Pomelo or Grapefruit tree – advice on caring for it

pomelo tree

The Grapefruit tree, sometimes called pomelo, is a citrus plant with fleshy and tasty fruits.

Grapefruit tree facts, a summary

NameCitrus paradisi
FamilyRutaceae (Rue family)
Height – 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters)

Exposure – full sun
Soil – well-drained

Foliage – evergreen – Flowering – Autumn – Harvest – winter

Caring for it from planting to pruning, largely contributes to the quality of the grapefruit harvest.

Planting grapefruit tree

Planting grapefruit tree directly in the ground

  • Preferably in spring.
  • Choose a sheltered spot well-endowed with sunlight.
  • Pomelo and grapefruit don’t survive temperatures lower than 23°F (-5°C) and must not be subjected to freezing too long.

Planting a potted grapefruit tree

  • Growing plants in pots is best for all your citrus if it freezes in your area.
  • You’ll have to bring them indoors from October to May.
  • Repot upon purchasing into soil mix and then every 2 or 3 years.

Pruning the grapefruit tree

Flower of the pomelo treeNo pruning is really needed for the grapefruit tree, but if you don’t prune your pomelo tree, it will quickly grow very large.

To support fruit formation, reduce each new shoot by about half its length, taking great care to cut just above a pair of leaves, an eye, a bud.

  • This will help your citrus keep a nice, compact shape.
  • You might need to do this several times a year.

Cut off dead wood as you notice it, and if possible clear the center of the grapefruit tree to let light penetrate to the center.

Learn more about the grapefruit or pomelo tree

Pomelo hanging from a branch.Grapefruit isn’t the same as the pomelo tree (Citrus maxima).

Grapefruit is a cross between pomelo and orange, whereas pomelo fruit itself tends to be very large, somewhat pear-shaped with thick skin, and is not so edible because it tastes very sour.

Pomelo, within the citrus family, is the plant that produces the largest and heaviest fruits.

It is grown in the Mediterranean area and warmer climates and should be brought inside, away from freezing over the winter in cooler climates.

Harvesting pomelo

Large round green pomelo fruit hanging from a branch.Grapefruits and pomelo are harvested when fruits have developed a nice yellow color and easily detach from their stem.

Take note that pomelo doesn’t mature anymore when picked, so harvest only when ripe.

Read more about citrus trees

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Large, green pomelo (also on social media) by Dean Moriarty under Pixabay license
Flowers of the pomelo grapefruit by an anonymous photographer under Pixabay license
Small pomelor or grapefruit forming by King under Pixabay license
Pomelo in the wild (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work