The Q&A Archives: Improved Meyer Lemon Losing Leaves

Question: I purchased this lemon tree on Mother's Da and put it on a screened in porch; it gets 2-4 hours of direct sun per day. However, the leaves are falling off. Do you have any suggestions on what I could be doing wrong. Thank you.

Answer: It sounds like shock. Moving plants indoors from outdoors, or from a nursery/greenhouse situation can be a real shock to their system because the conditions are usually so different. Yellowing, dropping leaves is a typical reaction. Don't fertilize for a month or so, but continue watering regularly; slowly and deeply. The plant might go dormant for a while and then new growth should appear. Citrus generally need 8-10 hours of full sun, so try to give more direct light. Citrus are also heavy users of nitrogen, so start fertilizing when your plant recovers. Try to find a fertilizer specifically for citrus. Since yours is in a container you might just want to feed lightly on a continuing basis. I use a liquid fertilizer (Miracle-Gro or Peter's) and dilute it to half-strength. I feed my citrus every 2-3 weeks with this solution and it is thriving. In the fall you'll need to take your tree indoors. Slowly acclimate your plant to moving it indoors for a couple of hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time it remains indoors until it is inside 24 hours a day. In spring you can move it back outdoors by putting it outside in a sheltered location for a couple hours at a time, gradually increasing the time period. Best wishes with your lemon tree!

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