The Q&A Archives: Winter Indoor Care Of Lemon Tree

Question: I have a lenom tree that bore fruit last year,
however, the fruit was pitted and dry. I believe
the tree was infested with aphids. I treated it
with insectidal soap and cleaned the stems and
branches with alcohol. This year I hope that we
are off to a better start. I was told to eleminate the number of blossoms to prevent weakening the plant. How do you feel? Also what kind of fertilizer do you recommend? How often? I believe the tree is four years old.

Answer: Generally speaking, removing some of the blossoms to reduce fruit set can result in larger fruit and perhaps conserve some of the plant's energy, but the tree will still produce as best it can with either with a few larger or more numerous but smaller fruits. On an ornamental plant I think what is more important is looks. You could always try it and see what you think. Most important is to maintain good overall health. In cold winter areas citrus trees can be grown indoors from September through May and then gradually acclimated and taken outdoors to a sunny spot for the warmer months. In fall, reverse the process. Indoors, citrus trees need average to cool room temperatures, freedom from drafts, adequate water, and well draining soil. You may need to suplement the natural light unless you have a very sunny bright location for the tree. Citrus trees need ample moisture, so water often enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy (this will be less often in winter, more often in summer), and feed only when the tree is in active growth in the spring and summer months. Use either a diluted liquid or a time release fertilizer according to the label instructions. This spring you should notice new leaf buds. Citrus usually sets flowers in the summer, so you probably won't see any until then. In the meantime, keep a watchful eye out for pest problems so you can stop them before they become serious.

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