The Q&A Archives: Moving Plants Outdoors

Question: I received a Meyer Improved Lemon Treet last December and have been growing under a HPS light indoors. It currently has 10 - 12 lemons growing on it. How do I move it outside for the summer and when is the best time to do so to avoid shocking it? Will I lose the lemons?

Thanks for the help.

Answer: Meyer Lemon makes a terrific houseplant and reliably sets fruit when the conditions are right. Fruit development is reliant on sunshine (or a suitable substitute) and ample water. If you take care in acclimating your tree to outdoor conditions, it should continue to develop and ripen its fruit. The key is to move it gradually, and time the move so the outdoor temperatures are very close to what your tree is experiencing indoors. Begin by moving your tree outdoors into a shady site for a few hours during the warmest part of the day and then taking it back indoors. Move it outside for longer and longer periods of time until it's outside 24 hours a day. Once your tree has gotten over that hurdle, you can begin setting it where it will experience a few hours of direct morning sunshine. Gradually increase the number of hours of direct sunshine until your tree is getting at least 8 hours of sun each day. This entire process can take 2-3 weeks, but it's a good way to avoid environmental shock and retain the fruit your tree is developing.

Best wishes with your tree!

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