The Q&A Archives: Meyer Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow and Falling Off

Question: I have a Meyer lemon tree received as a gift at Christmas. It is blooming and smells wonderful but the leaves are yellowing and falling off. Do you have any suggestions? It is indoors (of course) but not in direct heat. Thanks! Susan Alexander

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 spring you'll want to take your tree outdoors. Slowly acclimate your plant to moving it outdoors for a couple of hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time it remains outdoors until it is outside 24 hours a day. In fall you can move it back indoors by reversing the process. Best wishes with your lemon tree!

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