17 Citrus Trees Perfect for Growing in Indoor Containers

Citrus trees aren’t exclusive to tropical climates! In this article, Kaleigh Brillon shows you 17 citrus trees you can grow indoors to create a tropical oasis in the comfort of your home.

Small citrus trees adorned with lush, green leaves and ripe, orange fruits catch the eye. Their glossy foliage sparkles brilliantly as they bask in the warm sunlight, adding a touch of freshness and vibrancy to the landscape.


Growing your own citrus trees may seem like a pipe dream if you don’t live somewhere tropical. Before you give up on that idea completely, try growing citrus indoors. Even if there’s snow on the ground, you can grow a citrus tree inside, and it will produce delicious fruits if you care for it properly.

Indoor citrus plants are much smaller than their outdoor counterparts due to the container capping their size. If a tree can reach 30 feet outdoors, count on it not reaching half its potential inside. But, just because its size won’t be as massive doesn’t mean the fruit will be small; you can expect average fruit on smaller trees.

You’ll need the sunniest room possible for indoor trees, and you may need to supplement the light with grow lights. Let your plant stay outside during the summer so it can soak up as many rays as possible, and then bring it inside once the temperatures start to cool down. I’ll show you 17 different citrus plants you can grow indoors so you can start making your dream of a citrus orchard come true.

Buddha’s Hand

A Buddha's hand tree, laden with yellow fruits, stretches gracefully. The cluster of elongated, rough-textured fruits dangles delicately from the branches, evoking a sense of exotic allure and natural beauty in the serene landscape.
This citrus tree offers fragrant fruit and flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8-15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Also called a fingered citron, the Buddha’s hand is a unique fruit that will surely be a conversation starter in your living room. This fingered fruit may look otherworldly or like a bunch of bananas to you. Aside from looks, this fruit is unique because it’s all pith. Cutting open a finger of this fruit won’t reveal the gel-like bulbs of sour juice you’d see in lemons in limes, but instead, you’ll see pith all the way through.

What are you supposed to do with a pithy fruit? There’s a lot you can do with it because it isn’t bitter like a lemon. You can use the zest on food and drinks, turn it into jelly, or eat it raw in salads. It may be unusual, but that’s all the more reason to grow it!

Buddha’s hand is believed to be one of the first citrus species. It’s native to northeastern India but was introduced to China in the 4th century by Buddhist monks. It has fragrant flowers, and the fruits themselves are also fragrant when they’re ready for harvest at 4-8 inches long. Give the plant as much sun as possible and only water it when the soil is completely dry. Fruit typically appears after three years, but you might get lucky and only have to wait one.


A brown pot on a shelf holds a thriving clementine tree with orange fruits. Bathed in natural light by a pristine white window, it creates a serene ambiance. White cups and a jar on the windowsill complete the tranquil scene.
Often mistaken for oranges, clementines are actually mandarins, specifically an Asian variety.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x clementina
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8-12 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Clementines are those little oranges grocery stores sell by the bag, often branded with a name that reflects just how adorable they are. Clementines aren’t oranges, though; they’re mandarins. Mandarins and tangerines are the same thing, though “mandarin” refers to Asian varieties, and “tangerine” refers to African varieties. The clementine is an Asian variety but is now most associated with California and Spain.

These little fruits make the perfect indoor citrus because they’re already small trees. They have a compact growth habit that lends itself to growing in smaller spaces. It’s self-fertile, so you don’t need to worry about having more than one tree to get fruit. When kept in containers, the plant will be much smaller, but the fruit will stay the same size as if it were grown outdoors. Clementines are generally sweet and have very few seeds in them.

Finger Lime

A close-up captures the essence of finger limes, their oblong green shapes glistening with water droplets. The meticulous detailing of leaves adds a refreshing touch to the composition, highlighting nature's beauty.
These fruits produce small caviar-like pulp beads when cut open.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus australasica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height Up to 20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

If tuna is the “chicken of the sea,” then finger limes are the “caviar of the garden.” Cut open a finger lime, and you’ll see little caviar-like pulp beads pop out of the fruit. These are just like what you find in lemons and limes, but they come in the form of individual spheres rather than clusters of tear-shaped beads.

Finger lime trees have a maximum height of 20 feet, making them on the shorter side of citrus. Of course, when grown in a container, they will be much smaller.

They have a shrubby growth habit, making them a good choice for indoor growing, but watch out for the thorny branches. The 4-inch fruit will remain the same size, so you don’t need to worry about losing quantity or quality if you grow it inside.


A white pot containing dark soil hosts a thriving grapefruit tree, its leaves suggesting vitality and growth. Though lush with foliage, the tree hasn't yet borne fruits, hinting at the promise of future harvests in its burgeoning stages of development.
Discovered in the 19th century, grapefruits are a hybrid of oranges and pomelos.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x paradisi
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10-30 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Grapefruits are one of the most recent citrus discoveries. Grapefruit was found in the 19th century, growing in Jamaica and Barbados. Citrus specialists determined it was a hybrid of oranges and pomelos. These plants are sensitive to salty conditions and have sharp thorns. However, they don’t need to be pruned aside from removing damaged branches and keeping their shape.

Grapefruits are quite tart, but allowing them to ripen on the tree will make them sweeter. However, doing so might reduce how many fruits the tree makes next year.

Grapefruits grow up to 6 inches in diameter, have pink insides, and can be yellow, gold, or green on the outside. This plant can harm cats and dogs if ingested, so watch out for your furry friends if you want to grow this one in your home.

Kaffir Lime

A close-up captures kaffir lime branches adorned with lush leaves and a solitary fruit, showcasing nature's intricate beauty. The scene is bathed in gentle sunlight, highlighting the intricate textures and vibrant hues of the foliage.
A versatile citrus fruit, the Kaffir lime originates from southeast Asia.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus hystrix
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

The Kaffir lime is also called a makrut lime or Thai lime. It’s native to southeast Asia but has become so common in tropical areas that its original native area is uncertain. The fruit, flowers, rinds, and leaves can be used in soups, stir-fries, salads, marinades, and much more.

If you haven’t had one of these limes before, check your local Asian market. They don’t produce much juice, so the rind and leaves are most commonly used in cooking.

This tree works well as an indoor plant since it can grow as small as 6 feet tall. However, it does have thorns and is susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites, all of which tend to love other houseplants. The leaves are glossy and evergreen, and the fruits are green and bumpy. It’s a unique fruit that will be gorgeous on the patio or in your home.

Key Lime

A potted key lime tree flourishes with green leaves, delicate white flowers, and promising small fruits. It stands amidst a charming array of other potted plants, creating a lively and verdant garden corner full of citrusy delight.
Compact key lime trees are suitable for small spaces but potentially toxic to pets.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x aurantiifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-13 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to grow key limes at home to make delicious pies. If you’re used to seeing pictures of small green limes on pie boxes, you might be surprised to find out that key limes can be yellow when they’re ripe, depending on the cultivar. They got their name from being mostly produced in the Florida Keyes in the 19th century, though that’s not the case today.

Key lime trees are small and shrubby, reaching only 13 feet when not confined by a container. So, if you need a compact tree to fit in limited space, this one will work well for you. The fruits measure no more than 3 inches in diameter and are often almost perfectly spherical. These trees are mildly toxic to pets, so keep them out of reach.


An indoor kumquat tree flourishes in a white pot, its leaves cascading gracefully. The tree boasts an abundant harvest of numerous ripe orange fruits, adding a touch of citrus charm to its surroundings.
Ideal for indoor cultivation, kumquats require large containers.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus japonica
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 7-10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Kumquats grow well indoors since they’re so short. Be sure to give them as large of a container as possible if you want them to reach their full size, which is 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Like other citrus trees, they need full sun exposure and will do well on a patio during the summer months. Give them well-draining soil and watch them bloom with fragrant white flowers in May and June.

The fruits are orange, oblong, and just a couple of inches in length. The rind and insides are edible and can be eaten raw or prepared as preserves or jellies and used in deserts or salads. New growth on the tree is often thorny, so be careful when handling the plant. Some varieties, like the ‘Centennial Variegated,’ are mostly thornless.


A sunny yellow pot cradles a petite lemon tree adorned with vibrant green leaves, standing proudly in the center. Three plump lemons hang delicately from the tree's branches, adding a touch of citrusy charm.
With its tart juice and fragrant aroma, the lemon is versatile in culinary and aromatic applications.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus limon
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10-20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Nothing’s more iconic than the Citrus limon, otherwise known as the plain ol’ lemon. It’s known for its pucker-worthy tart juice and irresistible fragrance. The lemon is used to flavor sweet and savory dishes and to scent soap, cleaning supplies, and candles. (You might want to check out the Squeeze of the Day Candle!)

The lemon tree reaches up to 20 feet tall when growing freely outdoors but will be smaller indoors. The tree has red leaves that turn dark green as they mature and bloom with small white flowers. The plant is highly fragrant and will surely make your space smell divine. For the best results, keep the plant outdoors in the summer and bring it indoors for winter.

Mandarin Orange

Mandarin orange tree branches extend gracefully, adorned with lush green leaves and ripe fruits dangling like jewels. The warm, golden sun gently caresses the tree, casting a radiant glow upon its foliage.
Ideal for tropical and temperate climates, mandarin trees thrive indoors during winter.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus reticulata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 15-25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Mandarin trees are perfect for tropical and temperate climates, but you can grow this one in cooler areas if you bring it indoors in the winter. It likes sandy soils and can tolerate some shade, but as with other citrus trees, it will do best when exposed to as much sun as possible.

It’s susceptible to many common houseplant pests, including whiteflies, mites, aphids, and mealybugs. If you often have these pest problems, consider keeping it away from your other plants.

Mandarin fruits are no more than 3 inches in diameter, start out as bright green, and turn to a stunning orange color. The plant has evergreen leaves with thorny branches and a shrubby, compact growth habit, making it ideal for container planting. The plant is intolerant of temperatures below 40°F (4°C), so be sure to protect it from cold temperatures. 

Myrtle Leaf Orange

A close-up reveals intricate myrtle leaf orange branches, resplendent with small, vibrant leaves and clusters of ripe orange fruits. Bathed in radiant sunlight, the branches exude a warm glow.
Named for its myrtle-like leaves, the thornless myrtle leaf orange tree yields small, sour fruits.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus myrtifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height Up to 10 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

This plant gets its name because the leaves resemble those of the common myrtle tree. This tree is ideal for indoor growing because it’s a thornless variety that only reaches 10 feet tall. The fruit is typically just a couple of inches in diameter.

The myrtle leaf orange is primarily grown for decorative purposes since the fruits are so sour. You may not want to include orange slices in your salads or snack plates, but you can use them to flavor drinks or dressings or use them to create desserts or jams.

If you love the look of orange trees, this tree is a good choice for ornamental growing since it grows so much fruit that can be left on the tree for a while.

Persian Lime

A close-up reveals Persian limes nestled among lush, ovate leaves, exuding freshness. They form a striking contrast against the backdrop of a sturdy brown pot, their verdant hues enhancing the natural beauty of the arrangement.
A common lime found in stores, Persian limes turn sweeter and yellow when ripe.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x latifolia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8-20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The Persian lime is what you may refer to as a “regular” lime you’ll find in grocery stores. It’s a green fruit ranging from light to medium green, but when left on the tree, it turns yellow and becomes sweeter right before it drops off the plant. They’re rounded fruits that are slightly oblong and are a few inches in length and diameter.

When grown outdoors in the ideal hardiness zones, the evergreen tree will produce flowers and fruit all year long. This may be more difficult to accomplish since you have to bring it indoors, but if you can keep the temperature warm enough in your home or greenhouse and produce enough light for the plant, you may be able to enjoy limes come rain, sleet, or snow.

Pink Variegated Eureka Lemon

A close-up of pink variegated Eureka lemons nestled among green leaves, their citrusy aroma permeating the air. The lemons showcase a delightful contrast, boasting yellow hues adorned with striking green stripes, promising a tantalizing burst of tangy flavor.
This Citrus limon variant boasts green and yellow-striped skin with pink flesh.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus limon ‘Variegated Pink Eureka’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-10

Also called the pink lemonade tree, this unique Citrus limon variety will surely become one of your most prized plants. This cultivar was a natural mutation of a regular Citrus limon lemon tree that occurred in California. The plant was propagated via budwood and became a new cultivar that you’ll want to add to your collection.

The outside of the lemon has green and yellow stripes, making you wonder if you’re looking at a lemon or a lime. The fruit’s flesh doesn’t clear it up—it’s pink on the inside! These pink lemons won’t give you pink lemonade and don’t taste any different from your average lemon, so you can use it just as you would with normal yellow lemons. But you may want to choose this plant over a regular lemon tree purely for its ornamental value.

The tree is relatively small and will grow well in a container. Like other lemons, it needs to be protected from cold temperatures and provided with well-draining soil and as much sunlight as possible.

Ponderosa Lemon

Sunlight filters through the branches, illuminating green ponderosa lemons, their smooth surfaces gleaming in the golden glow. In the blurred background, lush leaves sway gently, also basking in the warm embrace of the sun's rays.
A hybrid lemon variety, the ponderosa lemon resembles an avocado in shape.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x pyriformis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 4-6 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The ponderosa lemon is a cross between a lemon and a citron. It’s a large fruit that’s usually spherical, though it can sometimes have an elongated neck, making it the shape of an avocado. It has a bumpy golden rind, and the fruit can reach the size of grapefruits.

Though the plant can grow quite tall, it will stay small in a container, making it a good houseplant. This tree isn’t made for cold temperatures; one frost can be enough to kill it, so if you leave this outside in the summer and fall, be sure to bring it indoors before the temperatures get too cold.

Satsuma Mandarin

A weathered brown pot cradles a flourishing Satsuma mandarin tree adorned with orange fruits. The rustic charm of the pot contrasts beautifully with the tree's lively hues, creating a picturesque scene bathed in sunlight.
Named after a Japanese location, the satsuma mandarin is grown in many southern US states.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus unshiu
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 10-15 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

The ‘Satsuma’ mandarin is named after the location in Japan where it was first recorded, though it may be native to China. This mandarin, which is sometimes called a tangerine, is popular throughout many parts of the world and is grown in many southern states in the US. The ‘Owari’ cultivar is the most popular in the US and are loved for canning and snacking.

This tree grows slowly, so some patience will be required if you want success with it. However, you’ll get to enjoy beautiful medium-sized fruits in late fall when they’re ready to harvest. Satsuma mandarins are bright orange when they’re ready and can cause the plant to droop if the tree was particularly productive, which it often is.

Sweet Orange

A close-up of a sweet orange fruit, surrounded by deep green leaves, highlighting nature's richness in color and texture. In the background, the blurred scenery reveals a tapestry of more leaves and another fruit.
A hybrid of pomelo and mandarin, the sweet orange requires careful repotting to avoid root disturbance.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x sinensis
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 8-30 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The sweet orange, also called the navel orange, is a hybrid of a pomelo and mandarin. This is probably the orange you picture when you think of oranges: large, round, and bright orange.

This tree is a little finicky; it hates to be repotted. If you need to repot it, be super careful not to disturb the roots, or you’ll have an unhappy tree. Try to choose a large container up front that will allow plenty of room for growth for many years to come so you can reduce plant stress as much as possible.

When pruning the sweet orange tree, avoid cutting new wood. Flowers grow on new wood, so removing it means losing your crop. The soil should be kept moist for the best results, though it is tolerant of drought once it’s established. Keep it outdoors for as long as possible, making sure to keep it protected from cool temperatures.


A close-up reveals tangelo fruits with a luscious orange hue, ripe and inviting. Nestled beside them are verdant leaves, their deep green contrasting beautifully with the citrusy brightness of the fruits.
A hybrid fruit, tangelos combine tangerines and grapefruits, offering a sweet-tart flavor.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x tangelo
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 8-12 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

Tangelos are a cross between tangerines (mandarins) and grapefruits. The fruit is a well-balanced mix of sweet and tart and has an easy-to-peel rind, making it the perfect snack.

The fruit is bright orange and rounded with a little neck at the stem, much like a bell or pear. The bright fruits contrast well with the dark, glossy green leaves, making this plant a gorgeous one to grow inside.

Tangelos are generally pest-free, though you should still watch out for common pest problems that affect a variety of indoor and outdoor plants you may have nearby. Keep the tree out of cool temperatures and provide it with as much sunlight as possible; however, it can tolerate partial shade but don’t expect it to be at its peak.


A close-up reveals a yuzu tree adorned with ripe yellow fruits, exuding freshness and vitality. Its lush green leaves provide a rich backdrop, enhancing the citrusy allure of the bountiful yuzu harvest in the serene setting.
Ideal for cooler climates, the yuzu tree yields tart, yellowish-orange fruits.
botanical-name botanical name Citrus x junos
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6-25 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-11

You might struggle to find a yuzu plant, which is also called a Japanese citron, but once you do, you won’t regret it. This tree is beautiful to look at and grows medium-sized yellowish-orange fruits that are round with bumpy skin. The juice is quite tart, so it’s an acquired taste that may be too much for some. 

Yuzu trees are ideal for cooler climates because they’re the most frost-tolerant citrus plant, allegedly surviving down to 10°F (-12°C). Despite this, you should still keep it away from cool temperatures and offer it plenty of sunlight so it can give you its brightest colors.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve ever felt limited by your cool climate, turn to the great indoors. Many citrus trees can thrive when they spend their summer outdoors and stay shielded from the elements for the rest of the year. As long as you give your plant as much light as possible, provide them with ample water and nutrients, and be mindful of how to prune them, you’ll be well on your way to homegrown lemons, limes, yuzus, and beyond.

A close-up of a cluster of ripe hardy kiwi berries hanging from a vine. The berries are smooth-skinned and green, with a few fuzzy red hairs at the blossom end. They appear almost jewel-like against the backdrop of dark green leaves, hinting at the juicy sweetness within.


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