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How to Plant Meyer Lemon Trees

The Meyer lemon (Citrus x meyeri) is a lovely small tree that reaches 15 feet in height. It is also known as the valley lemon in Texas. The Meyer lemon was discovered in China and brought back to the United States in 1908. It is not a true lemon, but is believed to be a cross between a lemon and either a tangerine or orange. The fruit of the Meyer lemon is rounder and has a thin, orange-tinted skin. The fruit itself is sweeter, and less acidic to taste.

Choose a sunny location for this tree. It can tolerate partial shade but will produce less fruit. Meyer lemons are not fussy about soil, but do require it to be well-drained. They will tolerate dry conditions, but fruit production will suffer. They are not tolerant of salt exposure. They are hardy to about 25 degrees and can survive temperatures as low at 15 degrees with adequate protection.

Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and as deep as the container. Mix some organic material (peat moss, leaf mold, manure, or compost) into the soil that has been removed. The ratio should be 1/3 organic matter to 2/3 soil.

Remove the plant from its container. If the roots are a dense mass, score the root about 1 inch deep in three places with the pruning saw. This will help prevent girdling (this occurs when the roots of a container grown-plant circles the trunk instead of spreading out in a more natural manner; as the tree grows, the roots can strangle the tree). Prune any visibly damaged roots.

Fill in around roots with the mix. When you have filled in the hole halfway, fill the planting hole with water. As it drains, it will settle the planting mix around the roots. Continue filling in the hole and water again.

Water every day for the first two weeks, then weekly for the first year, as needed, while the tree is actively growing. Meyer lemons should receive 1 inch of water per week..


Meyer lemons do well when grown in a container. In areas where the winter temperatures occasionally reach the mid 20s, Meyer lemons can be moved to an unheated garage for protection on cold nights.


Meyer lemons are carriers of the citrus tristeza virus and although they exhibit no symptoms, they can infect other citrus growing nearby. The cultivar known as the improved Meyer lemon is free from the virus and is the preferred cultivar to grow.

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