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How to Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree

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How to Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree

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Overview

The Meyer lemon tree, commonly grown indoors and outdoors as a dwarf citrus, can add a bright and beautiful accent to any home or garden. Meyer lemons are hybrids of a lemon and mandarin orange, and lack the thick skin and 'nipple' of true lemons. Their taste is not as sharp as true lemons and can add a different flavor in cooking. With the right conditions and proper care, you can grow a Meyer lemon tree.

Initial steps

Step 1

Purchase a Meyer lemon tree from your local nursery or garden center.

Step 2

Look for trees that are between 2 and 3 years old, well-formed, and free of disease or damage.

Step 3

Prepare a soil mixture for your tree by combining equal amounts of peat moss, potting soil and coarse sand.

Growing indoors

Step 1

Select an area in your home that will receive plenty of sunlight, preferably from a southern exposure.

Step 2

Supplement the light the tree receives with fluorescent light, if sufficient sunlight is unavailable.

Step 3

Pollinate the flowers of the plants with a small paint brush or cotton swab if you want the three to bear fruit indoors.

Planting in a container

Step 1

Select a 10- to 15-gallon container. Ensure that the container has a drain plug or drain holes.

Step 2

Place a layer of stones or broken pottery in the bottom of the container and add the soil mixture.

Step 3

Dig a hole in the mixture and place the root ball of the tree into it. Make sure there is just enough soil to barely cover the root ball. Do not allow the trunk to be covered with soil or it will rot.

Step 4

Water the soil thoroughly.

Planting outdoors

Step 1

Check the hardiness zone for your region to determine if Meyer lemons will grow in your area. Meyer lemons grow best in zones 9 and 10.

Step 2

Select an area that will receive plenty of sunlight and is protected from wind and other elements.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is twice the width and depth of the root ball, and fill the hole with the planting mixture.

Step 4

Dig a hole in the planting mixture and place the root ball in it. Make sure there is just enough soil to barely cover the root ball. Do not allow the trunk to be covered with soil or it will rot.

Step 5

Create a soil basin around the trunk of the tree to aid in watering, cover the soil with mulch and water thoroughly.

Watering

Step 1

Trees whose trunks are less than one inch in diameter and planted in the ground should be watered two to three times a week during the summer and as needed during winter dry spells. Trees whose trunks are more than one inch in diameter should be watered less frequently but more deeply.

Step 2

Trees whose trunks are less than one inch in diameter and are planted in containers should be watered two to three times a week during the spring and daily during the summer. Water as needed during the winter to prevent the soil from drying out.

Step 3

Ensure that the entire root ball is drenched when watering. Keep the soil slightly moist but not wet.

Fertilizing

Step 1

Select a fertilizer that has a 2-1-1 ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus and potassium, and trace elements of iron, zinc and manganese. Fertilizers specifically formulated for citrus trees are available

Step 2

Look for yellowing leaves that may indicate a need to fertilize.

Step 3

Spread the fertilizer at the rate recommended on the package. For container trees, supplement the citrus fertilizer with an all-purpose fertilizer in spring and summer.

Step 4

Do not fertilize in the winter.

Pruning

Step 1

Prune your tree after all the fruit has ripened and harvested.

Step 2

Remove any suckers that grow from the soil.

Step 3

Remove any small or weak branches, or branches that are inter-crossing from the tree, leaving a few strong branches to form a solid framework.

Step 4

Trim away the tips of the branches to shape the tree and encourage new growth. Shape the tree to be smaller of the top and larger the bottom.

Step 5

Thin the tree of some juvenile fruit to reduce the load on the branches.

Things You'll Need

  • 2- to 3-year-old Meyer lemon tree
  • 10- to 15-gallon container
  • Stones or broken pottery
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Course sand

References

  • Meyerlemontree.com
  • Purdue University - Lemon
  • Texas Citrus and Subtropical Fruits
Keywords: meyer, lemon, container, indoors, grow

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.

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