I recently bought a Meyer lemon tree from a nursery and was wondering if I overpaid for it. So, I did some research to find out how much citrus trees cost on average. Here’s what I found.
Citrus tree prices start at about $25. Grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange trees are the most popular in the US, and young ones range from least to most expensive in that order for $25-53. Factors like how rare the variety of tree is, the tree’s age, its size, and your location can increase these prices.
Let’s take a look at the typical costs of buying the most popular types of citrus trees, as well as when and where you should buy them.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Young Citrus Tree?
Young, one-year old citrus trees are always the cheapest, with grapefruit trees costing the least at approximately $25 minimum. A young lemon tree generally costs at least $40, whereas young lime and orange tree prices start at about $45 and $53, respectively. Hardier varieties of these trees often cost more.
Starting with the least expensive ones on average, here are the typical prices for the most popular young citrus trees in the US:
Young, one-year old grapefruit tree prices start at $25 dollars.
The Ruby Red Grapefruit tree will produce those lovely, large fruits with juicy red flesh that are always served across millions of breakfast tables. This tree must be planted in a location that stays a consistent 60-85°F, as it can grow to 50-feet tall.
For a hardier, smaller grapefruit tree, you may want the Duncan Grapefruit tree. Prices for young Duncan trees start at $25. While the fruit contains a lot of seeds, many people find that it tastes excellent.
You can purchase lemon trees for as little as $40.
The most inexpensive way to purchase a lemon tree is to choose a young tree at about the one-year mark. These trees come in pots, and they’ll either need to be transferred to a larger container every 2-5 years or planted into the ground.
On the other hand, a lemon tree that is just a year or two older can cost as much as $95.
One of the least expensive one-year-old trees is the Bearss Lemon, or the True Lemon. It’s known for producing a higher amount of juice, flavor, and lemon oil. These trees grow quickly and have less thorns than other lemon trees. They’re a good option for planting in containers, as they will still produce fruit. You can buy a young Bearrs Lemon tree for as little as $40.
Another good lemon tree option is the Ponderosa. When planted in the ground, it can grow up to 24 feet tall, making it the largest lemon tree variety. These trees are particularly cold sensitive, so they require extra care in a colder climate. The Ponderosa is popular for its large fruit, beautiful leaves, and pleasant scents. You can buy a young Ponderosa for $53.
Young lime trees cost about $45 for a root cutting or $53 for a year-old plant.
For a small lime tree best suited to a container or indoor growth, you might like the Kaffir lime tree.
This tree will reach a maximum of 10 feet in height. One thing to note about Kaffir lime trees is that they don’t produce the tastiest fruit. What makes this variety popular are its leaves, which add great flavors to many Asian dishes, especially in the Thai cuisine. We have one on our property and use the leaves in Red Curry every now and then.
If it’s great fruit you want, try the Bearrs Lime tree or the Mexican Key Lime.
A dwarf Bearrs Lime will produce fruit year-round and happily live in a container. In the winter, you should bring this tree inside, where it will fill your home with a lovely fragrance. A young Bearrs usually costs at least $75.
The Mexican Key Lime’s fruit is popular in drinks. It also produces an excellent citrus aroma. These trees cost at least $140.
A young, year-old orange tree costs approximately $53.
If you’re looking at what type of orange tree to get, consider the Valencia Orange. This tree produces what many people feel is the best orange juice. Its medium-sized fruit has few seeds. When planted in the ground, a Valencia can grow to 12 feet tall. Valencia orange trees of 1-2 feet in height start at $50.
Another popular orange tree is the Calamondin. These trees are ideal for those who live in colder regions or only have a small space. It’s one of the hardiest types of citrus tree. This tree does not grow as large as other varieties, but it’s well-suited to container growing. You can purchase a young Calamondin for $90.
How Much Does a Mature Citrus Tree Cost?
A mature, dwarf citrus tree of four or five years old will cost about $100. A very mature, large citrus tree is an expensive purchase since these trees have reached their peak fruit-bearing years. Because of this, they generally cost anywhere from at least $100 to $300.
This cost usually also includes transporting trees of this size, which can be time-consuming and complicated. It is much easier and economical to purchase a young tree and wait for it to mature.
When Is the Best Time to Buy a Citrus Tree?
The best time to buy a potted citrus tree (that will need to spend the winter inside) is during the spring and after any frosts if you live in a colder climate. Young trees will need time to adjust to their new environment. Spring is also when you’ll find the best stock levels and varieties.
However, if you’re buying a citrus tree to plant in the ground, your location will determine the best buying and planting season. In areas that are never afflicted by frost, you can purchase and plant a citrus tree at any time of year (since citrus trees are evergreen, or don’t lose their leaves in the fall).
If you don’t have to worry about frost, late winter to early spring is often the best time to buy a citrus tree. This gives the tree a chance to establish a strong root network before summer heat sets in. Lemon and grapefruit trees tend to do best when planted at this time. Orange and lime trees are best planted in early to mid-spring.
Where to Buy Citrus Trees
The best place to buy citrus trees is your local nursery followed by a reputable online nursery such as fastgrowingtrees.com. Often, some home improvement stores don’t have good availability or quality of citrus trees, so they can be hit or miss. For this reason, stick to your local or reputable online nursery.
I bought several fruit trees over the years (Meyer lemon, Kaffir lime, avocado, fig, and more), and while they’ve done fairly well, I definitely found some sources were better than others.
Generally, the most common places to buy fruit trees are:
- Home Improvement Stores
- Local Nurseries
- Online Nurseries
While I like to shop around nurseries to see what kinds of citrus trees they have (I lucked out finding my Kaffir lime), I found that some regions don’t have a good selection.
Along the same line, some home improvement stores have a lack in availability and quality, especially post-covid.
Citrus Tree Buying Tips
It’s important to prepare before you actually purchase your citrus tree to ensure that it will grow well. Consider these tips as you’re thinking about buying a citrus tree:
- Research your climate and soil. Specific citrus trees will thrive in different types of soil, and some are more sensitive to cold than others.
- Prepare the soil before you plant your citrus tree.
- Find the best locations in your yard for the citrus tree you have in mind.
- Choose your tree according to its mature height. Some citrus trees grow very large, so you should make sure they won’t outgrow the room you have.
Need More Help?
You can always ask us here at Couch to Homestead, but you should know the other resources available to you! Here are the resources we recommend.
- Local Cooperative Extension Services: While we do our best with these articles, sometimes knowledge from a local expert is needed! The USDA partnered with Universities to create these free agriculture extension services. See your local services.
- 7 Easy Steps to Grow Fruit Trees (Free Guide): Need more fruit tree help from the ground up? See our free guide to make growing fruit trees a breeze.
- Ask the Free Community: Join The Couch to Homestead Community and connect with other members discussing gardening, homesteading, and permaculture.
- 30-Day Permaculture Food Forest Course: Learn how to turn your backyard into a thriving food forest in just 30 days with our online course.