12 Trees Landscape Designers Love for Containers

Moss Landscaping
2. Dwarf Citrus
(Citrus spp.)

Why this tree: Dwarf lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges and kumquats are stars in container gardens. They’re naturally small but can be kept even smaller with pruning. “I really like dwarf citrus, because it stays green all year and you can add seasonal plants under it and make it decorative,” says landscape designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery of Boxhill in Tucson, Arizona. She likes to give a dwarf lime tree and a six-pack of Corona beer as a housewarming gift.

Growing tips: You’ll need to start with the right container. “A large pot is necessary to provide insulation from hot air temperatures for roots,” says horticulturalist Noelle Johnson of Phoenix. In hot desert climates, she recommends choosing a spot with afternoon shade and keeping the plants away from areas with reflected heat, such as walls.

Growing citrus in containers also makes it possible for gardeners and citrus lovers in colder regions to enjoy the fresh fruit. If you have a sunny and warm spot indoors, let the plants spend the winters there.

Where it will grow: Hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 3.9 degrees Celsius (zones 9 to 11); in colder areas, plan to bring it indoors during the winter. In warmer areas, cover it (or thread its branches with old-fashioned outdoor holiday lights) when frosty nights are expected.
Water requirement: Moderate; less once established
Light requirement: Full sun, ideally about 8 hours per day
Mature size: Varies from 2 to 8 feet tall; it can handle pruning to keep it in check

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