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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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, Citrus Trees, Grow Lights, LED Grow Lights, Container Gardening, Edible Landscaping, Organic Gardening 101, Urban Gardening & farming

Breyn Says:
Sep 8th, 2012 at 9:15 pm


I am interested in purchasing a dwarfed lemon tree. How long does it take for the tree to produce fruit?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Sep 9th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Breyn, Our semi-dwarf Meyer lemon trees can produce within a year, if they have proper light, fertilizer, and water. Our trees are 2-3 years old when sold. A 4 year old tree is considered a “mature” tree. We have even had fruit from trees in their first year http://groworganic.com/organic-gardening/articles/lemons-in-december

Hope this is helpful!

Cynthia Says:
Nov 3rd, 2012 at 10:47 am

I have a Meyer Lemon Tree that is about 4’-5’ tall and I’ve brought it indoors for the winter. ..I’m in CT.  It only has one flower blossom and I’ve already maually pollinated it.  My questions are:
1) Is it okay to fertilize? I have an Citrus Tone that I use during the summer but want to know if I can fertilize it indoors as well:

2) How do I get more blossoms?  It’s in a sunroom on the southside of the house…does it need fertilize or a grow light?

Thank You!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jan 30th, 2013 at 11:37 am

Cynthia, The Meyer lemon needs more light and more fertilizer to give more blossoms during the dark of the winter months. Our favorite “fertilizer” for the winter is Thrive Alive which is a kelp, vitamin B based all-purpose plant tonic. It helps to promote flowering without heavy nitrogen.

Lisa Frankel Says:
Feb 11th, 2013 at 11:08 am

Hello, I have an improved Meyer lemon that I bought last summer. It flowered in late fall and I am hoping for some lemons!  Now it has what I believe to be scale (brown bumps that I have been picking off using a paper towel soaked in dish soap).  The sticky substance from the scale is getting thicker each week. It also has what appear to be spiderwebs, although I can’t see any spiders.  Now some of the leaves are turning yellow and dropping.  I have it in a small south-facing greenhouse and I water it once a week, which is when I pick off the scale.  I’ve read that others put lemon trees in their garage to kill scale.  Should I move it to a colder, darker space?  Please tell me what I am doing wrong!  Thanks!,

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Feb 11th, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Lisa, Oil smothers the younger, softer shelled scales before they can reproduce. Green Light Neem (neem oil), Organicide (fish and sesame oils) are labelled for use against scale. Bugshooter is a citrus based spray and Safer 3-1 is a sulfur/soap combo - both also labelled for use against scale.

You can put the lemon in your garage if there is sufficient light, as the cooler temperature will help. Warm greenhouses are prime pest habitat. You will need to still be aware of the night temps and possibly cover your citrus if you are in a colder climate.

Hope this is helpful.

Rawd Says:
Mar 2nd, 2013 at 7:06 am

I have enjoyed Meyer lemon trees for 14 years. I don’t know how long they will live though. I have rooted these special trees from cuttings (tops of the young trees) as well as from seeds.  Wow, do they ever take quite a bit of time to sprout, about 45+ days on a damp papertowel in a closed container (rinsed regularly to avoid mold, etc.)  But the fruit ripens in Dec. I will leave some fruits on til April and they get darker and sweeter.  I am happy to help anyone who wants to get started with Meyer lemons. Great growing wishes, Rawd  

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 4th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Rawd, Thanks for your interesting suggestions!

holes in my leaves Says:
Mar 16th, 2013 at 7:22 am

I recently bought a grafter improved meyer lemon tree from the local garden center. It has lots of buds and it had holes in it’s leaves. I asked what they were from and they told me that it was from being watered from above…I have brought it home and the holes are getting bigger.  I don’t see any bugs at all.  A couple of the leaves have turned yellow and dropped off. I am getting worried…also can I fertilize it with Miracle gro?
Thanks in advance,

Jeanette Rodman Says:
Mar 18th, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Smart Pot for Meyer Lemon/Citrus?  Can I use a Smart Pot to grow a citrus tree?  How to move?  Can I use a plant lifter?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Mar 27th, 2013 at 11:03 am

holes in my leaves, My first guess was that the holes were caused by birds trying to get to any bugs that might have been on the plant.  But if they are getting larger, there must be some kind of bug or caterpillar - look on the undersides of the leaves.  Usually citrus critters work from the outside of the leaves inward, but…

I do not know the composition of Miracle Gro products.  Citrus usually like something with a higher N than P and K (E.B.Stone 7-3-3 or Dr. Earth 8-5-4) so they need to look at the N-P-K of the Miracle gro product they are thinking of using. We recommend organic fertilizers that support both the plant and the soil.

Sean Says:
Mar 31st, 2013 at 12:37 am

The holes in the leaves could be a sickness the plant gets. We’ve had problems down here in Florida with it. Look it up its called a Citrus canker. Hope that’s not what it is!
Best of luck

Lois Birk Says:
May 25th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My Meyer Lemon tree is just covered in small lemons.  My husband keeps telling me I should remove some of them so the others will grow.  I don’t want to do this.  Is this necessary?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
May 31st, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Jeanette, Yes, Smart Pots were developed for the tree nursery business. Here are some plant lifters if you want to move the tree that way http://www.groworganic.com/garden-tools/garden-accessories.html

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
May 31st, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Sean, Thanks for your suggestion!

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
May 31st, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Lois, It is not necessary, but here is some incentive to make the sacrifice.  Most fruit trees - citrus among them - can be overly taxed by bearing an excessively large crop.  They may successfully bear one year and then require a rest period the following season.  So, for a consistent crop, thinning can help lessen the stresses that cause alternate year production.

Citrus will usually do some self-thinning on their own, but under stressful conditions - such as heat waves - a bush that has not been thinned may already be trying to carry such a load that it will drop all fruit.

And, of course, the quality and size of the fruit will benefit. 

How much to thin?  Common practice is to leave one bud per cluster.  This is not a hard and fast rule -  consider the age, health and rootstock of the bush when deciding how large a harvest can be carried without stress.  Luckily citrus will usually drop their fruit before their health is compromised, but as a general practice, reducing stress on a plant is usually rewarded by a longer, more productive lifespan.

Sheila Says:
Jun 11th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Bought a 18” improved dwarf meyer lemon tree that had 9-10 lemons already growing with buds about 6weeks ago. Have been watering and fertilizing as suggested as above and the fruit is still green and lime sized. Tasted one and they do taste like very sour limes. How long might it take for fruit to ripen, or might I actually have a lime tree? I’m in Southern California.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Jun 12th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Sheila, It is usually about 6 months from blossom to ripe fruit.  So, you probably do have a lemon that has not ripened yet. Be aware that citrus often react significantly to stresses (such as transplanting) and can drop all their fruit and even leaves. 

If your tree is very young, there may be too many fruits for it to support, but it will most often self-thin itself. If the fruits are all in a cluster, you should thin that to one or two in a cluster for larger, better fruits and less stress on the tree.

Christie Says:
Jul 11th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

i am interested in getting a couple meyer lemon trees. i’m in eastern washington, so intend to grow the trees inside. i’ve read that they need a lot of sunlight- i have the perfect south facing windows for this! however, i’ve also read that they don’t like direct sunlight… as a novice gardener, I really don’t know what this means. I have a living room with two walls full of windows (south and west facing). can i put the meyer lemon in the corners of these walls? or is that direct sun? thank you so much for clarifying for me! also- can i keep these inside year round? or do i have to put them outside in the summer? are their pros or cons?
thank you!

Brenda from Louisiana Says:
Jul 18th, 2013 at 7:09 am

We have had 9 lemons on our tree, but now only 5.  Noticed the green lemons have what looks like tiny holes near the stem area.  Some have brown spots on them as well.  Any idea what we need to do to have healthy lemons?

Barbra Says:
Aug 2nd, 2013 at 11:26 am

I have six dwarf Meyer Lemon trees and they are all starting to grow new sprouts/leaves but during mid day, these new growths seem sad and wilted. Is it the direct hot sun making them wilt? And if so, will the older branches and leaves be ok if I move them to an indirect area of the yard? The temperature has been in the high 80’s lately.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 5th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Barbra, If the leaves are only wilted at midday and then perk up again in the evening through morning, it is most likely the heat/direct sun that is the cause.  Try moving them to a partially sunny spot and give our Organic Liquid Kelp to help with any stress that comes from temperature extremes; it is a tonic not a fertilizer so can be used daily as a foliar feed, or weekly as a soil drench (diluted in water either way).

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 5th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

More ideas Barbra, It could also be too little water, perhaps mulch the trees so the water retains more moisture? Are they in pots? If so, they could be rootbound.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 7th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Christie, Typically Meyer lemons like direct sunlight and you want that when growing them indoors. A south facing window sounds good. A western window would be even more direct sun. Trees like to get fresh air and sun in the summer, so if possible move them outdoors once all danger of frost has passed, and move them back in before the first frost of the fall.  Liquid Kelp will help them deal with the stress of being moved—use it as diluted soil drench.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 7th, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Brenda, Fruit drop is not unusual in citrus, according to UC Davis http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/FRUIT/ENVIRON/fruitdrop.html or it could be the result of a sudden change in temperature or irrigation. The blemishes on the lemons are probably just a cosmetic issue. But the holes near the stem are a concern; they might be thrips or orange worms. Look at this diagnostic chart and see if either one of those pests causes damage like that on your lemons http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/530-15.pdf Here are photos to help you too if you had any leaf damage http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/C107/m107apyoungtrees.html

Kelli Says:
Aug 14th, 2013 at 6:19 am

Hi, I have a small dwarf lemon tree I purchased from a local home and garden center in the early spring. We’re in central Louisiana so it’s spent most of its time outside where it gets direct morning sun all morning, then shade. When I first got it, I though I’d over watered it. The leaves quickly turned yellow and all the lemons dropped. Then it budded again and now there are 2 lemons that are growing well. It had one spurt of new growth then started dropping all the new growth and many of the green healthy leaves. Now it drops a healthy green leaf on occasion and it’s getting pretty bare. What would cause this? The trees that sat next to mine at the nursery are still there and have grown twice my tree’s size and have many large growing lemons, as well as all their leaves…. Why is mine so sad?

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 14th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Keill, Sorry about your lemon problems! First of all, the tree needs 6-8 hrs of direct sun so it may not be getting enough with just morning sun. Fruit drop and leaf drop are common citrus reactions to stress (moving home with you, a change in irrigation, a hot spell of weather). Dose the plant with Thrive Alive http://www.groworganic.com/thrive-alive-b-1-green-label-250-ml-bottle.html which, contains kelp, as a tonic for these things. To see if your tree has a pest or disease, consult these photos from UC Davis and compare them with the appearance of your lemon leaves http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/C107/m107bpleaftwigdis.html Here is excellent information about caring for lemon trees in Louisiana http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonlyres/D88C319D-8F9D-41A3-AF2E-8CF09F60C57B/81678/pub1234lahomecitruslowres.pdf

Kelli Says:
Aug 14th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Thank you thank you thank you! Based on the link you provided it’s likely my little tree has a nitrogen deficiency. What would you recommend using for nitrogen deficiency? It might have also gone through a bit of shock. The first month or so that I had it, it was inside. After thinking that I’d overwatered it I put it outside where it gets extremely hot. It does get a solid 6 hours of sunlight a day at least. For the longest time I thought it was doomed. Luckily it’s coming back, i found a little new growth yesterday.

Charlotte from Peaceful Valley Says:
Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Kelli, Yay that this info was helpful! For nitrogen, use some Citrus Food like this one http://www.groworganic.com/citrus-and-fruit-tree-food-7-3-3-4-lb-box.html

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?

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..

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

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. 


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


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

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

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

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.

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