The Q&A Archives: Container Lemon Tree

Question: I have an almost 3-year old lemon tree in a large container. It grows and grows, but has never bloomed or set fruit. Can you tell me what I can do? Is it possible that I have a male tree that will never bloom?

Answer: Citrus trees are very sensitive to cold temperatures. If your plant is outdoors, it could be the weather that's affecting the flower buds, by killing them off before they have a chance to open. If your plant is indoors and cold temperatures aren't a factor, you may be over-feeding the plant, which will produce lots of new green growth at the expense of flower buds. It is possible that you have a non-productive sport that has grown from the rootstock and will never bear fruit. But, before you toss it out, prune the tree back this spring to encourage new stems that will produce new leaf and flower buds. If, after pruning, adjusting the fertilizer, giving your plant lots of sunshine and lots of water, it still doesn't flower, then I'd give up on it and replace it with a new lemon tree. Choose a cultivar that does well in containers, such as 'Meyer Improved' or 'Eureka'.

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