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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…
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Video Transcript
Hi I'm Tricia a California organic gardener. Citrus trees are very beautiful and they produce tasty food like these mandarins however there's not many places in the united states where you can grow citrus outdoors but that's o.k. If you're in zone seven or lower I'm going to show you how you can grow them indoors in containers.

The easiest citrus to grow indoors is the meyer lemon however also easy to grow indoors are the lisbon lemon, the washington navel orange and the bearss lime. Citrus need eight to twelve hours of light per day to produce fruit you can grow them as a foliage plant with about five hours of light per day but if you want fruit you may want to supplement the light with either full spectrum fluorescent lighting or a professional growth light either way you need a southern or southwestern exposure. Before repotting your tree place it in your desired location for a couple of weeks to make sure its happy if it is pot it up if not find another location. Today were gonna be potting up his meyer lemon. Meyer lemons are the sweetest of all lemons and are actually a cross between a mandarin and a lemon. For a two to three year old tree choose a pot about five gallons and about twelve to fifteen inches tall with good drainage. Citrus likes light soil i've got some peet moss moistened I'm going to add potting soil and then perlite a third, a third, and a third. Avoid potting soil with wetting agents because that will keep the soil too moist. Slide the tree from its container, examine the roots carefully, trim off any that may be dry and fluff them up if their matted or encircled.

So plant the tree with the crown just above the soil line and the fibrous roots just below. Now we just want to water the citrus plant I like to add some Thrive Alive B-1 to the water which will help encourage root growth. As you water watch for settling make sure there's no air pockets If so you can just pull up on the tree a little bit. Citrus are heavy feeders be sure and fertilize with a citrus fertilizer like this EB Stone Citrus and Fruit Tree Food or the PhytaGrow by California Organic Fertilizers be sure and read the label and follow the directions carefully. Citrus like high humidity if your going to put your plant inside the house make sure you have a humidifier or a tray with rocks that you can put water in and you can put the plant on. Make sure the pot never sits in water however and spray down the foliage once in a while that will help too. If you live in a climate where you have warm summers and cold winters you can grow your citrus outside in the summer and bring it inside in the winter or overwinter it in a greenhouse. When making the switch from indoors to outdoors or vice versa put the plant in the shade for a couple of weeks. The best time to make the switch is when the temperatures are about the same inside and outside. Give the tree a quarter of a turn every week to make sure that the tree gets even light all around. Repot your citrus every couple of years and do some root pruning at that time to make sure that the plant doesn't get root bound. Your citrus needs deep infrequent watering they like to be moist but not soggy. A moisture meter is the best way to tell when your plant is going to need water You want to water when the top two inches of soil are dry. You can prune your citrus anytime of year to control it's shape or size. So you can grow citrus no matter where you live. So grow citrus and grow organic for life

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Categories: Fruit Trees, Citrus Trees, Soil Amendments, Pelleted Fertilizer, Powdered Fertilizer, Organic Fertilizer, Pelleted Fertilizer, Powdered Fertilizer, Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer, Organic Plant Food, Fertilizer Tablets, Fruits & Berries


anne gregory Says:
Dec 5th, 2011 at 7:45 am

In your video, you say one can grown citrus indoors “in zone 7 or lower”.  Does “lower” mean more southerly or does it mean a lower number (more northerly).  I live in zone 8.  Will the Meyer take an occasional light freeze outdoors?  I don’t have good sunlight anywhere in my house (deep overhangs to keep the sun out).

Gail Simons Says:
Dec 5th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

The higher the number the warmer the climate and more southerly your location.  It should be able to handle a light freeze, but I’ll leave the answer to that to the experts on that particular variety of lemon tree.  I grew up in the middle of citrus country, and it would regularly be 29-30 deg. F on winter mornings.  But it always warmed up rapidly; unlike here in zone 7.  Good luck with your trees.

Charlotte, Peaceful Valley Says:
Dec 8th, 2011 at 10:36 am

Anne, Thanks for your question and Gail, we appreciate your tips!

In general, lemon trees can grow well in USDA Zone 8. They will tolerate 32F but not much lower. Here’s what Purdue University says about lemons and cold weather:

“The tree is defoliated at 22º to 24º F (-5.56º-4.44º C). A temperature drop to 20º F (-6.67º C) will severely damage the wood unless there has been a fortnight of near-freezing weather to slow down growth. Flowers and young fruits are killed by 29º F (-1.67º C) and nearly mature fruits are badly damaged below 28º F (-2.22º C).”

For more of this thorough article on lemon trees, see http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lemon.html

During cold snaps in Zone 8 drape your tree with an Agribon frost blanket or row cover fabric http://www.groworganic.com/growing-supplies/frost-protection/garden-fabric.html.

When Tricia said “Zone 7 or lower” in the video she meant the lower zone numbers with colder climates. They cannot grow lemons outdoors all year-round, and need to overwinter them indoors or in greenhouses.

Hope this info helps!

Laura Rybowiak Says:
Dec 19th, 2011 at 9:27 am

I’ve grown my Meyer lemon in a pot for about 8 years. I keep it in a pot in front of the garage with a deep overhang, southern exposure.  It’s on a wheeled tray so that when it gets below freezing I can wheel it into the garage. I use the floating row cover material (you can buy it sewn into bag forms with pull ties) for my abutilons, but the lemon is too big.
You might hear that they need to be brought indoors for the winter. My experience is that these plants do not like to be brought indoors (into the house). I lost one tree bringing it indoors. I almost lost this one, but it rebounded from its severe die-back. Even trying to bring it in just overnight resulted in a large amount of defoliation and some die-back. It’s probably the extreme change in temperature. If they’re brought in early enough so they never experience any cool/cold it might work.

Carlie Madsen Says:
Oct 28th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

My little meyer lemon tree is 1.5 years old, and it has three lemons growing and at least three more flowers on it. It very bushy and about two feet tall. Should I prune back some of the fruit since the tree is so young, or can I let it be.

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