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How to Take Care of a Potted Meyer Lemon Tree

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Meyer lemons are sweeter than most other varieties because they are a cross between the lemon and the Mandarin orange. Meyers were introduced to the United States from China in 1908 and have become popular among home gardeners, who value their juiciness, taste and uses in recipes, tea and other beverages. Because they have a thinner skin than the Eureka lemon, Meyers do not keep or store as well. Meyers are not widely grown for commercial distribution, so the best way to keep yourself stocked with this citrus is to grow your own—you can even grow one in a pot on your apartment balcony if it gets plenty of sun.

Growing Meyer Lemons in Pots

Pot your young Meyer lemon tree in a 12-inch pot, with potting mix. Be sure to provide drainage because citrus can die if it is waterlogged. If you use a plant saucer to protect your wooden deck, empty it weekly, after water has drained from the soil.

Keep your potted Meyer lemon tree in a sunny outdoor location—it will need about 12 hours of sunlight daily. If your deck or patio does not receive that much sunlight, install grow lights.

Use a special fertilizer designed for citrus trees, with a nutrient ratio of 8-8-8. Mix the fertilizer, whether it is granular or liquid, with water according to package instructions. Fertilize four times a year during periods of active growth, but not during winter.

Control insects and other pests such as snails with appropriate products. For snails and slugs, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the soil in your pot or use a commercial snail bait. Insecticidal soap is helpful for such pests as aphids, white flies, scale and spider mites.

Meyer lemon trees are sensitive to frost, so if you live in an area that receives frost, move the tree indoors during winter. Use artificial light to help it survive without direct sunlight.

Prune the tree to keep its size manageable. Prune the citrus without damaging the plant during the winter, when it is mostly dormant.

Spray with sulfur if you notice a sooty buildup on the leaves. This may indicate the presence of powdery mildew, a fungal disease that can drastically reduce fruit production and even kill the plant.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Young Meyer lemon tree
  • Decorative 12-inch pot with drainage hole(s)
  • Slightly acidic potting soil
  • Water
  • Citrus fertilizer
  • Snail bait or diatomaceous earth (optional)
  • Insecticidal soap (optional)
  • Pruning clippers
  • Sulfur spray (if needed)

Tip

  • If you cannot move your Meyer lemon indoors in the winter, protect it with plastic or a blanket when temperatures are expected to fall below freezing. Do not allow the plastic or blanket to touch the leaves, fruit or branches because frost can burn right through them.

Warning

  • Never cut branches with flower buds because this will reduce your lemon harvest.

About the Author

 

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.