Lemon tree has been grown around the world for hundreds of years. Not only is it pretty to look at, its flowers are also deliciously fragrant and the lemons it produces are great for culinary use.
The Meyer lemon tree originated in China and made its way to the United States around the turn of the 20th century. This particular lemon variety is much sweeter and less sour than the average lemon and has more orange-like characteristics.
The Meyer lemon tree produces fruit that is actually a cross between a lemon and Mandarin orange. Because these lemons have the typical lemony flavor, but are more naturally sweet, they are a favorite of chefs and bakers all over the world.
Just think of the drinks and treats you’ll be able to surprise your family with, using these succulent, sweet lemons!
If you’ve ever been to a state fair, you’ve probably tasted fresh squeezed, ice cold sweet lemonade. That’s what Meyer lemons taste like! The Meyer lemon flesh is a light orange-yellow color, with juice sweeter than that of most lemons.
Dwarf citrus such as the Meyer lemon don’t ask for much in the way of care – give them plenty of light and a sunny southern exposure, keeping the temperature above 60F.
Water only when the first two or three inches of topsoil feels dry to the touch, being mindful that the roots should not be allowed to dry out.
Citrus needs at least six hours of sunlight to remain productive during the winter months so a full-spectrum fluorescent light may be needed as a supplement.
Compact enough even for urban balconies and limited-space gardens, Meyer Improved lemon trees will begin bearing large, juicy, thick-skinned fruit at an early age! Even if there were no fruit at all, this evergreen would be attractive enough to grow as an ornamental.
The leaves are lush and glossy, the small white flowers (arising indoors in late winter, just when the house needs some color and scent!) are intensely fragrant.
Once established, Meyer lemon trees are rather low-maintenance, and their delectable fruit is a fine benefit.
In cold climates just plant your tree in a large pot and move it indoors during the winter. It will become your favorite houseplant because it adapts beautifully and becomes a great conversation piece.
The bright yellow/orange fruit set against deep green foliage, and sweet fragrance, will catch everyone’s attention. Children love to watch the fruit grow.
Tips for Growing a Lemon Tree in a Pot
- Pick a large enough pot, at least 14″ diameter, and depth
- Use high quality potting soil and time release fertilizer
- Bring indoors before first frost
- Place in front of sunniest windows
- Rotate pot weekly, so back becomes front
- Water when soil dries out
- Keep deep saucer under pot
- Prune out dead branches (encourages new growth)
- Place outdoors after last frost
- Needs at least 5-6 hours of good sunlight
- Keep it watered well outdoors
- If leaves turn yellow, add liquid fertilizer
- Apply a 12-12-12 fertilizer in a 2-foot radius around the tree trunk, once in February, once in May and once in September. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly on the soil and water it thoroughly.
Use 1 cup of fertilizer for each year of the tree’s age. For instance, a one-year-old tree should get 1 cup of fertilizer while a three-year-old tree should get 3 cups.
I concoct my own recipe: a weak solution of fish fertilizer amended with kelp meal, blood meal and alfalfa meal to approximate the 12-12-12 formula.
I also amend my little tree every few months with a teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in a cup or two of warm water. I soak my hands in this mixture and then pour it onto the soil.
This loving attention deters yellowing leaves on the plant and soothes the gardener’s busy hands as well. Don’t forget to mist frequently with plain water to help control indoor plant pests and keep the leaves free of dust.
Want to know more about growing a lemon tree?
The benefits of drinking lemon water are here:
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Yours truly, Polly – Organic Gardener