Grapefruit Growing Guide

Citrus x paradisi


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Very limited. Grapefruits are semi-tropical trees with little tolerance for cold. They are hardy only to about 25°F (-4°C).


Feed twice a year by spreading rich compost or a high nitrogen organic fertilizer over the root zone of the tree.


Single Plants: 19' 8" (6.00m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 19' 8" (6.00m) with 19' 8" (6.00m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Most grapefruit cultivars are grafted onto sour orange rootstocks to improve vigor and pest resistance. Purchased plants of better cultivars start bearing three years after planting and will bear fruits of a predictable size and color, in a defined harvest period. Set out purchased plants in late winter or early spring, setting the plant so the root ball is 1 inch (2 cm) above the soil line. Water deeply every 10 days during periods of dry weather. Growing in containers is not recommended as grapefruits quickly outgrow them.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


A natural hybrid between orange and pumelo, mature grapefruit trees will produce hundreds of pounds of juicy fruits. These vigorous little trees do best in a slightly sheltered location that tames winter cold and gets baking sun in summer. Most grapefruit trees start producing three years after planting, but fruit quality may be low until the tree is more than seven years old. Grapefruits need little pruning beyond snipping out injured branches.


Grapefruits usually change color as they ripen, and ripe fruits hold well on the tree. Sample large fruits for flavor, and harvest before fruits begin falling to the ground. Keep harvested fruits in a cool place.


Several root rot diseases, leaf miners and other insects affect grapefruit, but single plants in home landscapes often outgrow minor problems.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Grapefruit