches.
Customer Reviews: As with all Miracle-Gro products the customer feedback across the many online platforms and forums is very positive. Easy to use, good reliable performance, with an average customer rating of 4.5/5. Spikes will need to be stored in a plastic bag after opening to prevent damp or water ingress softening them. Buy online at Amazon.com.
- Long lasting consitent release feed
- Made with customer convenience in mind
- Large spikes mean they are not suitable fort young trees or tree in containers
- Spikes need to be stored in a dry place after opening
This 4-4-4 organic granular fertilizer from Jobe’s is suitable for both new and established fruit and citrus trees. It contains biozome, which is a microorganism that breaks down material for quicker results. You’re essentially getting the same fertilizer formula as Jobe’s spikes but in granular form.
The product promises to improve soil conditions, help the tree resist disease, and tolerate drought during the active growing season. Use for Lemon Trees, Lime Trees, Orange Trees, Apple Trees, Pear Trees, Cherry Trees, Plum Trees, Avocado Trees, Peach Trees, Pomegranate Trees, Nut Trees
You have the choice of buying 1.5, 4, or 16 pound easy to pour bags, all of which you can buy here.
How to use: when planting citrus trees, mix one and a half cups of this granular fertilizer with some potting soil if you are growing your tree in a container of up to 16 inches. Use the same amount of fertilizer for a 10-foot square area in the garden. Apply every 2 to 3 weeks for continuous release of nutrients.
For established trees, use 3 cups of the granular citrus fertilizer per 1 inch of trunk diameter at the drip line of the tree.
- Use for Lemon, Lime, Orange, Avocado, and many more fruiting trees
- Easy to use
- Fast-acting results
- Not recommended for indoor use.
- Doesn’t protect the tree from fungus attack like some other products
When we first came across EarthPods Organic Citrus Fertilizer Spikes I thought they may be a gimmick, but in hindsight, the results are very good. The company behind EarthPods have basically catered to the market interested in a convenient, easy to use an organic product that taps into the food waste problem we have across the western world. They use this food waste to feed vermiculture (worm composting) to turn out a nutrient-rich compost. This is then refined and supplemented with natural fertilizer ingredients to produce a powerful organic fertilizer capsule.
How to use: You get 100 capsules per container with recommended dosages ranging from 1-8 every 2-3 weeks depending on the size of the tree or plant. Simply push the EarthPod capsule into the soil for a slow-release effect.
Customer Reviews: Customer feedback is very good with an average score of 4.6/5 across all platforms reviewed. Convenience and results seem to shine through, but overall this product really appeals to those people who appreciate the ecologic ethos of the company by producing this organic fertilizer as a waste food by-product. Buy online here.
- A clever little capsule tapping into the Eco-minded consumer
- Very simple to use and will apeal to indoor growers
- Only suitable for dwarf verities or plants in containers
- Premium price
Espoma CT4 Citrus fertilizer is organically approved and full of living Espoma Bio-tone microbes. We have used several of the company’s products over the years including their Holly-Tone for acid-loving plants, and we have always been very impressed.
Citrus-Tone is well known for its high fruit yield and has slowly gained a strong and loyal following from its results. It has a long-lasting slow-release N-P-K of 5-2-6, which is well suited to citrus fruit including lemons, lime, and orange as well as avocados, and will also work well with nut tree species. Pick up a bag from Amazon.com.
How to use: Application is recommended in January for a pre-bloom early kickstart, then post-bloom in May or June. It is optional to add a further application in fall/spring to top up and meet all overwinter nutrient requirements. You will be required to dig-in this formula for the best results. Avoid fertilizing within 6″ of the tree trunk.
Customer Reviews: Scoring a fantastic 4.7/5 across all customer feedback with one common complaint…the smell. The product contains organic materials and that includes chicken manure so it’s no surprise there! There is nothing but positive feedback based on results and fruit yield from this citrus fertilizer. Recommended as an excellent orange tree fertilizer.
- Easy to use
- Quick results and excellent fruit yield
- Excellent orange tree fertilizer
- Inaccurate dosage instructions for indoor trees
- Doesn’t protect the tree from fungus attack like some other products
The Miracle-Gro shake and feed fertilizer can be used on new and established in-ground citrus trees. It contains added sulfur, iron, magnesium, and potassium to improve growth. The product can be purchased online here as a 1, 4.5, or 8-pound bag for up to 3 months of feeding.
How does it work? The microbes in this fertilizer break down the compost into nutrients and increase water efficiency for stronger plant growth.
What I like about this citrus fertilizer from Miracle-Gro is that you can use it anywhere: in-ground or in containers and there is no doubting the power of the Miracle-Gro brand. The stuff they make works and this citrus tree food is no exception.
How to use: follow the directions for use (on the back of the bag). For in-ground gardening, shake the mixture onto the soil but avoid contact with the trunk.
For container trees: mix the product into the soil at planting time.
For established trees, shake evenly onto the soil and water it afterward to start the feeding process. Never pre-mix the product with water.
Customer Reviews: 77% of more than 11,000 customers rated this continuous-release fertilizing product 5 stars because of how fast it works on flowering blooms. The most important advice from these users was to follow the directions carefully on the bag to avoid over-fertilizing.
- Generous-sized bag
- Easy to apply citrus tree food
- Brings limp citrus trees back to life
- If used incorrectly, it can burn plants
Concentrates for Indoor Use
Westland Citrus Tree Feed Concentrate is a straightforward liquid food, with an N-P-K 5-3-7 which is a perfect nutrient combination for citrus trees, providing vibrant green foliage and good flower production. Like the other concentrates on this list, it has a proven track record of delivering great results even in cooler regions for a conservatory or glasshouse. It is available in the UK and across some other regions online at Amazon
How to use: This bottle has a neat little dosage device built into the cap so you can’t go wrong just pour, dilute and feed. Pour a 5ml cap dosage into the chamber and dilute with 1 liter of water. Apply April through to September on a weekly basis. Then through winter reduce feed to once per month.
Customer Feedback: One of the best concentrates on the market scoring 4.7/5 across all customer data. The simplicity of the dosage cap and measuring chamber is a key feature that sets this little bottle apart from the competition, customers love it! The best fertilizer for meyer lemon tree.
- Excellent results for vibrant foliage and flower production
- Great dosage measuring chamber built into cap
- Nothing of note for a concentrate
Growth Technology Citrus Focus is a premium balanced liquid concentrated fertilizer manufactured in the UK. It is specifically formulated for use with citrus fruit grown in pots or containers. It contains seaweed extract and a good balance composition of complex organic plant acids such as humic and fulvic acid, to increase the fertility of the compost.
This citrus tree fertilizer help product masses of new flowers and offer a simple, but high-quality liquid feed ideal for indoor orange trees or other dwarf varieties. I like this product very much, and have had great success with several products from the Growth Technology product range.
How to use: Use regularly between March and October. Simply add 10ml of Citrus Focus to one liter of water. Apply this fertilizer once a week. If the leaves show any signs of yellowing you can increase the frequency to twice per week.
Customer Reviews: Very easy to use, albeit does require diluting. Citrus Focus represents great value for money and you can buy it online here. A one-liter bottle can last up to 2 years! Overall scores 4.6 in customer feedback.
- High quality indoor formula
- Relatively low cost
- Contains seaweed extract
- Only available in the UK and Europe
Vitax Citrus Tree Fertilizer is a well-regarded product for indoor use. It is one of two products in the range, the other being a winter formula, both of which are sold as a coarse granular powder that requires dilution with water. The high nitrogen formula has been developed to encourage vigorous growth and prevent premature fruit ripening, fruit drop, and leaf discoloration. It easy to dissolve and simple to use.
The formula contains N-P-K 2.5-1.5- 1.5 with iron, copper and manganese as trace elements.
How to use: For best results, mix 5g powder in 2.5 liters of water and apply weekly from April to September. Between feeds, keep the compost moist without waterlogging.
Customer Feedback: Users score the product 4.6/5 with many comments referring to the great condition of foliage and significant improvement in flower production after using this product. We have not been using this particular product long enough to comment on fruit yield, but customers who have, seem happy with the results. Buy online here.
- Beatiful foliage condition
- Strong flower production
- Not available in all regions
How to Fertilize Citrus Trees – Step by Step
How you fertilize your citrus tree is of utmost importance, but don’t let this task put a damper on your mood. Luckily, all fertilizers come with easy instructions on how to apply the product.
No matter whether you choose a pre-measured spike or one that requires mixing with soil, simply follow these quick steps to fertilize your citrus:
Step 1 Choose an organic fertilizer instead of a synthetic one so as not to burn your tree, especially if it’s not established yet.
Step 2 Measure the amount of the fertilizer you want to use based on the size and age of your citrus tree. Follow these tips:
- Measure the tree’s trunk in diameter.
- Now multiply the number by 0.10 pounds (the nitrogen amount).
- Look at the fertilizer’s packaging to find the NPK numbers and the actual nitrogen amount per pound. N stands for nitrogen.
- Divide the amount of actual nitrogen your tree needs by the amount of nitrogen per pound in the chosen fertilizer. This is the number you need to determine how much tree fertilizer you need to apply.
Step 3 Apply the fertilizer evenly starting from one foot away from the tree’s trunk and ending at the drip line. Use a rake to dig small homes around the trunk in order to spread out the fertilizer.
Step 4 Put some compost around the tree and water it thoroughly.
To fertilize young citrus trees, use about half a pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer in the first year. Make sure the product is specifically for feeding citrus fruit trees.
To fertilize mature citrus trees, use a pound of fertilizer for every year of the tree’s age. For example, if your tree is 3 years old, it will need 3 pounds of fertilizer scattered several feet away from its drip line.
When to Fertilize Citrus Trees?
Citrus trees are hungry feeders, but they must also be fertilized at the right time for healthy fruit bearing.
Fertilize fruit trees regularly during their active growth period in spring and summer. In fall and winter, you still need to fertilize the trees during their dormant period – but not as often. Remember they are heavy feeders so if you want your trees to start producing fruit as soon as possible, I’m afraid you can’t skip the fall and winter feeding.
By leaving the fertilizing until spring, your tree will fall behind with its growth. You may see it producing blossoms, but the fruits will come much later than anticipated plus they won’t be very big at all.
The good news is, once your citrus trees get older, you won’t have to fertilize them during the dormant season. You can also reduce the fertilizing period during the growing season – but only after your trees are mature enough to stand on their own feet…or trunk!
All in all, when it comes to determining when to fertilize your citrus, use your judgment. If the tree has lush, green leaves, it doesn’t need feeding. If its leaves are yellowing, go ahead and fertilize.
How Often to Use Citrus Tree Fertilizer?
Okay, so you now know when to fertilize your citrus trees. However, we’re not done yet as you also need to know how often to feed them. After all, you don’t want to burn or kill the tree by over-fertilizing it or deprive it of food by under-fertilizing! Always follow the directions on the fertilizer’s package for the best results.
With that in mind, follow our advice on how often you should be feeding your citrus tree right here:
As soon the buds start swelling in February, give your young citrus tree its first dose of organic fertilizer.
In the first year, fertilize once a month during active growth and once every two months during dormant periods.
For potted citrus, fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season (from March to August) using an organic liquid or granular fertilizer. Don’t fertilize in winter so as not to encourage new growth.
Once your citrus tree has passed its third year, fertilize it early in the growing season. As a rule of thumb, only feed the mature tree 3 times a year in February, May, and October.
Conclusion Best Fertilizers for Citrus Trees
There is no denying the importance of fertilization for citrus trees. Without it, your citrus tree may suffer from disease or not fruit as much as it should. When choosing the best fertilizers for citrus trees, consider organic products in the form of spikes as they are easier to use and pre-measured so you won’t have to worry about over or under-fertilizing your citrus tree.
There is also the fertilizer mix from Jobe’s that not only keeps your citrus healthy, but it also improves the soil condition. Whichever fertilizer you choose from our list, you can be sure of keeping your trees in tip-top condition.