10 Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers | How & When To Use Them

Last update: December 28, 2021

Fertilizer is not only important for plants but trees as well.

If you grow citrus trees or are planning to grow citrus trees then making sure you feed it plenty of fertilizer will help to boost its chances of thriving and producing bountiful fruits while also helping the tree to fight against disease.

However, before you purchase your fertilizer, there is a lot that you need to know about what citrus trees need to thrive as well as the best citrus tree fertilizers on the market so you can make a well informed decision with confidence.

We’ve also included the ways to achieve the best results and an FAQ where we answer the most commonly asked questions so you can know what to look out for when conducting your research.

What Fertilizer Do Citrus Trees Need?

The first thing that you need to understand is what kind of fertilizer citrus tree need.

The general rule of thumb is that citrus trees need a balanced 6-6-6 fertilizer made up of N-P-K. The N-P-K are the macronutrients that go into the fertilizer and consists of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) that also incorporates plenty of micronutrients which includes boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.

Make sure that the soil that the citrus trees are planted in is slightly acidic as this will help to encourage the fertilizer to activate the nutrients faster.

When growing a citrus tree in a container, always make sure that the fertilizer you use has a higher nitrogen content while balanced fertilizers are required for trees that are planted directly in the ground in an open space.

There are a variety of different citrus tree fertilizers that you can choose from including chemical based formulas that incorporate synthetic ingredients or an all natural and organic fertilizer which includes natural ingredients.

There are pros and cons with each as chemical based formulas are more harmful to the tree but they work faster while organic fertilizers take more time to generate results but will not harm the tree.

Here are the different kinds of citrus tree fertilizer that you can purchase:

Concentrates And Liquid Fertilizer Spray

The first kind of fertilizer that you should consider and the most commonly found is a concentrate or liquid spray. This is the cheapest option which makes it ideal for those who are working on a budget.

The way that this solution works is by diluting it and mixing it with water to ensure that the macro and micronutrients are not as concentrated when they are applied to the soil.

The great thing about concentrates and liquid fertilizer spray is that it is versatile for all kinds of plants and there are solutions for different species of trees and plants meaning that you are sure to find the perfect product for you.

Granules

The second option you can consider is using fertilizer granules which are highly convenient as you don’t have to worry about diluting or mixing them with anything before using.

They are simple to apply as you sprinkle them across the top of your soil or dig them beneath the surface using a scoop.

The great thing about using granules is that you can look at the instructions on the packaging to inform you on how much to use depending on the size of your tree.

Spikes And Sticks

Lastly, another form of citrus tree fertilizer are spikes and sticks. These are best for those who don’t have a lot of time to fuss around their garden as they work differently to the previous options.

Fertilizer spikes and sticks work by simply inserting them into the ground where they will then distribute the nutrients to each part of the tree.

Spikes and sticks are usually more expensive than other methods but they are cheaper in the long run as you don’t need to apply them as much compared to sprays and granules where you would have to purchase more units.

Quick Comparison: Top Picks For Citrus Tree Fertilizers

#1 Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Citrus
Our rating
4.5/5
Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed CitrusMiracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Citrus
#2 Espoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant Food
Our rating
4.5/5
Espoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant FoodEspoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant Food
#3 J R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer
Our rating
4.5/5
J R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food FertilizerJ R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer
#4 Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes
Our rating
4.5/5
Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food SpikesMiracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes
#5 Jobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes
Our rating
4.5/5
Jobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree SpikesJobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes
#6 Dr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly Bag
Our rating
4.5/5
Dr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly BagDr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly Bag
#7 Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes
Our rating
4.5/5
Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food SpikesMiracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes
#8 Jobe's 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & Citrus
Our rating
4.5/5
Jobe's 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & CitrusJobe's 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & Citrus
#9 Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3
Our rating
4.5/5
Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3
#10 EZ-gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer
Our rating
4.5/5
EZ-gro Citrus Tree FertilizerEZ-gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer

10 Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers

Now that you know the basics of what to look out for in citrus tree fertilizers, you’re in a position where you will know what to expect when conducting your research.

However, there are so many options on the market which can be overwhelming so we have gathered the top ten citrus tree fertilizers that are available on the market that you should consider.

Whether you are new to growing citrus trees or have been growing them for years, you’re bound to find the right option for you.

Here are the top ten citrus tree fertilizers:

Best Overall: Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Citrus

Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed CitrusMiracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Citrus
Our first recommendation is the Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Citrus which is great for using on new or existing citrus trees making it versatile for use in any garden.

This fertilizer contains an array of ingredients including iron, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur which helps to improve all kinds of common nutrient deficiencies.

It provides your tree with all the nutrients it needs to thrive for three months while also preventing any overfeeding or burning when it is used as directed. This means that you can take the guesswork out of feeding your tree.

Pros

  • Great for using on new or existing citrus trees making it versatile for use in any garden
  • Contains an array of ingredients including iron, magnesium, potassium, and sulfur which helps to improve all kinds of common nutrient deficiencies
  • Provides your tree with all the nutrients it needs to thrive for three months while also preventing any overfeeding or burning when it is used as directed

Cons

  • The spout is large so extra care is needed

Runner Up: Espoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant Food

Espoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant FoodEspoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant Food
Our second selection is the Espoma CT4 4-Pound Citrus-tone 5-2-6 Plant Food which is an all natural and organic plant food that has been enhanced with thousands of living microbes and has been approved for organic gardening.

This fertilizer is great for all kinds of trees including, citrus, fruit, and nut as it provides safe, continuous, and completely balanced feeding which helps the development of the entire tree.

This all natural organic fertilizer has been formulated to produce abundant and flavorful citrus fruit.

The formula has been based on university recommendations and the four pound bag means that you will have plenty of fertilizer for your trees.

Pros

  • Is an all natural and organic plant food that has been enhanced with thousands of living microbes and has been approved for organic gardening
  • Great for all kinds of trees including, citrus, fruit, and nut as it provides safe, continuous, and completely balanced feeding which helps the development of the entire tree
  • Has been formulated to produce abundant and flavorful citrus fruit

Cons

  • Has a strong odor

Alternative: J R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer

J R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food FertilizerJ R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer
Our third choice is the J R Peters Inc 52524 Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-10-20 Citrus Food Fertilizer which has been designed to provide the optimum combination of nutrients that are needed by plants specifically in the citrus group.

The formula has been enhanced with micronutrient levels which helps to produce vibrant green leaves, strong branches, and more fruit.

The advanced formulation has been made using the highest quality nutrients available thus delivering professional results to your garden.

This fertilizer will allow your plants to uptake the nutrients through the entire tree when used as directed. It can be used on a variety of fruiting plants including citrus trees making it great for those who want to grow all kinds of fruits.

Pros

  • Has been designed to provide the optimum combination of nutrients that are needed by plants specifically in the citrus group
  • Has been enhanced with micronutrient levels which helps to produce vibrant green leaves, strong branches, and more fruit
  • The advanced formulation has been made using the highest quality nutrients available thus delivering professional results to your garden

Cons

  • High price point

Alternative: Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes

Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food SpikesMiracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes
Our fourth recommendation is the Miracle-Gro Fruit & Citrus Plant Food Spikes which help to promote more fruit and foliage when compared to unfed plants and trees.

This fertilizer has been made with natural ingredients and only has to be fed to the plant once per season in the Spring and Fall.

It is incredibly versatile as it can also be used on palm trees making it great for those who want to grow exotic trees or plants.

The spikes are easy to use as they release the nutrients directly into the root zone which helps to promote strong fruit, citrus, and palm trees.

Pros

  • Has been made with natural ingredients and only has to be fed to the plant once per season in the Spring and Fall
  • Is incredibly versatile as it can also be used on palm trees making it great for those who want to grow exotic trees or plants
  • Are easy to use as they release the nutrients directly into the root zone which helps to promote strong fruit, citrus, and palm trees

Cons

  • The cap can be hard to remove

Alternative: Jobe’s 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes

Jobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree SpikesJobe's 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes
Our fifth selection is the Jobe’s 1612 Fruit & Citrus Tree Spikes which requires no mixing or measuring making them the perfect choice for those who want a quick and easy solution.

There is no chemical runoff and it will not burn the plants when it is applied as directed.

This fertilizer provides a continuous supply of nutrients below the surface where the active roots are growing while the slow release formula lasts all season without any mess, hazard, or smells.

Insert the spikes in early spring and late fall so you don’t have to worry about feeding the tree on a frequent basis and the spikes are formulated for fruit, citrus, and nut trees making them extremely versatile in use.

Pros

  • Requires no mixing or measuring making them the perfect choice for those who want a quick and easy solution
  • Provides a continuous supply of nutrients below the surface where the active roots are growing while the slow release formula lasts all season without any mess, hazard, or smells
  • Insert the spikes in early spring and late fall so you don’t have to worry about feeding the tree on a frequent basis and the spikes are formulated for fruit, citrus, and nut trees making them extremely versatile in use

Cons

  • Not easy to insert

Alternative: Dr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly Bag

Dr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly BagDr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly Bag
Our sixth choice is the Dr. Earth 708P Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer In Poly Bag which stimulates healthy root development for healthier fruit.

This fertilizer has been made with 100% organic and natural ingredients and contains no GMOs, chicken manure, or sewage sludge so you can be assured that the fertilizer is friendly towards all trees and plants.

It feeds for several months so you don’t have to worry about frequent maintenance and contains pro-biotic, seven champion strains of beneficial soil microbes plus ecto and endo mycorrihizae stimulate hearty root development.

This fertilizer will help to develop more nutritious fruits, stable and consistent plant growth, and no spike growth while ensuring a 100% natural and organic ingredient list for more abundant sets.

Exceptional results are guaranteed as the nutrients are released quickly while feeding the plant or tree for everal months with consistent premium quality.

Pros

  • Has been made with 100% organic and natural ingredients and contains no GMOs, chicken manure, or sewage sludge so you can be assured that the fertilizer is friendly towards all trees and plants
  • It feeds for several months so you don’t have to worry about frequent maintenance and contains pro-biotic, seven champion strains of beneficial soil microbes plus ecto and endo mycorrihizae stimulate hearty root development
  • Will help to develop more nutritious fruits, stable and consistent plant growth, and no spike growth while ensuring a 100% natural and organic ingredient list for more abundant sets

Cons

  • Not suitable for those who have dogs as the fertilizer is toxic

Alternative: Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes

Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food SpikesMiracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes
Our seventh recommendation is the Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food Spikes which feeds all flowering and foliage houseplants as well as citrus trees making it versatile for all kinds of use.

This fertilizer is great for those who don’t want to fuss over their plants and trees as it can feed them for up to two months. It is safe for all plants and trees when it is used as directed.

This fertilizer has been made with a formula containing micronutrients that has been specially formulated for versatile use so you can get the best results.

Pros

  • Feeds all flowering and foliage houseplants as well as citrus trees making it versatile for all kinds of use
  • Great for those who don’t want to fuss over their plants and trees as it can feed them for up to two months. It is safe for all plants and trees when it is used as directed
  • Has been made with a formula containing micronutrients that has been specially formulated for versatile use so you can get the best results

Cons

  • The spikes can break very easily

Alternative: Jobe’s 04226 Fertilizer Spikes For Fruit & Citrus

Jobe's 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & CitrusJobe's 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & Citrus
Our eighth selection is the Jobe’s 04226 Fertilizer Spikes for Fruit & Citrus which provides an efficient delivery system for organics which is ideal for fruit and citrus trees.

This product is available in a six pack re-sealable pouch and is an all natural and organic fertilizer with no synthetic chemicals. This fertilizer helps to promote root growth of trees while improving nutrient absorption of trees and the soil quality.

It can also help the trees resist disease and is safe for the environment so you can be sure that you’re going to have trees that thrive.

Pros

  • Available in a six pack re-sealable pouch and is an all natural and organic fertilizer with no synthetic chemicals
  • Helps to promote root growth of trees while improving nutrient absorption of trees and the soil quality
  • Can help the trees resist disease and is safe for the environment so you can be sure that you’re going to have trees that thrive

Cons

  • Unsuitable for those with dogs

Alternative: Down To Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3

Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3
Our penultimate choice is the Down to Earth Organic Citrus Fertilizer Mix 6-3-3 which is a one pound box of all natural fertilizer with 6-3-3 formula and has been listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic production.

This fertilizer has been formulated with primary and secondary plant nutrients such as calcium, iron, sulfur, and zinc as well as selected micronutrients.

It helps to supply the proper ration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which helps to promote new growth, green foliage, fragrant blossoms, and healthy fruit.

This is an excellent option for all kinds of citrus trees and can be used on other fruit trees making it great for those who love to grow all kinds of fruit.

This fertilizer has been made with the best ingredients including alfalfa meal, basalt, feather meal, fish bone meal, greensand, kelp meal, langbeinite, sulfate of potash, and zinc sulfate to ensure that your trees get all the nutrients they need.

Pros

  • Has been formulated with primary and secondary plant nutrients such as calcium, iron, sulfur, and zinc as well as selected micronutrients
  • Helps to supply the proper ration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which helps to promote new growth, green foliage, fragrant blossoms, and healthy fruit
  • Has been made with the best ingredients including alfalfa meal, basalt, feather meal, fish bone meal, greensand, kelp meal, langbeinite, sulfate of potash, and zinc sulfate to ensure that your trees get all the nutrients they need

Cons

  • Has a strong odor

Alternative: EZ-Gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer

EZ-gro Citrus Tree FertilizerEZ-gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer
Our final recommendation is the EZ-gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer which has been specially formulated for a variety of tropical fruit trees as well as dwarf or large varieties, with or without seeds.

You can give both indoor and outdoor plants the nutrients they need to bear a larger quantity of abundant and healthy fruit.

This fertilizer supplies high grade nutrients directly to the root thanks to the powerful cocktail of all the nutritional content your plants need.

Whether your plants are indoors or outs, this is ideal for all live plants and needs to be mixed with water before applying to soil.

This fertilizer has been infused with a micronutrient package which delivers the optimal nutrition for plants in the citrus group thanks to the added iron, magnesium, and potassium to help improve common nutrient deficiencies in citrus trees.

The advanced formula helps to deliver nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash in the right ratio so your citrus trees to thrive to provide the highest quality nutrients available so you can have professional results for your citrus and tropical fruit trees.

This fertilizer comes with a free measuring cup and simply needs to be shaken well and mixed with water before use and applied as directed.

Pros

  • Supplies high grade nutrients directly to the root thanks to the powerful cocktail of all the nutritional content your plants need
  • Has been infused with a micronutrient package which delivers the optimal nutrition for plants in the citrus group thanks to the added iron, magnesium, and potassium to help improve common nutrient deficiencies in citrus trees
  • Helps to deliver nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash in the right ratio so your citrus trees to thrive to provide the highest quality nutrients available so you can have professional results for your citrus and tropical fruit trees

Cons

  • High price point

Fertilizing Citrus Trees

Once you have made your decision, it’s time to actually apply the fertilizer.

Although it may be simple to apply when you know what to do, there are specific instructions on how to apply the product in order to generate the best results.

You should find that the older the tree is, the more fertilizer will need to be applied as it should be larger than a new tree.

If you have a new tree and are unsure then applying half a pound of solution is a safe bet as this is unlikely to burn through the tree.

All fertilizers come with instructions on their labels and you should follow this directly but here are some quick steps so you can learn what to expect when the product arrives:

1. Choose Your Fertilizer

The first thing you will have to do is choose your fertilizer. As mentioned earlier in this guide, organic fertilizer is kinder to the trees meaning that they are less likely to burn the tree but can take longer to activate all the nutrients.

On the other hand, chemical fertilizers will work faster but they can be harmful to the tree if the appropriate amount is not applied.

2. Measuring The Fertilizer

The next step you need to take is to measure how much fertilizer you need. This is dependent on how old your tree is and its size.

There are certain tips you can follow to figure out how much fertilizer you will need. Start by measuring the trunk of the tree by its diameter and multiply the number by 0.10 pounds which will give you the nitrogen amount.

Once you have the nitrogen figure, you can look at the N-P-K numbers on the packaging of your fertilizer which will dictate how much nitrogen you will need per pound.

This will be the N figure. Now you wull need to calculate the number of how much fertilizer you need to apply which is done by dividing how much nitrogen the tree needs by the amount of nitrogen per pound.

3. Applying The Fertilizer

Now you need to apply the fertilizer by spreading about one foot away from the trunk of tree.

Depending on what kind of fertilizer you choose, you can either apply the product on top of the soil or dig it beneath the surface.

Make sure that it is applied evenly and is given enough room to spread the nutrients to benefit the whole tree, including the roots.

4. Finishing Touches

Once the fertilizer has been applied, pour some compost on top of the fertilizer and around the tree before watering the surface thoroughly to allow the fertilizer to mix in and begin to activate the nutrients.

When To Fertilize Citrus Trees

Compared to other plants and trees, citrus trees are demanding when it comes to their fertilizing requirements.

Luckily, modern formulas allow minimum feeds as the fertilizer is slow releasing meaning that the tree will benefit from the nutrients over a certain period of time.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you feed your citrus tree at the start of spring and the start of fall as this will ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need through their active growth period as well as the months when they are dormant.

If you want the tree to bear results as fast as possible then make sure that you stick to a feeding schedule to promote healthy and fast fruit growth.

When you have had your tree for a long time, you’ll be able to sense when it is time to apply more fertilizer from signs such as discoloration of the leaves.

How Often You Need To Apply Fertilizer

Following on from when you need to apply the fertilizer, you need to learn about how often you should apply it.

This will mean that you don’t overfeed or underfeed the tree which can kill it prematurely. It is important that you follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging directly as this will give you the exact amount of fertilizer that you will need to apply.

The basic rule to follow is that trees that are planted in containers will need feeding every two to three weeks as they don’t get the exposure of nutrients from fresh soil as trees that are planted in open ground do.

During the spring and summer months when the citrus tree is in its active growing season, you can apply a little bit of fertilizer around once a month if you want to boost its growth whereas the tree may need a little bit less fertilizer as this is during the tree’s dormant months when it needs exposure to nutrients to prevent it from dying while still allowing it to thrive so fertilizing it once every three months during this time is ideal.

Best Citrus Tree Fertilizers FAQ

Is Epsom Salt Good For Citrus Trees?

Epsom salt can be good for certain citrus trees such as lemon trees but they require a certain mixture of soil nutrients to generate the best results.

Epsom salt is particularly helpful if your soil has been worked thoroughly or has been deprived of magnesium as it can provide plenty of helpful nutrients and allow seeds to germinate, produce more color and bountiful fruit and help to deter a variety of pests so you can have peace of mind that your tree is safe from harm.

When Should You Not Fertilize Citrus Trees?

The time when you should fertilize your citrus tree is important as the amount that you apply varies depending on the time of year.

Citrus fruit trees that grow in the spring and summer months and the fertilizer provides the tree with plenty of nitrogen which means that the leaves will have more vibrant color while bearing an abundance of fruit.

On the other hand, for citrus fruit trees that thrive during the fall and winter months, the fertilizer should contain phosphorus and potassium which encourages and promotes healthy fruit growth.

You should feed your tree once a month during the summer months and then once every three months during the fall and winter months.

Do You Fertilize Citrus When Fruiting?

Citrus trees are fertilized while they are fruiting and in these instances, you can increase the amount of fertilizer slightly in order to generate a speedier and more bountiful results.

By this point, you should be able to gage what is healthy for your tree as you don’t want to risk applying too much fertilizer which can be harmful towards the tree.

Conclusion

Now that you know everything about citrus tree fertilizers, you can make the best decision depending on the conditions of the tree and its size.

Whether you are new to growing citrus trees or are an avid gardener, you’ll be able to benefit from the this guide and build up confidence in making a well informed decision.

Knowing what kind of fertilizer you want to use is important as this can determine how much you need to apply in order to prevent burning the tree from applying too much or underfeeding from applying too little.