Best Time to Plant Citrus Trees

Written by

William Golder


Dorian Goodwin

when to plant citrus trees

Early spring in zones 8-11 and year-round in the southern coastal USA is the short answer to the question: When to plant citrus trees? March, April, and October tend to be the best months, but the post below will cover the recommended dates according to the hardiness zone you are in, keeping in mind the type of citrus tree you are planning.

When to Plant Citrus Trees?


  1. In Zones 8-11, early spring, the second half of March to the start of April, is the best time for outdoor planting. In the Citrus belt of the USA, which consists of Southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, gardeners can plant their citrus trees in any season.
  2. If you plan to grow citrus trees indoors in pots or containers (which is necessary for zone 7 and lower), grow them anytime, since you can control the conditions like temperatures and lighting. Maintain an indoor temperature of 65°F and direct sunlight for 8 to 12 hours daily, and the plants should develop well.

You can put citrus trees outside in the summer if you want, but it’s necessary to relocate them again when fall and winter come in cooler zones.

The table below consists of tree-wise, zone-wise, and location-wise recommendations for planting times.

Citrus Trees Zone Suggested planting time Planting location
Lemon tree Zone 8


February to March Outdoors
Zone 9 March or December start Outdoors
Zone 10 March Outdoors
Zone 11 Anytime of the year Outdoors
Lime tree Zone 8 September or Early April Outdoors
Zone 9 Mid September or Early April Outdoors
Zone 10 March (Early Spring) Outdoors
Zone 11 Anytime of the year Outdoors
Orange tree Zone 8


March and April Outdoors
Zone 9 March or September Outdoors
Zone 10 October to January Outdoors
Zone 11 Anytime of the year Outdoors

What Are the Above Dates Based on?


1. Wind

If you face strong winds in your region, it’s best to plant citrus trees when windy conditions subside or when the plants have proper wind protection.

2. Frost

The above dates are determined by keeping in mind the first and last frost dates in those regions.

Simply put, freezing temperatures can damage citrus trees. The damage can be so severe that cell rupturing might occur, and you’ll need to prune away the damaged parts in late spring or early summer.

Tips for Successful Citrus Trees Planting


Apart from planting at the right time, these additional tips will help citrus trees grow.

  • Use well-draining soil

Whether planting in containers or outdoors, ensure you plant them in well-draining soil as accumulated water can lead to rot. Additionally, ensure the ground has organic compost for a proper nutritional supply.

  • Erect tree guards

Like most other trees, citrus trees are also susceptible to rodents and pests. Also, once the tree bears fruit, the risk increases further. Therefore, it’s best to use a tree guard like Watayo 19.6 FT Mesh Tree Trunk Guard Protectors. Such tree guards will improve the yield by preventing damage.

  • Plant in a big hole

When planting the tree into the ground, it’s best to go with a 2′ hole. This results in proper space for the root system, contributing to citrus growth. In the case of orange trees, instead of growing orange tree from seed, it is better to grow it from a cutting, in which case it only takes 12-14 weeks for it to develop roots.

Additionally, when planting any citrus tree like lime or lemon tree spacing of 12 to 25 feet is ideal. Minimum distance requirement increases with the size of the tree. For example, dwarf citrus trees require only 6’ to 10’.

It’s best to ensure night-time temperatures are above 40°F when planting the trees outdoors. The watering limit is 3 times per week in the first couple of weeks and after that, twice weekly and finally, reduced to a weekly frequency once the tree has established.


Whether you are in zone 9 or any other zone, do not leave anything to chance. Refer to the table above to know when to plant citrus trees in your growing zone, cross-check the weather in your area with the ideal conditions needed, and then plant the tree. This simple tactic will help you grow the crops right and get a better yield.

Don’t forget to follow the additional tips above to improve the health and survival rate of the saplings further.

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