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Growing Meyer Lemons in Containers

Nov 30, 2011 -
   
  Growing Meyer Lemons in Containers
Tricia picks a basket of fragrant Meyer lemons.
 
   

Say the words Meyer lemon and people either throw back their shoulders and proudly announce, I have a Meyer lemon tree!  or they get a sad expression and sigh, I wish I had a Meyer lemon tree.

You can be part of the proud crowd, no matter where you live. In our new video Tricia shows how to plant a Meyer lemon in a container and grow it indoors in the winter—moving it outside when the weather warms up enough in the spring.

Follow Tricia’s planting and care steps and in a few years you could have your own harvest basket full of Meyer lemons.

Meyer lemons are prized for their sweet flavor. They actually are different from other lemons, since they are said to be a Chinese cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. The Meyer lemons on the market today are called improved since they are not carriers of a citrus virus.

Here are some additional tips to help your citrus tree thrive and produce fruit indoors.

POLLINATION

Bees and other flying insects are the natural pollinators for citrus. Our window screens keep the insects outdoors, so if your tree is flowering while it is still inside you should give it an assist. Meyer lemons often flower and fruit twice a year. When the tree is blooming, take a cotton swab and transfer pollen from one blossom to another.

SUPPLEMENTAL LIGHT

Place the tree in the brightest part of your house, near a south-facing window. If that is still not enough light, add some low-energy LED Grow Lights.

FERTILIZERS

Meyer lemons are heavy feeders and the easiest way to meet their needs is with a special citrus fertilizer. We recommend E.B. Stone’s Citrus & Tree Food and Citrus and Avocado Fertilizer Plus Zinc from California Organic Fertilizers. Did we mention they are hungry? Follow the directions for their multiple fertilizings each year.

qwikliftMOVING THE CONTAINER

It’s easy for us to talk about a tree in a container and breezily say, Move it outside when the weather warms up. With all your fertilizing and good care the citrus tree is going to grow and need larger containers over the years. The QwikLift is the tool many of us use to lift heavy planters in our own gardens, and we even give them as gifts to our gardening friends.

TRY THESE CITRUS TOO

Tricia picks a mandarin orange from her outdoor tree. In addition to Meyer lemons, many citrus grow well indoors too.

*  Bearss lime (also known as the Tahitian or Persian lime)
*  Lisbon lemon
*  Washington navel orange

For more information try the popular book The Bountiful Container, with learned advice about growing citrus and other fruits, vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers in containers. Authors are the well-known Rose Marie Nichols McGee (yes, that Nichols) and Maggie Stuckey.


Categories: Fruit Trees, Grow Lights, LED Grow Lights, Container Gardening, Edible Landscaping, Organic Gardening 101, Urban Gardening & farming


Barbara Says:
Aug 31st, 2013 at 5:08 am

Hi Charlotte! I have 5 Dwarf Meyer Lemon Trees that I had in pots but they were growing so rapidly that I decided to plant them outside along my wood fence where they are still continuing to grow and appear quite happy. My problem, however, will come with the winter. I’m in the North Georgia/South Tennessee area and we have quite a lot of freezing and snow. I have read up on how people protect these trees in the winter time which gives me some comfort but I just wanted to ask you, do you believe there really is a chance they will live if I do all I can to protect them? And, when I do start protecting them (blankets/plastic…etc), do I still water them or do I just let them be still till spring arrives? Thank you for all of your advise! Barbara

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 11th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Barbara, Yes, there is hope of your citrus surviving with diligent care.  Using Agribon fabric and create a tent so the fabric and the leaves are not touching, or just barely touching.  You can also add the old-fashioned large Christmas tree lights and turn them on during the cold nights. The fabric should be removed during the days unless there is snow or frost.

Watering during the winter months needs to take into account the dormant state of the plant.  Usually a young plant will be watered once every 2-3 weeks and mature plants between 3-4 week with a deep watering.

We explain the kinds of Agribon fabric and their uses here http://groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/find-the-right-floating-row-cover-for-plant-protection

Dianne Says:
Sep 15th, 2013 at 10:44 am

My Improved Meyer Lemon tree needs help.  I’ve had it for four months and it had 8 lemons and lots of flowers when I bought it.  It is in a pot and has lost all new flowers and buds.  Now the leaves are curling, turning yellow, and dropping.  I live on the central coast of Ca. and we’ve just gone through a heat wave that lasted over a week.  I need help!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 16th, 2013 at 11:05 am

Dianne, That was a brutal heat wave you had! Glad it is over. Here are some thoughts about why your tree is ailing.

Citrus can be very susceptible to temperature extremes.  Given care, they usually respond relatively rapidly. You can either prune down the branches, or leave them as is and continue to water and lightly feed.  You should begin to see new leaf growth within the next few weeks. It will take a while for the new flowers and then fruit, but temperature extremes (both heat and cold) are conditions that must be considered when growing citrus. It is rare for these extremes to kill the tree if it is healthy and well rooted prior to the onset.

Whenever you see the leaves begin to curl or change in color, also look for pests such as mites or scale which can have the same effects. Pruning or washing these off as soon as you detect them will keep the damage at a minimum.

Henri Posio Says:
Oct 9th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Hello, I live in Finland and have a small Meyer Lemon Tree that is about 18inches. Its pot is in a dish with rocks and water at the bottom and is in our bathroom. The winter here has very little sun though, so we have a fluorescent in the bathroom. The bathroom is heated and has a good humidity. How long should I leave the light on? I have been leaving the light on 24/7 because i dont think it is a full spectrum light. It has grown some since (most leaves are getting bigger but a few were stunted and about 4 fell off), but since it was moved from the balcony to the restroom it lost all its new leaf buds. Do you have any advice on if I am doing the right thing, and what I should feed it as fertilizers are very different here.

Amy Says:
Oct 11th, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I just got a small lemon meyer plant - trunk diameter about 1/4”, 2 1/2” feet tall, in a one-gallon container.  From what I have read, a 5-gallon pot would be good for a mature indoor tree.  Is there any reason why I shouldn’t go straight to a 5-gallon pot vs, incrementally increasing the pot size over time?  Thanks so much!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Oct 15th, 2013 at 11:24 am

Henri, Light is an essential for citrus, but they can survive on less than optimal conditions during the cold months if you realize you will now be dealing with a dormant or partially dormant plant. You can eliminate food until around February and then feed lightly until you are able to move outdoors. Under variable conditions, it is difficult to define how many hours are necessary to maintain health, but 8 hours would be minimal.  Keep the bush away from any heat sources or fans as that will create stress. Ideal temperatures to maintain are 70 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night.

Citrus will show signs of stress whenever moved or transplanted. They are hardy and recover well even if the majority of the leaves fall.  Defining the stress is the key. Water, heat source, lack of air circulation, light and pests can all be factors. Not to be discouraged though—the idea is to pay attention if leaves begin to curl or discolor. Do not expect quick leaf recovery until more favorable conditions are available since the plant should not push new leaf growth until it is strong enough to sustain it.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Oct 16th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Amy, It is fine to start with the larger pot. Growing in pots does present issues with replenishing the soil after 3 years. Therefore, if you wanted to work with a smaller pot initially and then switch to the larger size after 2 to 3 years, that would be timely. Citrus stress easily, so expect some shock when transplanting or repotting. This can be helped by giving a soil soak of either PVFS Organic Liquid Kelp or Thrive Alive B-1 at time of the transplant, or during any other stress.

Colette Says:
Oct 17th, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Hi!  I have a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree that I just brought in after a warm Seattle summer.  It has tons of bright green fruit on it, but it has also started sprouting new blossoms.  Should I remove these to encourage ripening of the fruit that is already on the tree or can it do both at the same time?  Thanks!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Oct 21st, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Colette, Citrus fruits can take up to a year to ripen, so the bloom and fruit do cross over. You do not want a young bush to carry excessive amounts of fruit or the blooms will drop of their own accord. Citrus are rather good at self-thinning so you usually do not have to be concerned about removing blooms or fruit. If you do see fruits starting to yellow or drop, check over the bush for pests to be sure that is not the cause and keep the soil just moist and not saturated.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Oct 21st, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Henri, More about how to fertilizer your tree: You will need to renew the soil every few years and topdress and amend with compost. You should be able to get aged chicken manure, bloodmeal, and kelp meal from some source in Finland and if you need potasssium use a small amount of wood ash. Those are all basic components that you could add to your compost in small amounts and see how the tree responds. You should use caution in using small amounts.

Judy Hudson Says:
Oct 22nd, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Hi Charlotte,
I’m on Vancouver Island, mediterrannean climate, occasionally reaching freezing in the winter. Last year I left one green lemon on the tree and put it in a shed. In the spring I brought it out and the lemon was full size and grew and ripened in about July.
This year I have 12 full size green lemons and have brought it onto a sunny screened in porch. I will protect it if the temp goes below 40 degrees, but when can I expect them to ripen?
Thanks,
Judy

Cristin Says:
Nov 13th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

We have a Meyer lemon tree in our yard here in Northern CA. It is at least ten years old and seems to produce a great amount of fruit,  AMAZING tasting lemons that are wonderful.  This summer we did not get any lemons all summer, and now we are finally getting a batch. For some reason the lemons are very tiny. They have turned yellow (most) but are so small compared to how large they used to be.  Will the lemons continue to grow in size *after* they have turned yellow?

Stephanie Brown Says:
Dec 20th, 2013 at 9:25 am

Cristin, Yes, citrus left on the tree will continue to grow larger but will reach a point were it doesn’t taste so good.

Stephanie Brown Says:
Dec 20th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Judy, Lemons can take up to one year to mature, so I would be watching them from about 10 months after blossom.  They will hold on the bush for quite some time, so it is not crucial that you harvest immediately.

Amanda Armstrong Says:
Feb 9th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I have a Meyer lemon tree and I’m very new to this. The tree has done fairly well but I’m needing advice because I want a healthy organic tree. I first bought it in august or October and during the rest of the summer it has holes in the leaves and I believe scales, too. I have read about the neem oil and other things you have suggested. And I’ll keep researching that. My main concern is the soil. I’m not sure how to do this at all. Do I mix chicken manure, mulch, or use the thrive alive. How often do I feed my plant. I also have seen blood meal in my local gardening store. I just don’t want to over do it. I also read about compost or humus… Do I just set this on top or mix it in? I’ve read a lot and would really learn what is the best way to have a healthy organic lemon tree. Thanks for all your advice.  Oh Also, how often do you amend your soil? I live in the Houston, Texas area..
Sincerely,
Amanda

Stephanie Brown Says:
Feb 10th, 2014 at 11:40 am

Hello Amanda,

Congratulations on your new tree. Is the tree in a pot or in the ground? As far as fertilizer we highly recommend that you get an organic fertilizer formulated for citrus and follow the instructions, citrus are fairly heavy feeders so the like regular fertilization. Compost can be used as a mulch, or it can be worked into the soil. If you set it on top it can act like a mulch, worked in it helps loosen the soil. Mulching is beneficial to help conserve water, make sure you keep the mulch six inches from the trunk to avoid disease. For more information on growing and pest solutions these fact sheets from UC Davis are wonderful http://ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/FRUIT/citrus.html

Melysa from Bryan, TX Says:
Apr 11th, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I’m thankful for this Q & A forum….I have a ? I have a 5-6’ Improved Meyer Lemon tree with at least 50 tiny fertilized blossoms (small pea sized green beginnings of lemons) and at least that many more buds that haven’t blossomed yet. I have it in a HUGE ceramic pot outside (I live in Bryan, TX 75 miles from Houston). I am growing it in a HUGE container because we have HEAVY clay soils here with poor drainage. I have read to keep it out of the wind and lately we have had high winds. So I have it on the back patio facing the west and it gets some late day direct sun and alot of bright indirect sun. Sorry…ok…my question…Some of the leaves (and not necessarily the new ones) are looking kind of chlorotic, but where the veining and adjacent leaf tissue is darker green and the rest of the leaf to the edge is pale. A few of the leaves are folding up, lengthwise. I have fed it fish emulsion water 2 times in the last month and just water it other times. I have a moisture meter that I use to gauge when I need to water it. Is there a better way to tell when it needs water, and do I need to move it out from under the pergola to get more sun (even it it means more wind), and do I need to feed it more. The fish emulsion is 5-1-1. Thank you for your advice. I really want to know how to properly care for my tree.

Stephanie Brown Says:
Apr 14th, 2014 at 9:24 am

Hello Melysa,

That sounds like it could be a zinc deficiency. Take a look at these pictures of foliar diseases on citrus and look for the one that looks most like your leaves. There are several disorders that can cause what you’re describing: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/C107/m107bpleaftwigdis.html

Kathleen Says:
Jun 2nd, 2014 at 8:57 am

Hi,
I read some of the posts but there was so many…I am on my second dwarf meyer lemon tree…first improved dwarf meyer lemon and a dwarf keylime tree..I live in southern New Hampshire, and my second lemon tree gave me one teenie lemon that dropped and then I got one full sized…I kept it in a mini greenhouse inside, on a warming mat, next to the ketlime tree (3 yrs old no fruit yet) and it seems like it poured all the energey into that one lemon…I picket it when it was time and the plants were nice and green….no flowers tho…we had a nice day so I put them out and forgot and left them out…temps dropped but not below 32 degrees, so when I brought them in…the leaves all curled up on the lime tree…they eventually fell off of both trees and they are starting to look brown…but in some places I can still tell its hanging on….I repotted the lemon tree to check out the roots…and while there was a root ball…they didnt seem long….so I gave it new soil…gave it all purpose miracle grow (I was desperate) I dont know if I should wait it out or toss them…I want these to work so bad…we use both fruits so much and I cant afford to buy any more because I got sick :( any insight?

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jun 2nd, 2014 at 10:41 am

Hello Kathleen,

I’m sorry to hear about your trees! You can do a scratch test to see if the trees are still alive. Gently scratch an area of bark and see if it’s green underneath. If it’s green the tree is still alive and they might come back. If it’s brown then they’re gone…

Pia Says:
Jun 17th, 2014 at 6:18 am

Hi Stephanie - we’ve had a dwarf meyer lemon tree inside in a large ceramic container for about 4 years - every spring it has many blossoms which usually develop in to teensy lemons which then fall off, very prematurely.  I’ve tried watering more regularly (with less water each time) and adding fertilizer, but would appreciate any other tips on what might be causing this?  Thank you!

Stephanie Brown Says:
Jun 17th, 2014 at 8:17 am

Hello Pla,

Everything I read said watering, so I’m wondering if possibly the tree has gotten rootbound. Even though you’re watering evenly it’s not getting to the tree evenly, maybe?

Judy Says:
Jul 25th, 2014 at 8:20 am

I bought a “cocktail” tree in Fl, a key lime plus a meyer lemon in the same container.  My key lime bloomed like crazy (it’s the second spring for both) and has many key limes ripening.  The Meyer lemon didn’t bloom, and both trees are having leaves turn yellow and drop.  No fruit drop on the lime, though.  I like the meyer lemon best, what can I do?  It put out a long shoot earlier this spring, almost doubling the height of the tree, so it seems to be growing.  No fruit.  Wrong fertilizer?  I water once a week.  help!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jul 25th, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Well, my first question would be, how big is the pot the two trees share? Next did you just transplant from a smaller pot to a bigger pot? If so, they may be experiencing a little shock. You can give them some Vit. B12 or a product like Thrive-Alive or another great product, Kelp.

The trees have basic needs: full sun, moisture (well drained soil and don’t overwater), fertilizer. There are good mixes of citrus and fruit tree fertilizers such as the E.B Stone Citrus and Fruit Tree Food. Hope this helps.

Virginina Bennett Says:
Aug 10th, 2014 at 12:22 pm

I’d appreciate some help with my Meyer lemon tree (in a pot). It is about four years old, and last year had a lovely collection of lemons. This year the lemons turn yellow when they are quite tiny (about an inch) then turn black and fall off. I can’t see any bugs on (or in) them. The leaves look good, although they get a few holes in them. What would be causing this? Thanks for any advice.

BTW I live in California and the tree remains outside, getting good sun for about six hours a day. 

—Virginia

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 19th, 2014 at 9:47 am

A couple of questions would be, how long has the tree been in the pot and how often do you fertilize the tree. The tree will naturally abort any fruit that it cannot support. So if the soil is depleted of nutrients then the fruit will fall off. Also, 6 hours of sunlight is the minimum amount of sun the tree requires. So you might try repotting in a larger (not too large) pot with good potting soil and keep the tree on a regular feeding schedule. You can use a fertilizer such as E.B Stone Citrus and Fruit Tree food. Also try moving the pot so the tree will get more light. Keep in mind the tree may not put fruit on after moving into a new pot.

angela Says:
Nov 1st, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Hi, I bought Meyer lemon seeds about four years ago, question I have is that my tree is about 2 feet tall with lots of leafs but never had a flower on it. what could cause this? Thanks.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Nov 7th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Well your tree may not be mature enough to start flowering. But don’t give it too much nitrogen. This will cause the tree to just grow leaves. Is it getting enough sun? You can give it a fertilizer with more phosphorus than nitrogen, the N-P-K rating will reflect a larger middle number. Try this and maybe give your tree more time to mature.

Tim Says:
Nov 17th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I have a dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a pot.  it has several lemons on it and seems to be doing fairly well. We’re entering the winter months here in Las Vegas Nevada and I’m wondering if I should need to cover the tree with burlap at some point?... Perhaps when the temperature approaches freezing? Not sure in any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

Lucy Says:
Nov 24th, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Hello!

I bought a meyer lemon tree this past Spring…along with a clementine and a key lime. I’m in central NJ so all three are in pots. My meyer lemon has been full of buds a few times…and had them bloom but I never got a fruit. I bought the trees at 2-3 yrs. they were about 3’ tall. I brought my trees in and the meyer is full of buds that are starting to blossom. I’m concerned because I don’t have any windows that have good light. I’m going to need to get some grow lights and would like to know what to get. Also, how should often should I fertilize and water the meyer and the other citrus trees while they’re indoors. Thanks!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 1st, 2014 at 4:52 pm

How cold does it get in Las Vegas? The tree will not withstand freezing temperatures. If you have a garage with a large window, the tree can be brought inside. If not, it will need to be protected with frost fabric/cloth, create a tent so the fabric and the leaves are not touching, or just barely touching. To insure the tree will not get too cold during the night, you can also add the old-fashioned large Christmas tree lights and turn them on during the cold nights. The fabric should be removed during the days unless there is snow or frost.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 1st, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Well I think the biggest challenge to growing citrus indoors is supplying enough light. In order for the trees to produce fruit, they need at least 8-12 hours of light. If you do not have a bright window, use a full spectrum florescent lights or a professional grow light. Next, they are heavy feeders, so use a well balanced fertilizer for citrus trees. For watering, use deep infrequent watering. You can use a saucer under the plant filled with rock to help increase the humidity. Good luck.

vanessa Says:
Dec 14th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Hi, I brought in my Meyers Lemon tree for the winter and it started to get a little sticky sap on it and now all of the leaves have dropped. I coated it with a homemade water, garlic soap solution to clean all of the sap off. It has not grown back any leaves. I’m not sure what to do now. It did get one blossom on it which was beautiful and fragrant which was odd to see with very few leaves left on it. Any advice would be helpful.

glenn Says:
Dec 15th, 2014 at 1:41 pm

We received a 3 yr old meyer lemon in a pot in September.  It is doing well, although none of the flowers grew fruit.  There are very small gnat like bugs that seem to come out of the soil or near the root/trunk.  Any ideas?  thanks

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 16th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

First thing that comes to mind would be insect infestation that produces the sticky solution on the leaves. Have you seen any aphids, mealy bugs or white flies? The other thing to look for would be ants “farming” the aphids. Citrus tend to drop their leaves under stress, so make sure the dropped leaves are cleaned up and give the tree a shot of fertilizer to help it through the stress.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 16th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

The bugs coming up out of the soil are most likely fungus gnats. You can use yellow sticky traps hung on the tree to capture the flying insects. Here is a link to a website that has a lot of information regarding the gnats, http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7448.html

Diane Says:
Dec 29th, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Should I use thrive alive red or green on a meyer lemon tree?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 29th, 2014 at 1:22 pm

The basic difference between the red and green Thrive-Alive is that the red has additional minerals. We carry the green because it is OMRI-listed. If you are needing for giving your lemon a boost, then the green version is just fine. Both products have vitamin B-1, that is what the plant needs for transplanting.

Allison Krivoruchko Says:
Feb 5th, 2015 at 8:33 pm

I have a Meyer Lemon in a container and hand water it twice a week.  It is in a south facing area.  I do not fertilize.  The leaves are turning yellow and signs of leaf curl.  Please help

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 6th, 2015 at 10:06 am

If the leaves are turning yellow and you do not fertilize, sounds like the soil is depleted of nutrients. Lemons are typically heavy feeders so I would give them a balanced citrus fertilizer. Also you do not want to over-water. I would allow the first couple of inches of soil to dry before watering again and water deep. But my first plan of action would be to fertilize.

Anna Says:
Feb 19th, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Hi, I just bought a small (12” high in a 8” pot) Meyer Lemon. Flowers keep coming (smell heavenly!) It is February. I think it has two or three little lemons forming (not pea-size yet). The last ones did not get pea-sized and fell off. When should I transplant to a bigger pot, what size pot and what kind of soil would it like? We have it in our sunroom, so it gets direct morning light for a few hours and bright indirect light all day. We plan to leave it in a pot and move it outside in late spring (GA). Thank you!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 20th, 2015 at 10:55 am

You can move it to a larger pot anytime. Use a good potting soil and don’t over water. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Also remember that they are pretty heavy feeders, so feed often, especially once they put on flowers. A well balanced citrus fertilizer is fine.

Rebecca Says:
Mar 7th, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Hi,
Thank you for the information above regarding lemon trees.  I have a question, is it safe to place my meyer lemon tree in direct sunlight for several hours a day?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 10th, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Yes, your lemon will enjoy direct sun. If the tree is just putting on leaves and has been in lower light you might want to acclimate slowly to the direct light.

AK Says:
Mar 16th, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Hello,
I have had a Meyer Lemon tree for about six months now. It is an indoor container plant since I live in Massachusetts, I keep it near a very sunny window and it has done pretty well. I had one fruit that I picked, and there are a few more that are growing. Recently, I was away for couple of weeks, and my neighbor did not water it enough I think, because it dropped a lot of leaves. It has been a month since I came back, and under my care it did not drop any leaves, I fertilized it, and it has many many flower buds, but no new leaves. In other words, I have an almost leaf-free tree full of flowers. Is this common with these trees? Is there a way to encourage new leaves to grow? Thanks, AK

Alan Says:
Mar 20th, 2015 at 9:02 am

I am in FL and have a Meyer lemon in a pot. It has flowered and fruits started to appear. But a lot have turned yellow while still small and have fallen off. It is outside in full sun and gets watered every day. What is going wrong.

Eliza Says:
Mar 21st, 2015 at 8:18 pm

I just got a Meyer lemon tree two weeks ago.  Some of the leaves look like someone got sizzors and made a slice in them I’m in California any ideas of the problem and a fix?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:16 am

The trees will drop their leaves when stressed. So sounds like your tree went through some stress during your absence and reacted by dropping its leaves. You can feed it with a good citrus fertilizer and if you have any liquid with some nitrogen give it a feeding. The liquids are available right away so sounds like it could use some feeding. Then just give it some time.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 25th, 2015 at 11:50 am

Usually trees will abort their fruit when the nutrients are not sufficient to support growth. Lemons are heavy feeders and you will need to keep up on feeding it. I would also not water it every day, you may be washing out the nutrients. If you don’t know the nutrient levels, try doing a soil test to find out where your levels are (NPK).

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 25th, 2015 at 12:06 pm

Eliza:
I am not sure about the leaves getting trimmed, maybe just trimmed off a damaged leaf. Your new tree will naturally drop old leaves and grow new ones. So I would not worry. Remember that the lemons are heavy feeding trees, so keep up on the fertilizing.

Liz Says:
Apr 12th, 2015 at 8:20 pm

hi the lemons from our tree have what look like little brown seeds on the outer skin that come off easily.  It isn’t something that we have dealt with before with our lemons.  Can you explain what this could be?
Thanks

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Apr 13th, 2015 at 11:31 am

Liz, I have not found any images that might match what you are describing. Here is a website with some common problems with citrus, http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/C107/m107bpfruitdis.html Maybe. you will find the image there, or try searching the internet for images and citrus disorders.

Tania Says:
Apr 16th, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Hi I’ve been trying to grow a meyer lemon tree which I received as a gift at Christmas 2013.  I live in Southern California and we are growing it in a pot.  It came as a 2 year old tree, but it has not grown much, though it has become bushier and more tree like on the top, it is about 2-1/2 ft. tall. We had a large sucker branch take off towards the bottom and after learning what they were we snipped them off.  I have had problems with small brown caterpillars eating the leaves, also a year ago all the leaves turned yellow and dropped off.  It has flowered twice, but no lemons.  What are we doing wrong.  It gets plenty of sunlight, it is watered about once a week and the base of the tree is beginning to get bark on it which is a hopeful sign for us.  We so very want a fruit bearing tree, is there a chance and what might we do to bring it to fruit?  Any suggestions will help.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Apr 23rd, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Sounds like you are doing everything right except for maybe not fertilizing enough. They are heavy feeders and I would suggest giving them a good organic fertilizer. How much sun does it get? Dropping of its leaves is a sign of stress. So maybe not enough fertilizer, not enough sun, a sudden change in weather…

Emily Says:
Apr 25th, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Hi there! My brother purchased a Meyer lemon tree from you and had it shipped to me as a gift this past December. It had dark green leaves when I received it, but now the leaves are turning yellowish. When I look closely, they seem to have tiny yellow dots. I transplanted it in January into a larger pot with well drained (meant for cactus) potting soil. I don’t overwater, and I have fertilized it twice (in January and April) with a citrus fertilizer according to the instructions. I live in Portland, Oregon, where we’ve had a very mild winter this year. I kept the tree in my apartment at first, but moved it outside in March when the nights were consistently in the 40s or warmer. It’s now on the south side of my building and gets plenty of sunlight. It’s also under an overhang so it doesn’t get wet when it rains. I feel like I’ve followed all the advice, but it’s still turning yellow and I’m mystified. Do you have any idea what might be causing it?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Apr 28th, 2015 at 11:56 am

The tree may just be undergoing some stress from shipping to a new location. I am not sure about the potting soil that you used. I would have used a regular potting soil. But the trees are heavy feeders so keep it well fed with a citrus fertilizer, give it plenty of sun and not too much water. Allow it to dry some between watering. Give it some time to rebound from all of the moves.

Grayson Henrico, Va. Says:
May 12th, 2015 at 7:55 am

Some of my meyer lemon and lime trees lost most of their leaves while in the garage for the winter. They have since bloomed like crazy but are still without but a few leaves.
Any suggestions.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 12th, 2015 at 10:26 am

Grayson, lemons are heavy feeders so I would feed them, especially during flowering and putting on new leaves. Are the trees getting enough sun? They need at least 6-8 hours of sun as well to really thrive.

CedWill Says:
May 24th, 2015 at 8:32 am

Question? I bought some organized Meyer lemons from Cali and I planted one of the seeds in a small pot. This was at the end of June 2014. Besides a couple of leaves fallen of every now and than, its been growing great. Just watching it grow has been a treat to me. Since then I’ve transfered it to much bigger pot and placed it outside right at the beginning of spring. It took it a few weeks to adapt to the new pot and it picked up right where it left off. With it being outside in Texas, it gets more than enough sun light and I keep it watered regularly. I been using Miracle Grow for food and a citrus insect killer to try and keep ants and spiders away. With that I have two questions. With proper care do you think eventually it will produce fruit? I know starting from seed lessens the chances. Also, can you give me any additional recommendations? Its almost a year old and I want to make sure that I continue to care for it properly? Thanks

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
May 26th, 2015 at 12:49 pm

It can take several years for a lemon tree to produce fruit from seed. It sounds like you are doing everything right (except the Miracle Grow). Keep up with the nutrition, but maybe switch to an organic fertilizer, give it water, plenty of sun and it should continue to grow.

Hal Whitis, East Texas Says:
Jun 7th, 2015 at 9:00 am

When I did a Google search on “Meyers Improved Lemon very small yellow lemons falling off way too prematurely”, your site came up with this in the short text: “Now some of the leaves are turning yellow and dropping. ... My Meyer Lemon tree is just covered in small lemons. ..... which usually develop in to teensy lemons which then fall off, very prematurely”  I have yet found the post that addressed this. I just had the exact same thing happen.  This tree has produced lotes of fruit for the last 3 years. Please help.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 8th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Usually when the tree aborts the fruit, this means stress. Either from environmental (heat, lack of water, transplanting) or from not enough nutrients. Lemons are heavy feeders and especially when they are producing fruit. My suggestion is to give it (regularly) a high quality fertilizer.

Yan Says:
Jun 17th, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Hi i just bought a meyer lemon tree that i think is at least 3 years old since there was a tag on it of 2012. It it approximately 2-3 feet tall and has many flowers and much pea size fruits on it . I transplanted it in a 12 in. Diameter pot and noticed the rootball wasnt that big .. Maybe a 6 in diameter ball or so . My question is should i remove fruits ? Some of them? All of them ? None? Is my tree mature enough to let it flower and harvest the fruits or if i should remove them to develop more roots ..? Thanks

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 18th, 2015 at 10:59 am

Your tree will automatically drop fruit off that it cannot support. But it is not a bad idea to remove them so the tree’s energy can be directed to growing a healthy structure. Lemons are heavy feeders, so don’t forget to feed it a well balanced fruit tree fertilizer.

Tahera Says:
Jun 22nd, 2015 at 8:13 am

I live in Northern California and growing dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a container with over 8 hours of direct sunlight. It has several green lemons for over 2 months. However, none of the older green lemons are turning yellow, whereas new tiny lemons are turning yellow and dropping off. Why are the older lemons not ripening and the tiny new ones dropping?

It has bloomed a couple of times and there are no signs of yellow leaves.

Any tips/suggestions will be greatly appreciated smile

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 25th, 2015 at 10:28 am

Tahera, sounds like your tree is doing just fine. It will take until the Fall for your lemons to ripen, so they will stay green for some time. The new lemons dropping off may be due to a lack of nutrients. Make sure you are fertilizing enough, they are heavy feeders.

Jody Says:
Jul 16th, 2015 at 6:15 am

I just purchased a Myer Lemon in a 2 gal pot and replanted it into a 10 gal pot. Is there any small, ground-cover like plant that I can co-plant with it?  Thanks!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jul 16th, 2015 at 10:47 am

Jody, everything that I have read says to not plant anything around your lemon tree. Lemons are heavy feeders and the ground cover could potentially rob your tree of nutrients.

Lisa Says:
Aug 5th, 2015 at 7:40 am

Four months ago (in April), I purchased an 18” Meyer lemon tree and an 18” Key lime tree which were in small pots when I purchased them.  I immediately transplanted them to larger pots and they have been outside getting plenty of sun ever since.  They seem quite happy and healthy, but no flowers yet. My question is this: can these trees be pruned to keep them around 4 feet tall?  If so, how should they be pruned?  Will pruning prevent fruit from developing? (The trees will be coming inside during the winter.)

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 21st, 2015 at 11:07 am

Lisa, I don’t see a problem pruning your tree to keep it the size that you want. I would prune it after your lemons are ripe but before new growth begins. Clip off branches that are crossing, remove water shoots (those that grows straight up from a strong branch), prune to encourage an open center, and remove any growth coming from below the graft. Lemons are heavy feeders so make sure they are getting enough fertilizer and plenty of phosphorus to encourage flower and fruit production.

Josh Says:
Aug 21st, 2015 at 4:57 pm

I started 50 Meyer lemon trees from seeds and was shocked to see every single one of them sprout and start to grow. Right now they are about 4-6” tall and 2-6 leaves. They are just in a miracle grow seed starting mix sitting in south facing windows. While they all seem happy and healthy, I am very new to gardening so I have no idea when to move them to larger containers or start fertilizing. I live in very hot and dry west Texas so they will likely be indoor babies for a while. Based on reading this thread, I think I know what to use as fertilizer but I’ve heard you don’t want to do it until they are old enough. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

Alecia Says:
Sep 22nd, 2015 at 6:42 am

I have a Meyers lemon in a pot that I purchased in April. It has grown well and had 12 healthy lemons on it. They are about fist size and looked very healthy and very green. Suddenly several turned yellow almost over night and have a brown spot on them about the size of 2 quarters and fell off tree… Help!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 24th, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Alecia, sorry to hear about your lemons. Lemons are very heavy feeders and not sure how much you feed them but sounds like their nutrients were depleted and that caused the fruit to drop. I have a lemon growing in a pot and I fertilize it, especially when it is heavy with fruit, about once a month.

Try keeping up with the fertilizer, use a good (preferably organic) tree fertilizer. I use EB Stone Citrus & Fruit Tree Food 7-3-3. So far so good on my little lemon tree.

Francie Says:
Oct 25th, 2015 at 1:11 am

I see lots of suggestions about fertilizing “regularly”. Exactly how often is recommended for a Meyer lemon in a container in Oregon?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Nov 2nd, 2015 at 10:29 am

I have a Meyer lemon in a pot, it has about 5 lemons on it and I fertilize about every other month. They are hungry trees so a good organic fertilizer is the way to go.

Sandra Says:
Dec 7th, 2015 at 4:38 pm

We recently got a 2-3 year old Meyer Lemon tree. It appears to have transitioned well after shipping and transplanting—glossy deep green leaves but no flowers or buds. It’s had about a month to settle in - is it time to fertilize to encourage it to flower, or should we wait until spring? It’s indoors now but we’ll probably have it outdoors 6-8 months of the year.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 10th, 2015 at 12:50 pm

If the tree is starting to flower, you may want to give it some fertilizer. However, you need to be careful giving the tree a lot of nitrogen in the winter and stimulating new growth, which can be damaged by cold temps. So this being said, you may want to hold off until spring. If the leaves start to yellow, you should give it some food.

Donna Says:
Dec 27th, 2015 at 6:54 am

I have a Meyer lemon tree that has a ton of blooms on it and it is only December.  We have had warmer than usual temps.  I move it in and out during the winter,but want to keep the blooms happy. What should I do or feed it till spring when it can stay outdoors

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 28th, 2015 at 10:39 am

Donna, not sure where you are located, but if you are needing to bring the tree inside in the winter, I am assuming that you live some place cold. I would not feed it over the winter, especially a fertilizer that has much nitrogen. You don’t want the tree putting on new growth over the winter. I would wait to fertilize until the spring.

Josh F Says:
Dec 31st, 2015 at 4:08 am

Novice gardener, looking for some help and knowledge!
I live in Denver colorado (Zone 5b) and have a meyer lemon plant that just recently started ripening. However, I do not have any blooms to begin fruits for next season. Occasionally a bloom will form, but then turn black and fall off. Any suggestions on why this may be happening? Is this normal?

Thanks!

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 5th, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Josh, are your lemon trees always kept indoors? Denver is a very cold place in the winter and unless your trees are indoors in a warm sunny place, they will not do well. They are very heavy feeders and will drop blooms or new fruit if they are stressed (either temperatures, water, nutrition).

Nancy Says:
Jan 7th, 2016 at 9:23 am

I have had my Meyer Lemon tree for over 10 years, north Texas. It’s doing great, I leave it outside under the south/east porch. When it is below freezing I turn on my set of Christmas lights and cover with frost cloths. I also wrap the large pot with bubble wrap. I have a question about blooms. It started blooming and we will definitely have some cold winter days in the next two months. Should I remove the blooms? I don’t want to loose the opportunity to have fruit this next year.  Thanks

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 7th, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Nancy, I would just leave the blossoms and allow the tree to decide whether or not to keep the blossoms.

ed peters Says:
Jan 19th, 2016 at 2:15 pm

I have a producing Meyer dwarf tree. I can’t use all the lemons it puts out so what I don’t give away I juice and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. This year I saved the seeds.I was thinking of planting some in small pots to hopefully grow and give out as holiday presents. I’m in SoCal so I will be growing them outside. When do I fertilize? and when will they start producing fruit?

Steve Says:
Jan 22nd, 2016 at 7:41 am

I am new at growing citrus so any info would be helpful. Bought a cocktail tree , two plants , lime and, meyer lemon in one container. So far things have went great, Bought in Oct. lots of blooms in Dec. and looks like five lemons are gonna stick around to mature. It is about 2 feet high.  No limes yet tho just blooms that eventually fell but it is quite abit smaller right now. I am in Toronto , Canada so it is indoor container plant. I was wondering if now lemons are maturing will blooms cease until they are done maturing ? Also do not know if blooms just come on new growth or not and if so when and how much to prune? I feed monthly with 15-30-15 , let dry out between watering and have in south facing window. Thanks in advance for any info you can pass on to me.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 1st, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Ed, Are the trees growing outside or inside? I wouldn’t give them fertilizer until closer to spring. I am sure you are warmer in SoCal, so it may be earlier. Trees started from seed will take a couple of years longer than ones that you buy potted.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 1st, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Steve, Usually you won’t get many if any blooms when your tree is producing fruit. I really wouldn’t prune your tree, only removed broken or dead branches. Sounds like you are doing everything right.

Tracy Says:
Feb 15th, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I bought a meyer lemon tree last spring, planted it in a container and kept it (fairly well) alive all through the Phoenix summer. It recently lost all of its leaves but has 2 small blossoms on it!...what can I do help it recover?

Miriam Sheckler Says:
Feb 16th, 2016 at 4:56 pm

I want to get a dwarf meyer lemon will it live in Washington

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 19th, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Tracy, usually when a tree drops all of its leaves means that it has undergone some kind of stress. Did it dry out any time, get moved to a new location, get repotted….? About the only thing that you can do is make sure it stays watered and has enough fertilizer. Since it will now need to regrow all of its leaves! They are heavy feeders as well, so you should be fertilizing regularly.

Helen Schiffman Says:
Mar 5th, 2016 at 8:58 am

New York—-
  Received Meyer Lemon tree as a gift.  Brought indoors in the fall and harvested 8 delicious lemons.
However my tree has blossoms on it now (March)
And I don’t know whether to leave them or take them off.
Should I leave them?  Is it too early?  They will not be going out side until middle of May.

Christine Says:
Mar 8th, 2016 at 9:26 am

I got a beautiful Myer lemon tree 2-3 yrs. old they say..Its lost.every Dark leave many blooms & one very small( 1/4 size of my pinky nail. All I’ve had for 3 mo. Was green wood. It’s been under CFL bulb 125 watt-4600 K ,since all loss. It’s 3-8-2020& finally putting out ( I think lt.green branches where leaves were.How can I make them DARK GREEN? I READ A PERSON ADDED HOLLY GREEN PRODUCT? Is it safe? I want a healthy Meyer lemon tree? I keep it under CFL 1” away from bulb, no burn problem. Just want DARK GREEN LEAVES LIKE IT HAD. Out in sun today. Got a few good days. Great Roots,had to cover them w lil mix of citrus & cactus soil to cover roots .Didnt want them to dry out.So what besides organic food can I add to make my growth(finally) to be dark green? It’s been 3 mo. Bald & now I have lt. Green light green growth. I know there supposed to be Dark green, please tell me what I can sadly as to soil to Dark green my growth besides feed( I have & put in natural sun)? There must be something I can ad to a great rooted myer lemon tree? It’s taken 3 mo. To get any growth but I want leaves like I had when delivered ? Please tell me more than feed & sun   ? ? Awaiting a reply ASAP ? ?

Joshua Says:
Mar 9th, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Hi, I started growing a few plants from seeds a few weeks ago and am having great success. All of my seeds germinated so I transferred them to small pots. They recently just sprouted leaves so I want to move them into a more permanent pot for the next year or so. How many seedlings should I put together in one pot?

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 14th, 2016 at 9:59 am

Helen, I would just leave the flowers, your tree will drop them if they are not be viable.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 14th, 2016 at 10:09 am

Christine, the fact that your tree is starting to put out new growth is good. Make sure you are giving it adequate fertilizer, lots of light and just give it some time to recover. Put it outside once the weather is warm enough.

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 14th, 2016 at 10:50 am

Joshua, I would only put one seedling per pot.

Karen Says:
Mar 17th, 2016 at 6:30 am

I have had my Meyer lemon tree for a couple years now.  The 1st year I had a bunch of nice lemons.  Last year I didn’t get any until the end of summer. I brought the tree in for winter (live in Ohio) and the lemons are still on the tree.  Should I take them off (still green) or leave them on and hopefully they will grow larger and turn yellow?  Also, I have not fertilized the tree since last year…..

Suzanne at Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 21st, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Karen: I would leave the green lemons on the tree. Hopefully once you fertilize, they will grow. You should fertilize your tree often, especially when it is putting on leaves or fruit. Lemons are very hungry trees and need to be fed a good balanced citrus fertilizer. You can check out the citrus blends on our site.

Carol Says:
Mar 27th, 2016 at 1:20 pm

I bought a Meyer lemon tree last year (AR).  I placed it in my garage during the winter.  I did well & I had lots of flowers & new lemons.  I set it out in the sunshine now & something has eaten most of the leaves & flowers.  I can tell something has chewed on it.  What can it be & what should I do?  Help!

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