The quest for a 2 in 1 lemon-lime tree has led many growers to search for a multi-grafted citrus tree, but there is another alternative method to achieve a multi. A 2 in 1 Lemon-Lime grafted tree that has both varieties on one rootstock is great in theory but requires constant maintenance to keep the two sides of the tree balanced. In our experience, the rootstock often directs the majority of its energy into one graft leaving the other graft to suffer. Over time if left unattended, this more vigorous graft will take over and you will be left with a tree that is predominantly one variety.
The solution to the grafted tree issue is actually to plant 2 trees in the same hole or pot. Your resulting tree will be much more balanced between varieties since they are each growing on their own roots. The main benefit is that there is reduced maintenance since both trees will be growing at a more similar rate since they are on their own roots. Both varieties should still be pruned to maintain size and keep vigorous growth in check. One of the main advantages of this technique is that you get to decide what varieties you want your multi-variety citrus tree to be. But what about the roots you might ask? Citrus trees are actually not very sensitive to being root-bound which is what makes them such great candidates for potted fruit trees.
How to plant a 2 in 1 Lemon-Lime tree:
Step 1: Choose the right location.
Choosing the right location is critical when growing any kind of plant or fruit tree. Citrus trees require a location that can provide 8+ hours of direct sunlight per day, and has well-draining soil. A quick test to see if your soil is well-draining or not is to prepare a planting hole and fill it with water. If more than two hours have passed and the hole still has not drained, consider mounding up above the native soil line with a well-draining soil mix of compost and mulch. Then plant your tree in this amended mound to give your tree the best chances of success.
If you are growing in a container then you will still want to choose a location with 8+ hours of direct sunlight per day and hopefully one with
Step 2: Prepare your planting hole.
Start by digging a hole that is about twice the volume of the containers that your trees arrived in. You can use the tree in its pot to gauge the height and width of the hole. At this point, we recommend that you do not add any fertilizer to the planting hole directly since we will fertilize later. An optional step here would be to mix up a bit of compost with some of the native soil, this will help to loosen the soil and make the transition from the pot to the ground easier on the tree. Mound up enough soil at the bottom of the hole so that the top of the root ball will sit flush with the native soil level. Now that your planting site is prepared, gently remove the tree from the container, squeezing the sides of the container if needed to loosen the rootball from the container. Plant both trees in the hole spaced about 6”-12” apart and backfill with your native soil.
If you are planning on growing in a container, choose a container that is about twice the volume of your two tree pots. Make sure that your container has adequate drainage holes and don’t be afraid to drill a few more if necessary. Once you have selected the perfect container for your trees, you will want to choose the right potting mix for your trees. Citrus trees require a well-draining soil mix like our Primo Potting Mix which is composed of 2 parts small orchid bark, and 1 part orchid mix. This mix allows water to flow right through and provides just enough nutrients for your trees. Remember that these high drainage mixes are designed to be used with fertilizer and a monthly dose of plant food will greatly increase your tree's health.
Step 3: Watering your 2 in 1 Lemon-Lime tree
Watering is where most growers tend to overdo it. If you are the type of person that forgets to water your tree from time to time, a citrus tree or 2 in 1 may be the perfect thing for you. Citrus trees are very susceptible to overwatering and prefer to have their soil dry out a bit between watering. For most growers, a deep watering every 7-10 days should be more than adequate. Of course, you will want to adjust in times of rain and extreme heat.
Step 4: Fertilizing
Feeding your fruit trees is a very important step that is often overlooked. A monthly dose of fertilizer during the growing season is all your tree will need to thrive in its new home. Make sure to follow the instructions as most fertilizers organic or inorganic will offer their guidance on how to apply their product appropriately. Stick to a citrus & fruit tree-focused fertilizer.
Step 5: Pruning
Pruning a 2 in 1 Lemon-Lime tree is just as easy as pruning single variety trees. Start from the top and decide at what point you would like branching to start and reduce the branches to that height. If you do not wish to reduce the height of the trees, simply pinching off the tips of the branches will have a similar effect and encourage branching. Keep in mind now that you have two trunks to watch out for and you will need to remove any suckers that come from below the graft line. Rootstock suckers can take over the tree if left to grow so removing this growth will be very important.
You can style the tree however you like. Some growers prefer to have a space between the two halves of the canopy and others like the trees to merge into a homogenous canopy. Unlike most fruit trees, citrus trees actually don’t require too much pruning since their canopies, like their root systems, can tolerate being quite dense. Removing dead wood and branches that rub against each other can help reduce pest and disease pressure.