Ornamental Citrus tree growing is designed according to different needs and follows traditional beauty standards. The most common shapes into which they are grown are the free shape, the espalier or the round shape in pot, the bush and the half-standard tree shapes.


The free shape is the most traditional and widespread in Tuscany, being easy to be maintained as the plant grows. The main disadvantage of this shape is the early fructification of the tree, due to the necessary continuous pruning that shortens the apices of the one-year-old branches from which the tree produces fruits. The free shape is designed on boughs, which, for the first years, will be supported by frames that will give the tree the desired shape. As the tree grows, in addition to periodic pruning, it is important to cut all the inner branches, in order to foster light penetration. Pruning must privilege horizontal branches in order to obtain the desired shape. When the boughs are grown enough to keep the desired shape, the frames are removed and, afterwards, the tree will only need maintenance pruning.


The round shape is typically Tuscan, from the area of Lucca, and was born from the need of winter care. It is achieved by putting supports along the pot’s edges, their number and dimensions varying according to the result that has to be obtained. The supports are then connected with iron circles of increasing dimensions, as the tree grows. The tree’s branches are then tied to the circles, by pulling them out of the frame. As the tree grows, it is better to tie the branches to the frame, rather than to prune the plant. Every time the pot is changed, the frame must be changed as well with a bigger one, until the tree reaches the chosen dimension. One of the reasons why this form is very popular is that it favours a very early fructification. This is due to the fact that branches are constantly bended, so they can bear more fruits: in fact, a vertical branch usually bears less fruits than a drooping one, because in the latter sap collection is fostered and, as a consequence, the fruit buds grow in size.


The espalier shape became popular in the past, among those who did not have a lemon tree house where to shelter citrus trees during the winter. It is still nowadays one of the best shapes to use, both in pot and in the soil, if we want to put the citrus tree next to a wall or, as it is customary nowadays, use it as a divider. In order to get an espalier shape, young trees must be used: as they grow, their branches are interlaced and tied to the espalier frame. The frame can be made in different materials, according to where the plant is intended to be placed –either in pot or in the soil.


Bush and half-standard trees are made with plants that are grafted into straight rootstock in specific points. As they grow, they are pruned similarly to the free shape, with the various pros and cons.


The gazebo shape requires a longer process if compared to other shapes, both in the preliminary phases, when the frame is prepared, and in processing the growing plants. Gazebos can be made with either 4 or 6 trees. First, the frame must be adapted to the pot; then we must choose the most suitable trees in terms of shape and growth habit; these will be tied to the frame and, as they grow, they will be tied again several times in order to adapt them to the structure. The citrus tree requires a minimum of 3 years of processing in the nursery in order to grow enough to cover the gazebo frame with its flowers and fruits. This frame is perfect for gardens where one can enjoy the shadow and perfume under the gazebo’s vegetation, far from the summer heat.


The arch shape is easier to make if compared to the gazebo, both in the making of its frame, and in processing the growing plants. In order to make the arch frame, we pick plants with small branches, since their branches have to be bended, and thus forced. The structure can be ready in about 2 years. The arch shape can perfectly adapt to garden or house entrances.