The Q&A Archives: Lemon Trees

Question: Is it possible to grow lemon trees in the upper pennsula of Michigan outside? Or can you grow them inside in large pails and set outside in summer? Will they bear fruit ok to eat?

Answer: You can grow a lemon tree in a container, enjoy it outdoors during the spring and summer months and use it as a houseplant during the winter months. They do bear fruit. I think the best choice is a Meyer Lemon. 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 dranined soil. No wet feet.. Hardy to 25 degrees farenheit. 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. Best wishes with your new lemon tree!

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