Gardening Magazine

Meyer Lemon Tree

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0

For four years now, I've been doing my best to keep a Meyer Lemon tree alive and somewhat thriving. It is a container bound tree that lives outdoors June through September and indoors in front of a south facing window the remainder of the year. It has been a struggle ever since I received the little tree stub for Christmas from my beautiful bride but I am determined to eventually see the "fruits" of my labor.
Here is how it looks in its current state (actually from a week ago):       Meyer lemon tree
It has quadrupled in size but as you can tell, it is a bit awkward as many leaves have dropped from the branches over the years. As I move the container indoors each autumn, the tree becomes unhappy and sheds some leaves in protest. The tree manages to hold on OK through the winter, but it is your classic "one step forward and two steps back" situation.
So now I've decided to make some changes to hopefully get me a nice looking and well limbed tree and most importantly, some friggin fruit. Actually, my first fruit appeared this summer and here's hoping I can keep it on the tree over the winter:
Meyer lemon tree
Fingers are crossed.
Back to my changes:
  • I think I panicked a bit in the past and brought my tree in too soon; usually mid to late September. This year, I gave the tree a few more weeks of outdoor time and only brought it in last week in anticipation of our first frost.
  • I made it a point to slowly transition my tree from the outdoors to its ultimate winter landing place. The tree went from full sun all summer to partial sun for a week to my garage for a week. I am now ready to bring her indoors and hopefully the transition is a bit less stressful this year.
  • I never considered fertilizing my lemon tree while indoors but I am open to doing so this year. I've read quite a bit on the topic and while opinions vary, I am leaning towards feeding. What would you suggest?
  • I had previously lined the bottom of the container with perlite to aid in the drainage process but I can now attest to the fact that I believe that actually hindered the drainage. The perlite is out, new soil and a larger container are in and here's hoping we get some positives out of this.
  • Finally, I made the investment in a grow light and I'm counting on this to supplement the light the tree typically gets from my south facing window.
Meyer lemon tree
I'll be closely tracking the development of the tree this "off-season" and will share the results. In the interim, I beg for your feedback on what has or hasn't worked for you.
As always, thank you.

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