It was just over a year ago that I purchased two citrus trees for my apartment; a Meyer Lemon and a Kaffir Lime tree. I had never really thought much about growing fruit trees indoors before this. In fact, I thought it was too cold in the Pacific Northwest, especially in western Washington for them to thrive. Boy was I wrong. The tress I have are wonderfully healthy and have been filling my apartment with the smell of sweet citrus blossoms for almost two months now! Who would've thought?
I've had my share of issues with them, but honestly they are really easy to keep alive. My first issue was noticing that I had a fruit fly problem. The insects were most likely some kind of aphid, but to me they looked like fruit flies. They began showing up everywhere like in my kitchen, flying around my head when I sat at my computer, and marching around my window coverings. Very annoying. It just wasn't acceptable. I researched the problem online and decided to buy neem oil, which is a vegetable oil, and sprayed it on the leaves of the plant. Neem oil is natural and harmless to animals and people, but great for controlling the aphids. I put several applications on my trees over the course of several weeks and got the problem under control. I haven't had any issues since. But I do know what to do now if it should happen again.
There was another issue I had that was a bit of a mystery. When I came home from a day at work, or when I was gone for a few days because I was traveling, I would always notice brown stringy lines on my hardwood floors and sometimes even on my carpet. Honestly, I thought I had a mouse problem. I didn't like the thought of a mouse on the loose, but I asked around and it was not mouse droppings. Maybe I had a monster spider? But I hated the sound of that even more! As it turns out, it was something I'd never expected, worms. Yep, little tiny brown worms that were dead. They were living in the potting soil of my plants before their attempted escape! How did they get there? They must of been living in the soil from when the plants were outside over the Summer. When I brought the trees in after the temperatures outside got cooler, they were still calling my plant pots home. It wasn't until I watered my plants that I would notice later on that they would appear. Basically I was drowning them out. This, I'm sure, is disgusting to some but I'm a gardner. It's ok. I must admit, however, for a couple days I was a little horrified to think little worms were crawling around my apartment. I sort of let this issue go and haven't had any problems since. I'm guessing they all probably died. I'll have to keep this in mind when I move the trees back into the house this year after they've been outside for awhile.
I have my trees in pretty ceramic pots and they are not too heavy so I can easily move them outside when the weather is nice. I usually keep them outside during the Summer months and into early Fall. I haven't put them outside this year yet, but I'm hoping to soon because they love to soak up the warmth of the sun. Luckily, I have a big south facing window where they get lots of light when they are indoors. I fertilize them every month or so during times when they are growing and blooming, but otherwise I make sure to water them really well about once a week and that's it. I've managed to keep them alive this long and they are a welcome addition to my apartment! This year, since they are still young, I will clip off the fruit after the blooms are done so more energy is focused back into the tree. Next year, I will have some lemons! The kaffir lime tree leaves, however, are wonderful additions to my soups and stews anytime of the year!