Ask a Question forum→Repotting a Genoa Dwarf Lemon Tree

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Los Angeles, CA
Jul 11, 2019 12:27 PM CST
Hi. I purchased a 3 year old Genoa #5 Dwarf Lemon Tree yesterday. I love it, it's a real cutie, and had three juicy ripe big lemons already on it (which I had to pluck off for transport on my scooter). The previous owner said something about it being due for repotting soon. In any case, I'd like to do so, so it'll grow bigger and make more lemons, so I stopped by home depot to pick up soil, perlite, peat moss. I have a few questions. Is there a better time to repot it or is now okay (I live in Los Angeles)? And, judging from the photo, would a 10 gallon container be a an appropriate size upgrade (right now it's in a 4.5 gallon bucket)? Also, should I have any concern about the tree being rootbound, and thus not a wise idea to transfer it? Lastly, the woman was giving it "partial sun". Practically the only place I have for it to exist is in full sun. Is full sun okay? Perhaps I should haul it indoors into "shade" every day for a few hours, to get it accustomed to more light? Thanks for any help!!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jul 11, 2019 3:43 PM CST
If you repot, regular potting soil with added perlite for good drainage is good. I wouldn't add peat moss - the soil has that in it. Alternately, I would use Cactus, Palm and Citrus soil by itself. I say "if" you repot because, the current pot has plenty of room if you lift the tree out of the pot and add soil underneath. If you want a different pot, find one only slightly bigger but wider - citrus roots are very near the surface of the soil, not deep in the pot (unless too crowded).

Don't fertilize. The potting soil comes with a built-in supply. You shouldn't need to fertilize until next early spring when you see signs of new growth. Then, use citrus specific food at 1/2 the recommended strength and repeat 2 or 3 more times during the rest of the year (when the tree is not actively growing, don't feed it).

Citrus do live in full sun but have to be acclimated or they will sunburn. Moving it into the house for the hottest part of the day for a while would probably work if you don't have a part-shade spot outside.

The best time to repot is in early spring but anytime during active growth is okay.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
Jul 11, 2019 3:57 PM CST
I'm a little concerned with your comment about root bound. Some plants enjoy being root bound, and plenty more don't. To the best of my knowledge, lemon trees prefer to have a little room. It does not look root bound in the photo (ie, no obvious roots stick out from the bottom.) Since the seller suggested potting up, I would take her suggestion. Going from a 5 gallon to a ten gallon is a bit of a leap, but the tree will figure it out.

The shape is rather ganglely, like it has not had enough light. It looks like it needs tip pruning.
Name: one-eye-luke US.Vet.
Texas (Zone 8a)
Quitter's never Win
Hummingbirder Birds Organic Gardener Dog Lover Cat Lover
Jul 11, 2019 4:21 PM CST
Sally, that Genoa #5 Dwarf Lemon is a sweet tree. I just love them in containers. You can pull that plant out of that pot and add about 2 gallons of fresh soil to the bottom of the pot. That would give you about 2 extra months of growth in that container before transplanting. If you go with a 10 gallon container be careful not to over water, especially in partial shade. I mostly up-pot to larger containers when the tree has to be watered too frequently. Good luck
NOT A EXPERT! Just a grow worm! I never met a plant I didn’t love.✌
Los Angeles, CA
Jul 12, 2019 2:22 AM CST
Wow, thanks to all three of your for the very helpful responses, which I discovered just now! Daisyl, Cactus, Palm and Citrus soil is exactly the soil I purchased alongside perlite and peat moss. Had read a few different places online recommending to make a mix of these three ingredients evenly (although nobody specified what kind of soil). You disagree strongly and think this Miracle-Gro soil is enough on its own? You mean peat moss comes in any soil mix already, or you think there's already moss in this pot? Would be happy to return moss and perlite to home depot and re-pocket the money. Appreciate you and luke's good eyes for the GENIUS idea to first fill in some more soil underneath the pot. Brilliant. Daisyl, what was your point in mentioning "citrus roots are very near the surface of the soil, not deep in the pot"? Sallymander, yes there's not any roots coming out the bottom on the sides or underneath, so I doubt it's root bound. What exactly should I be pruning - a few leaves form the top (yes I am a relatively new gardner)? Yes maybe it skimped on light - she had it on her apt balcony for 3 years. But certainly is giving lemons. And indeed it is a very sweet tree, luke. I like it a lot.
[Last edited by phenomenalworld - Jul 12, 2019 12:40 PM (+)]
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