Grapefruit Growing Guide

Citrus x paradisi


Crop Rotation Group



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


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Low. Grapefruits are semi-tropical trees with some cold tolerance. They are hardy only to about -4°C (25°F).


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


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

Sow and Plant

Most grapefruit cultivars are grafted onto rootstocks to improve vigour and pest resistance. Purchased plants of better cultivars start bearing three years after planting and will bear fruits of a predictable size and colour, in a defined harvest period. Set out purchased plants in late winter or early spring, setting the plant so the root ball is 2cm (1 inch) 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 personalised 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 colour as they ripen, and ripe fruits hold well on the tree. Sample large fruits for flavour, 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. In Australia fruit fly are a pest of grapefruit, make sure to take appropriate control measures in areas where they are present. It is important to dispose of any infected fruit and fruit has fallen to the ground by placing them in a sealed plastic bag in the sun for at least 7 days to kill the eggs and larvae. Do not compost fruit as this will lead to the fruit fly completing their life cycle and lead to the problem recurring.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

< Back to All Plants

Pests which Affect Grapefruit