Grapefruit: care, uses, and much more

The grapefruit is a very decorative fruit tree, ideal for both small and large gardens, and even in pots, since its height does not exceed 6m, and its root system is not invasive.

In addition, its rounded crown gives a little shade, so it can be planted in rows to achieve a more protected space. Learn all about this interesting fruit tree.

Index

  • 1 Characteristics of grapefruit
  • 2 How do you take care of yourself?
    • 2.1 Location
    • 2.2 Irrigation
    • 2.3 Subscriber
    • 2.4 Soil
    • 2.5 Transplantation
    • 2.6 Pruning
    • 2.7 Rusticity
    • 2.8 Pests and diseases
      • 2.8.1 Pests
      • 2.8.2 Diseases
    • 2.9 Multiplication
      • 2.9.1 Seeds
      • 2.9.2 Cuttings
  • 3 uses of grapefruit
    • 3.1 How to make grapefruit juice?
    • 3.2 The benefits of grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit Characteristics

The grapefruit, whose scientific name is Citrus x paradisi , is a fruit tree that emerged from the cross between the pummelo and the sweet orange tree in Barbados (in the West Indies). Shortly thereafter it spread throughout the Caribbean, and later throughout the rest of the world. It grows to a height of between 5 and 6 meters, with a rounded crown. The leaves are simple, alternate, ovate in shape, with a slightly toothed edge, between 7 and 15cm long, dark green on the upper side and lighter on the underside.

Its flowers are hermaphroditic, which means that they have the male and female organs in the same flower, and are fragrant, white or purple in color. The fruit has a globose shape, and measures up to 15 centimeters in diameter. It is edible, although it has a bitter taste.

How is it taken care of?

Citrus x paradisi

To have a healthy grapefruit, it is very necessary to take into account the following:

Location

It is a tree that has to be placed outside, in full sun and protected from the wind .

Irrigation

It has to be frequent . In its place of origin around 1200mm of water falls per year, so if you live in a dry climate you should water very often, preventing the soil from drying out too much, but also waterlogging, since otherwise they could rot.

Thus, it is important to check the humidity of the substrate or the soil before watering again , inserting a thin wooden stick (if it comes out practically clean, it is because it is dry), or using a moisture meter sold in nurseries.

Subscriber

It is highly recommended to fertilize from the beginning of spring to the end of summer/beginning of autumn with organic fertilizers, such as guano , earthworm humus or manure .

I usually

It grows in fresh, sandy soils with a pH between 6 and 7 . It does not tolerate salinity.

Transplant

Whether you want to move to the garden, or to a larger pot -which must be done every two years-, it has to be done in spring , when the risk of haladas has passed and temperatures begin to rise.

Pruning

It can be pruned in late winter, before the tree resumes growth. Thus, the weak and diseased branches will be removed, and the cup will be given the shape of a glass , cleaning the center so that the light can reach all the branches well.

It is advisable not to prune excessively, since the harvest decreases proportionally to the intensity of the pruning.

Rusticity

It can withstand frosts down to -3ºC , but when the temperature drops below 15ºC its growth stops. On the other hand, and unlike other fruit trees, it does not require cold hours to bear fruit.

Plagues and diseases

Cochineal on lemon tree

It can be affected by the following pests and diseases:

pests

  • Cottony mealybug : feeds on the sap of the leaves, weakening the plant. It can be treated with paraffin oil, or by removing them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol if it is a young specimen.
  • Red spider : they are mites, less than 0.5cm, that feed on the cells of the leaves, so that they end up appearing pale spots. They can be treated with potassium soap or neem oil.
  • Citrus leafminer – Leafminers are insect larvae that live inside leaves, feeding on plant cells. Soon you can see elongated and thin spots, as if they were paths. It is treated by cutting off the affected parts, and treating the tree with neem oil.

Diseases

  • Phytophthora : they are fungi that attack the fruits that are in contact with the ground. They can be prevented and treated with copper oxychloride.
  • Viruses and viroids : these are microorganisms that produce a wide variety of symptoms, such as leaf deformations, variegated petals, rickets. Once you have a diseased plant, it is best to uproot it to prevent the disease from spreading to others. Fortunately, it can be prevented by removing wild weeds that grow around it, controlling vector insects (aphids, whiteflies, thrips,…), and cleaning pruning tools before and after using them.

Multiplication

If you want to have a new specimen, you can multiply it by seeds or cuttings in spring, as follows:

Seeds

  1. First you have to, obviously, acquire the seeds. To do this, you can buy them directly online, or buy grapefruits and carefully extract them.
  2. Once you have them, it is advisable to clean them with water, keeping them in a glass for 24 hours. In this way, you will know which ones will germinate -which will be the ones that sink-, and which ones will not.
  3. The next day, you can start planting them in seed trays, pots, yogurt containers,… in short, wherever you want, with a universal culture substrate. Put a maximum of two seeds in each pot or alveolus, since this way, if both germinate, it will be easier for you to separate them.
  4. Water, and place the seedbed in an area with a lot of light, if possible direct.

After about two months they will begin to germinate.

cuttings

  • Cut a branch at least 20cm long, making an oblique cut (not straight).
  • Next, moisten its base with water and then impregnate it with powdered rooting hormones.
  • Then plant it in a pot with a porous substrate, such as black peat mixed with 40% perlite.
  • Water it.
  • And finally put it in an area protected from direct sun.

If all goes well, it will root in a maximum of three months .

uses of grapefruit

Citrus x paradisi

This is a very decorative tree that is often used to decorate gardens. But… did you know that it has other uses? In fact, it can help you lose weight, since it is a diuretic and depurative . In addition, it is very low in calories (it only has 37 per 100 grams), and it is high in vitamins C (40 mg) and A (80 mg).

How to make grapefruit juice?

If you want to drink grapefruit juice to lose weight or simply to refresh yourself, you will only need two grapefruits and a small spoonful of honey or whole cane sugar .

You got it? If so, now you just have to wash the fruits well, cut them in half, and squeeze them . Once ready, all you have left is  to serve it in a glass with water , and sweeten it to taste.

The benefits of grapefruit seed extract

The seed extract of this amazing fruit has multiple health benefits. It serves as an  antibiotic ,  antifungal ,  anti- inflammatory ,  antioxidant,  cardiotonic , and  antiseptic .

In order to take advantage of them and have good health, it is recommended to take 15 to 20 drops of the liquid extract for 2 to 4 weeks .

And with this we end the special on grapefruit. What do you think of this fruit tree?

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