The Q&A Archives: Meyer Lemon

Question: Hi,

I bought a Meyer improved lemon tree a month ago. When I got it looked very healthy and was on its way to producing some lemons. However, a weekend into bring it home the flowers and new fruits fell off. The tree gets plenty of light as my apt faces east. I know it needs southern exposure but here in Manhattan that kind of exposure comes with a price. I water it regularly and talk to it and begged it to grow bigger. I trimmed it down to keep it tidy. I think it could be the container as it is slightly smaller than the recommended size 5 gallon and it is a glazed container which is not healthy for the plant. I want to prepare it for the winter as it can get really cold in NY; what do I need to do to prepare it?

Thank you,

E. Son

Answer: It sounds as though your lemon tree is suffering from a little shock. It was probably grown under ideal conditions in a greenhouse and when you brought it home, things were not quite the same. The tree is going through an adjustment period and when it adapts to the growing conditions in your home, it should once again produce flowers and fruit. Like most houseplants, citrus thrive in a normal temperature range, of 70 degrees during day, to 55 to 55 degrees at night.

Citrus trees prefer full sun from a southern exposure. If that's not possible, you can supplement the light by installing 40-watt fluorescent shop lights above the plant, keeping it on 14-16 hour a day.

As for moisture, you'll need to keep the soil evenly moist and since most interiors are quite dry, mist your plant often -- daily if you can. Give your lemon tree a shower occasionally to remove dust.

Your tree can remain in its nursery pot for 2-3 years before it outgrows it. At that time you'll want to repot using fresh potting soil. Eventually it will need to be planted in a larger pot - a 5-gallon size should be fine, but I don't think it is ready for a larger pot right now.

Just continue giving it good care and it should adapt to the growing ocnditions in your home.

Best wishes with your lemon tree!

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