I have 3 potted citrus trees (or maybe more precisely saplings: two are 16 inches high, the youngest is maybe 6 inches high), that are growing on my window ledge.

I am a little concerned, however, by the fact that they are growing very lopsided, due to the one-sided exposure to the sun: all their leaves are turning the same way.

What is the "correct" way to deal with this? Should I rotate them a little bit each day? Should I move them from window to window to ensure they have a "full day" exposure to the sun?

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(I am trying the latter right now, and have put them outside for the afternoon. However, as a side question, I am a bit concerned about the wind, especially for the youngest of the three, which has very big leaves for its size. The wind is not very strong at all, but is there a chance that it may cause harm to the sapling?)

1 Answer 1


Do not worry about lopsidedness. Yes, rotating them is beneficial. When they mature into actual trees then pruning will be indicated. Not now. Is the environment these little trees are acclimated indoors, outdoors on a window sill, indoors on a window sill or do you take them out on this patio for a while each day? A little wind is good for them. Big wind, not so much. What are you using for fertilizer and how often? Be very careful with fertilizer at this stage. They should have had a little by now but not much! When do you know to water them? They look great with the dry soil and perhaps will need to be watered soon. Do you keep them outside at night? Gotta let us know the temperature span...how hot are the daytime temps to how cold at night? What is your zone of course? Is this porch on the south side of your home (duh)? Do you expect to plant these guys outside? It will be awhile before they should be planted in the garden or even repotted. I like seeing the dryish soil, people usually water way too much. Those pots are almost too big but your little saplings look healthy. Until these little trees are able to get larger root systems be very careful watering. When they get larger and are able to utilize the amount of water in their pots then you need to water deeply before allowing to dry before watering again. Try to keep the watering to the root zone right now. The dry soil will wick water away so constant vigilance is necessary. Soaking all that soil now would easily cause root rot. The little guy and his pot are ok with their pairing. The two larger, both of them would have only required a gallon pot for this stage. Just be careful with the watering.

Each time you take them outside rotate them to another orientation. More detail from you will get you even better information. Thanks!!

  • Thanks for the through answer! For the fertilizer, what I'm using is this product ("liquid plant food," Bonide), in the water (I water them roughly every 3 days, when the soil starts to look very dry; so it depends on the season). During the night, and most of the day, they are indoors, in my office (with a window facing East); I am trying to put them outside in the afternoon, since then they wouldn't get sun in my office.
    – Clement C.
    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:59
  • My area is US, East Coast (New York), and the patio is in my department at the university. Typically, summers are humid and hot, but not too windy. As for potting them outside at some point, maybe, but probably not here -- winters tend to be very cold, so I'll wait and see where I end up next year.
    – Clement C.
    Aug 28, 2016 at 13:01

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