So it is with all my citrus; they grow real pretty, but they never bloom. More accurately, they never re-bloom.
For 11 long winters in New England, envisioning a poor man's orangerie in the sun-room, I've brought home citrus that were in prime health when they left the garden centers, all budded up and ready to flower. Calamondin, lime, lemon, orange, kumquat. I've tried 'em all, enjoying the sweet-sharp fragrances – and even a few pieces of fruit once in a while. Welcome winter treats evoking warm images of perfumed paradise.
|In the basement, on borrowed time?|
No blooms, no fruit. Nothing but leaves and thorns on one plant after another. I waited patiently, then impatiently, then I composted them. As if my failures were their fault.
It had to be me. I tried to learn what I was doing wrong. Everything I read said citrus could be difficult to grow indoors, but not impossible. I gave them what they were supposed to want: humidity, good light, cool nighttime temperatures. Food, but not too much. Ditto on water.
This winter, I took a different tack. Deprivation. Somebody told me that might work. So, when autumn turned chilly, I put my latest victim, a 4-foot lime, in the unheated basement and began withholding water and food, giving the plant just enough moisture and light to keep it alive.
If this plan is sound, I figured this tree would have flowers or at least buds by now. It doesn't.
I can think of only one more possible reason for my failure: Maybe I'm not holding my mouth right.
My sorry citrus history reminds me – again – that gardening keeps you humble. It is not a contest; nature always has the last say. Until I say it's outtta here.