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How to care for a Meyer lemon

Is that a lemon tree in the background? I've been babying a Meyer lemon for 10 years now. No flowering, no fruit, just a beautiful tree that gets bigger and frustrates me more and more each year.
--- Fostermamas


Lemon meringue pieWe love our dwarf Meyer lemon.  We got it as a tiny tree two years ago and ate our first four lemons last February.  We just got three more lemons that turned into the most delicious lemon meringue pie, and the tree still has four half-grown lemons and an explosion of flowers on its branches.

We've now met four other people who have dwarf Meyer lemons, and the reports are varied.  Our neighbor has a several year old tree that had 91 lemons on it last year:

Dwarf Meyer lemon with 91 fruits


On the other hand, my father's lemon tree is a year old with no sign of blooms or fruits.  Another friend's lemon tree looks even more puny.  What's going on?

I'm far from an expert on dwarf Meyer lemons, but I'm starting to think that the trees require heavy feeding and big pots.  Our lemon tree is in a five gallon pot that I filled with stump dirt, topped off later with worm castings, and now fertilize regularly with compost tea from the worm bin.  My neighbor's amazing lemon tree is in an even bigger pot and he feeds it Miracle Grow.  On the other hand, the less happy trees I've seen have all been in smaller pots.  Remember, creating lemons takes a lot of energy, so your tree needs plenty of nitrogen.

My advice, for what it's worth --- transplant your lemon into a big pot and feed it, feed it, feed it!  Under the right conditions, dwarf Meyer lemons are a great source of citrus for those in cold climates who want to grow their own as a houseplant.



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comment 1
How do you keep your soil healthy in a potted citrus. I mean stuff keeps being added and nothing removed. I would think this can lead to toxicity or over abundance of some components in the soil.
Comment by Errol Sun Dec 13 13:13:31 2009
comment 2

Well, the soil in my pots keeps getting lower and lower and I keep having to top it off, so I guess some of it does get used up by the plant. I can see what you mean about toxic levels of different things building up, but I assume what I've been feeding my plant has been taken up in relatively equal amounts.

Though now that I'm reading this really cool book about soil ecology, I'm starting to wonder if what has made my tree happy hasn't been so much the fertilizing as the beneficial bacteria and fungi in the compost tea and worm castings I feed it.

Comment by anna Sun Dec 13 14:38:01 2009
i just bought a meyer lemon and now that i've read your comments, I can plant my lemon and watch it grow. thanks
Comment by pat s Tue Mar 23 18:29:57 2010
I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a really good tree --- you're going to love it!
Comment by anna Tue Mar 23 20:01:12 2010
After buggy my husband for a few months, he went out and bought me a meyer lemon tree. Needless to say, it made my day. After a couple of months, I was delighted to see blossoms, now I have to be patient and wait for the beautiful fruit.
Comment by Amy Tue Jun 8 19:02:43 2010
I'm glad to hear you took the plunge! Meyer lemons are one of my favorites, despite having to live indoors in the winter. It's quite a wait for the fruits, which probably won't come until the winter, but it's entirely worth it.
Comment by anna Wed Jun 9 06:48:57 2010
Did you start this tree from seed, or from a (storebought?) plant?
Comment by J Fri Dec 24 20:06:03 2010
It's a storebought, grafted plant. A friend of my father's started a Meyer lemon from seed and I have it in our sun room area. I need to do some research, though, because I suspect grafting the lemon onto dwarfing rootstock is essential for indoors cultivation. I guess if I don't get my act together to research, I will know soon enough!
Comment by anna Sat Dec 25 14:20:08 2010

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