OUR STORY Background




four winds growers


In 1946, a curious soon-to-be nurseryman named Floyd Dillon decided there was a need for a California version of the dwarf apple and pear. He chose citrus as the ideal candidate. As he later wrote in 1959: "What better specifications could be written for the ideal patio plant than to take everything offered by the standard commercial citrus and dwarf it to patio size, capable of being grown in a box or tub, raised bed or border, either espaliered or in its natural form?

"The orchard citrus of most species and cultivars grows in a dense, globular form. Its evergreen foliage is clean and attractive, with almost a continuous showing of fragrant flowers or waxy colorful fruit. It is decorative, interesting, and productive.



Floyd learned that researchers at UCLA and UC Riverside were already experimenting with new varieties and different rootstock-scion combinations. A scion is a twig or branch of a superior eating variety grafted to roots of another variety to improve disease resistance, production, control tree size or modify other characteristics.

Dr. Bill Bitters and other citrus researchers worked with Floyd to create dwarf trees that had beautiful foliage and tasty fruit. This was achieved by trials with rootstock/scion combinations. Suitable propagation techniques were employed to create the trees designed for patio and backyard growing.

After several years of experimentation, Floyd founded Four Winds Growers. The California company is currently located in  Watsonville, CA.

 The Dillons of Four Winds Growers


Today, dwarf citrus is a common sight in nurseries throughout the West and is grown successfully in containers throughout the world. The adaptability of dwarf citrus to container growing has made them increasingly popular outside of traditional citrus growing areas. They are most easily moved indoors for winter protection and outdoors in the warm seasons.

In addition, dwarf citrus has become important to gardeners whose gardening space is limited to patios, balconies and small porches.

It seems that Floyd Dillon and his dwarf citrus nursery were well ahead of their time. As interest of non-commercial gardeners grows, more varieties of citrus are becoming available on dwarf rootstocks.