Meyer lemon trees are popular with home gardeners, and it’s not hard to see why. These lemon trees can produce fruit within a few years if properly cared for. It can take up to seven years for a seed-grown tree to produce fruit. People also enjoy Meyer lemon trees because they are attractive, evergreen, and fragrant. That the trees also produce lemons is an added bonus.
Meyer lemon trees can be grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11. People in northern areas have had success growing Meyer lemons indoors, growing them in large containers away from the cold weather. That these lemon trees can be grown indoors is another reason they are so popular.
Caring for your lemon tree is simple once you know – and follow – some essential care tips. We’ll go into all of these tips to help you care for your lemon trees.
What are Meyer Lemons?
Let’s take a quick look at what Meyer lemons are before jumping into how to care for them. The modern Meyer lemon tree is a hybrid created in 1975 by the University of California. Meyer lemons were imported from China before then.
While these lemon trees were very popular, they were also susceptible to disease. Meyer lemons were even banned because they had a tendency to spread dangerous viruses to otherwise healthy trees.
The modern Meyer lemon dwarf tree represents a mix of oranges and lemons. Meyer melons are thin-skinned and thrive in the right conditions. Meyer lemon trees can grow between six and ten feet tall. As it grows, pruning the tree keeps it at a manageable level and makes for a fuller growth and appearance. Meyer lemon trees are also self-pollinating, meaning that you can get fruit from a single tree.
Caring for Meyer lemon trees isn’t difficult, so long as you stick to these five simple tips;
Find the Ideal Home For the Tree
The good news about growing these lemon trees is that you have several options for where to keep it. Meyer lemons are versatile and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. You can also keep your lemon tree in a pot.
The most important thing for your lemon tree is that it gets six hours of sunlight every day. You may need to use heat lamps to keep it warm over the winter if you grow it indoors. If kept outside, then make sure the tree has some shade as too much sunlight is just as dangerous as too little.
Start With a Grafted Tree Rather than a Seed
It can take a long time to grow a Meyer lemon tree. For all the love and care you put into growing your lemons, there is the risk it won’t flower. We recommend you buy a healthy sapling to get the most out of your lemons and guarantee fruit production. Saplings are grafted onto rootstocks and sold like that.
Don’t think that buying a grafted tree is cheating the gardening system, either. Buying a graft is the most effective method for growing Meyer lemons. Some places that sell these trees only sell them as grafts, too, so you could have trouble finding seeds.
Watch the Water Levels
Lemon trees, like other plants, require water to be healthy. However, lemon trees can drown under too much water. You should never give your lemon tree over two gallons of water per day.
One way to avoid overwatering is to use a draining pot. The plant can take all the water it needs while the rest harmlessly drains out of the pot.
Fertilize Your Trees
It takes more than just light and water to get fruit from a citrus tree. You also need to use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage fruit growth. It would be best if you gave your lemon tree regular fertilizer treatments – at least three times per year during the growing season – to get fruit.
Be Careful When Harvesting
It takes between six and eight months for Meyer lemons to ripen. As tempting as it is, you shouldn’t pick them too soon. Citrus fruits don’t ripen after being picked as other fruits do.
Take care when harvesting the lemons. Use cutting shears to get the fruit. Pulling the lemons straight off the branch can damage the other lemons still ripening.
Grow a Meyer Lemon Tree at Home
You’ll love having lemons in your home. Whether you grow your Meyer lemons indoors or outdoors, they are sure to add a nice touch to your life. Keep these care tips in mind to get fresh lemons for your home.