As some of the most commonly purchased fruits on the market, citrus fruits are incredibly popular for their taste and health benefits. But, did you know there are many more benefits to citrus trees when you grow them yourself indoors? This article will cover the many uses and benefits of indoor citrus trees, from taste to productivity and more.
About Indoor Citrus Trees
Citrus are some of the most popular trees worldwide, traded across continents and grown often in home gardens. As the rise of indoor gardening grows over the years, these trees are also gaining popularity among indoor gardeners for their ability to produce fruit reliably indoors.
This common name for a large group is actually the genus name, containing hundreds of different species and cultivars that have been domesticated and grown commercially for years. The Citrus genus is placed in the Rutaceae family, full of colorful and attractive trees and shrubs with even better fruits.
The many species are primarily native to the eastern hemisphere, from Asia to Australia. Their tropical habitats explain their affinity for warm temperatures and high humidity, making them beautiful candidates for growing indoors.
The more compact dwarf species of citrus are the most suited to indoor growth. Try one of these popular fruits that grow well in containers:
Apart from their ability to grow indoors, these wonderful fruiting trees have many benefits for yourself and your home, making them ideal choices for both new and experienced plant parents. Citrus trees are also rich in meaning and symbolism.
The Uses and Benefits of Indoor Citrus Trees
1) Indoor Citrus Trees Delicious Fruits
The first benefit is also the reason why most choose to grow these trees in the first place – fruits. Very few fruiting plants grow well and produce indoors, with many requiring a cold period to induce fruiting. Citrus plants are tropical and love heat, making them one of the few actually to produce fruits indoors.
These colorful beauties are delicious and suit any taste. Sweeter fruits are ideal for eating as is or combining in a fresh fruit salad to start your morning. The sourer options, such as the ever-popular lemon, are great garnishes for almost any dish, adding a much-needed punch. Or, use any of the fruits or their skins to flavor teas, which are popular among health enthusiasts.
The kitchen is not the only place where the fruits are useful. They can also be used to make natural cleaning products, freshening up everything from your dishes to your washing. The acidic quality of citrus juice is helpful for cleaning, but not harsh enough to do as much damage as commercial cleaning products can.
2) Citrus Trees Produce Useful Leaves
The fruits are the first thing indoor gardeners may reach for but don’t overlook the benefits of the leaves either. They aren’t just there to look pretty – they also have uses in the kitchen and around the home too.
Drinks are a popular choice for citrus leaves, from tea to soda and more. They can also be used in curries in a similar way as bay leaves or folded around finger foods to preserve moisture and flavor. Limes are particularly popular for this purpose, and many smaller types make excellent container plants to pop in your kitchen and harvest as needed.
3) Indoor Citrus Tree Health Benefits
Anyone interested in health and wellness will have undoubtedly heard about the extensive health benefits of citrus fruits. They are often the first fruits we reach for when we’re sick and are touted as an ideal addition to a healthy diet year-round.
Containing high levels of carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols, these fruits are great for strong heart health and have the ability to protect against cancer. The high levels of vitamin C improve the immune system and also improve skin health, giving you that glow from within that many are after.
Directly eating the fruit is not the only way to receive health benefits. The nutrients in citrus fruits actually improve the absorption of nutrients from other foods, particularly iron. Adding citrus to iron-rich foods like beans or fish will boost the health benefits while making the dish that much tastier.
Citrus fruits are also largely made up of water, along with other juicy fruits like tomatoes and cucumbers. While they won’t fulfill your 8 glasses of water for the day, they contribute to overall hydration and by extension, overall health.
4) Citrus Tees Produce a Lovely Fragrance
Take a look at any perfume shop, and you’ll notice citrus featuring widely. These plants have a light and summery fragrance that is always present when growing indoors. A light breeze or a crunch of a leaf as you walk past will fill any room with its popular aroma.
If you want to make the scent even more pronounced, you can simply boil the fruits (with their skins) in a pot of water to release their smell. You can make your own room or linen spray using the juice and skins for a more long-term solution. And, if you’re really committed, you can even make your own natural perfume using citrus fruits.
The leaves aren’t excluded from this benefit either. They are ideal candidates for potpourri, combined with other flowers and fruits to create a unique scent to your home.
5) Indoor Citrus Trees Provide Unique Ornamental Value
Even when you’re not using the plant, it still has the ability to add value to your home. These trees make wonderful houseplants purely for the ornamental value they add. The glossy foliage and strong stems quickly fill space, and their tall branches make ideal feature pieces for empty and uninspiring corners.
With due care, citrus trees can thrive in a range of home and office environments. Just be sure to provide the best growing conditions including suitable light, temperature and humidity, regular waterings, and occasional repotting, pruning, and fertilizing. They’re also largely pest and disease resistant.
The ornamental value is even greater when the plants are fruiting. They add a pop of bright and fiery color that complements any room. An abundant fruiting tree contributes to happy, positive energy within your home that very few other houseplants can replicate.
There is also just something special about adding a looming tree indoors. They have the ability to capture the eye immediately, but they also make a room feel closer to nature, coming as close to blending the indoors and outdoors as you can.
6) Indoor Citrus Trees Can Help Purify the Air
The ability of houseplants to clean the air has been widely documented and spread across the internet. Much of this information stems from the 1989 NASA Clean Air Study, in which scientists tested the ability of certain houseplants to purify the air of harmful volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs.
While citrus trees were not included in this initial study (understandably, since they aren’t commonly thought of as houseplants first), the overall results can be extrapolated across all plants placed indoors, some are certainly better at removing harmful compounds than others, but all plants that were tested showed some positive effects on indoor air quality.
The more plants you can fit in your home, the better the air purifying qualities will be. Unfortunately, that’s a bit difficult for large citrus trees, but it is an excuse to grow several species in your home, along with many other houseplants, to maximize the benefits.
7) Citrus Trees are Beneficial in Feng Shui
Citrus trees are commonly referred to in Feng Shui, a practice that uses the orientation of objects in your home to improve the flow of energy and harmony within the space. According to Feng Shui principles, citrus trees bring their owners good luck and financial prosperity when correctly placed and well cared for.
For this reason, citrus trees belong in the wealth area of the Bagua map, usually in the southeast area of the home. Luckily, this is also the perfect condition for optimal growth as these trees require a couple of hours of direct light per day to produce fruits. Make sure the trees are healthy and well looked after to avoid any negative energy within your home.
8) Citrus Trees May Provide Some Mental Health Benefits
Citrus trees aren’t only good for your body – they’re good for your mind too. Several studies have been conducted into the effects of plants and nature in general on mental health, especially in recent years. Many of these studies have proven the cognitive benefits of not only existing around but also interacting with houseplants.
For more evidence into the effectiveness of plants on mental health, look no further than the field of therapeutic horticulture. This form of therapy advocates for interacting with plants and particularly for exploring the five senses through nature to boost happiness and overall wellness.
To get the most out of these benefits, make sure you continually interact with your citrus tree. Find joy in caring for them and take the time to make them look good. This will add to their ornamental value while also increasing a sense of accomplishment.
9) Citrus Trees May Boost Your Productivity
Citrus trees also make wonderful office plants, not only for their scent or looks, but for the influence, they have on your productivity. Studies on the impact of office plants on workers’ productivity showed it increased, sometimes by up to 15%.
Office plants are also shown to improve workers’ attitudes toward their work and overall mood at work, linking back to their extensive mental health benefits. As long as you have the right lighting conditions to keep these trees happy indoors, they make lovely office plants.
The Benefits of Indoor Citrus Trees – The Final Word
The benefits of citrus trees are known to many as we are all already familiar with the fruit. However, you can get so much more out of these plants when you grow them yourself.
For more, see our in-depth guide to whether citrus trees are pet friendly.
Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.