Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


Flowers &
Indoor Plants

Fruits & Nuts



Special Topics



Cornell University

Citrus x paradisi
(sit-rus pare-ah-dee-see)

grapefruit  grapefruit  grapefruit 
Click on thumbnails for larger image.

What about it?

The grapefruit is believed to have originated in the West Indies. These handsome citrus trees grow only in the southern-most United States; commercially they are grown in Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and California.

What is it used for?

Grapefruit is grown for its large fruits that can range in color from white-fleshed to yellow, and even pink or red. In addition to fresh eating, grapefruits are enjoyed in juices and marmalades.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

The best climate is determined by the amount of frost and the amount of heat available.

Grapefruit trees will do best in an area where there is full sun, good moisture levels, and excellent drainage. The trees need a good supply of nutrients, particularly nitrogen. Home gardeners protect their grapefruit trees from frost damage by wrapping the trunk or providing some alternative insulation like mounding. Trees must be pruned regularly.

What are its primary problems?

Citrus trees in general are plagued by a variety of pests. These include mites, summer scale, white flies, and melanose, a bark rot.

How do we harvest and store it?

With grapefruits, there is no harvest season, and the fruits should be picked when they are fully ripened. Home gardeners use clippers to cut fruit off of the trees, carefully removing them from the trees to prevent damage to the skin and fruit. Grapefruits are stored in a cool place.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.