The USDA have zones that let a grower know where they can grow certain trees. The Meyer Lemon trees are best grown in Hardiness Zones 8-11. In more northern zones they grow in pots that are indoors and safe from freezing temperatures.
Growing Meyer Lemon trees is very popular with gardeners and tree growers. Foliage that is attractive and evergreen with sporadic flowering are just some of the reasons why people like growing the Meyer Lemon. The ultimate bonus is in the fruit.
Caring for a Meyer lemon tree can be simple when following the steps. Here we will list and explain how to do that easily.
What Is a Meyer Lemon Tree?
You may be wondering what Meyer lemons are? They are actually a hybrid released to the University of California in 1975. Prior to that, Meyer lemon trees were imported from China. It was banned from the US for a while because it had a reputation for spreading diseases to healthy trees.
Today we have safer Meyer dwarf that is a cross between lemon and orange. It is thin skinned and produces sweet fruit and it grows well in the right conditions. The tree can reach 6-10 feet high. You will have to prune it to make it manageable and keep the right appearance.
The Meyer lemon tree is the simplest of most fruit trees to care for so if you don't deviate from the instructions it is a sure success.
How to Properly Care for a Meyer Lemon Tree
Know What They Like
Full sun and protection from the wind.
High quality soil for potting and a large pot with drain holes.
Correct watering. Soil should be wet not soaked and soggy.
With exception of the heart of winter—regular feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer or high nitrogen.
Temperatures between 50° F to 80°F and no lower than 32°F
Understand What They Don't Like
Getting their roots wet so avoid over watering
Temperatures below freezing
Not enough sunlight
Too little or too much fertilizer
Citrus trees love heat. The more sunlight the better they can take. If you are in a freezing zone, you should bring them inside to avoid damage. It is good to acclimate the trees to an outdoor climate. So, in the spring move them outside again. Make sure your tree is facing a south facing window to get the most sufficient sunlight available. The sunlight should be for 6 hours a day minimum.
The Right Soil and Container
Though Meyer lemons do well in almost all soil types they do best in loamy soil. You should ideally use a 1 gallon pot for a small non mature plant and a 5 gallon for a mature plant which is at or near its full height of 7-10 feet.
What to Feed Them
Meyer lemon trees respond well to kelp plant food and high nitrogen fertilizer. They respond really well to a little extra liquid fertilizer like liquid kelp of fish emulsion or compost tea but do not over feed.
Proper watering of citrus plants is one essential thing for growing happy plants. The key is not to over water. The way to tell if you have the right amount of water is to dip your finger to the second knuckle into the soil and if it comes out dry it's time to water. Simple and easy as that.
Protect Them Against Pests and Disease
When you have any citrus tree you have incredible disease potential that will spread from tree to tree quickly. Brown rot and citrus canker will develop in the spring. At this time you need to inspect the tree each week so that you can take care of the issue at the beginning rather than letting it spread.
At this time a fungicide spray with 50% copper which you can find in nearly every garden store will cure most common citrus diseases. If you see any insect activity an insecticide oil or soap may be all you need.
Prune as needed; always look for too long and dead branches and those that grow toward the tree trunk and not away. You want to be sure to maintain proper air flow around the body of the tree which also prevents diseases and encourages growth. If you want larger fruit, you need to snip off all but one budding fruit.
Assist It to Pollinate
If you have an indoor Meyer tree you may want to assist it to pollinate with a cotton swab. This is because there is no wind to help seed the plants and there are no pollination insects to help the process either. Simply rub the stamen of one of the buds and rub the pollen into the stamen of the others nearby. Do this several times for more complete pollination.
For more information and a more visual tutorial on the tips on growing meyer lemons, watch this video:
How to Harvest the Lemon
Use a small knife or a scissor to harvest fruit to avoid damaging the plant or taking off more than the intended amount. One thing to remember is that lemons will only continue to ripen on the tree so make sure it is completely ripe prior to harvest.
How do you tell if it's ripe? It will be soft to the touch and an egg yolk yellow.