The Q&A Archives: Yellow Mottling On Meyer Lemon

Question: I just purchased one of your 1 gallon Meyer Lemons from Triple Tree Nursery in Maple Ridge. It is blooming but the leaves are showing some slight yellow mottling and are not the dark, rich green you would expect. There is also some leaf drop. I purchased the plant anyway because I wanted one so badly. I would appreciate care/remedy instructions. Thank you.

LJ Benjamin


Several things could cause yellowing leaves. When young leaves (those near the end of shoots) turn yellow, we usually consider an iron deficiency to be the cause. High pH, high phosphorous and of course low soil iron levels all can result in iron deficiency symptoms. If older leaves are yellowing, nitrogen may be deficient. Root problems are another cause of yellowing leaves. Root rot infection, physical damage to roots, drought and overwatering (soggy, waterlogged soil) can all cause leaves to turn yellow and fall. Try to determine which of the cultural problems listed above may be the cause and take steps to alleviate it. If a root rot disease is present, there may be little that you can do at this time other than to avoid overwatering which tends to make things worse.

The c Tree is a hardy variety and the best lemon tree for sub-tropical climates, but it is also perfectly adapted to container growing (and wintering indoors in cold winter climates). In true fact, the Meyer Lemon is not actually a real lemon but a cross between a lemon, a type of orange and a mandarin. While it retains most of the characteristics of a lemon, it has a bit less acidity, less bitterness, more sweetness and thinner skin. The skin of the Meyer Lemon lacks the typical zest of a real lemon. It has gained favor because it bears a heavy crop and it is a relatively hardy plant, as far as citrus goes.

Here are some guidelines for success: Performs best with full sun (at least 8 hours per day). Regular water with well drained soil. No wet feet.. Hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Can grow in a pot to restrict size or in areas that can suffer a heavy freeze. Grows to 15 feet tall and wide or larger if planted in the ground. Sandy, well-drained, dry, alkaline soil works best. Tolerates acidic soil if necessary. Low salt tolerance. Rounded growth habit. Medium rate of growth. Used for Patio Tree, Screen, Fruit and as a Specimen Plant. The Meyer Lemon bears heavily when mature. Its crop size increases as the plant matures. It may bear 10 or more lemons even at 3 years of age. The fruit is green in color until it matures. When mature on the tree, the Meyer Lemon changes to a yellow-orange color. That will take longer than you expect. The main crop matures in the summer. In a tropical climate, the Meyer Lemon Tree can bear fruit nearly all year long. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy wet. After 3 or 4 years in a pot, you need to replace the soil since it will be exhausted of nutrients. You can either replant into a larger pot or cut away some of the outer roots with a sharp, strong knife and replant in the same pot but with fresh potting soil.

Hope this information helps you help your plant regain its health!

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