If you love lemons, but always thought you could never grow your own because you don’t have a garden, live on a small section or in a old climate, there is good news for you.
Dwarf Lemon Trees Can be Grown in a Pot
There are various varieties of dwarf lemon trees, and as long as you choose one in the dwarf variety you shouldn’t have a problem with an over sized lemon tree later on.
Some of these dwarf varieties include the Lisbon dwarf, Ponderosa dwarf and the Meyer dwarf.
The meyer variety is the most popular one as it is a hybrid lemon that is crossed with a mandarin, delivers a good sized sweeter tasting lemon fruit, and also has beautiful flowers with a lovely fragrance.
These dwarf varieties are also good for those that live in a cold climate, or a climate that gets very cold in the winter, as you can bring your potted lemon tree indoors.
When your meyer lemon tree is in the right place, it will grow well. On average the dwarf will grow approximately 1.8 – 2.5 metres high in a pot and a little bigger if planted directly in the garden. You may have to move it around until you find the correct spot. Dwarf species normally fruit over the winter months.
Choosing and Planting a Lemon Tree:
Make sure you get a grafted meyer tree, as they grow better and produce better fruit than trees grown from seed. A grafted tree will have a distinct ringlike formation or a swollen looking lump in the bark on the lower trunk.
When to pot – Can be planted any time but spring is the best time.
Pot – Get a pot with good drainage – Eg: Enough holes in the bottom for water to drain from.
Size of Pot – Once planted your tree should have all roots covered with soil with an empty space of approximately 1 inch or a couple of centimeters between the top of the pot and the soil.
To check this – Place the new plant inside or next to the pot (if still in the shop) and picture how much empty space you will have between the top of the pot and the soil. This space should be approximately 1 inch or a couple of centimeters.
Potting mix – Use a potting mix for outdoor plants, preferably one for citrus trees. Potting mixes can be harmful to your health – Always ensure you follow safety precautions when using potting mixes.
Planting in the pot – Gently tap around the sides and bottom of the wrapping on your new plant and slide the wrapping off. Cut off any dead roots.
If the roots are root bound (stuck in long threads going up or down the sides of the dirt clump) gently straighten them out.
Line the bottom of the pot with potting mix – place your new plant inside the pot and fill the rest of the pot with potting mix, making sure you leave the required empty gap of a couple of centimeters from the top of the pot. A quick short video on How To Plant a Citrus Tree in a Pot by the Home Depot.
What Meyer Lemon Trees Like:
- Full sun – At least six hours of sun each day
- Not too much wind
- A pot with good drainage – Holes in the bottom
- A good quality potting mix – Preferably a mix pacifically for citrus plants
- To be kept moist – If you over water your lemon tree it will die. Just ensure the soil around it is kept moist.
- To be fed with a nitrogen fertilizer – Use a fertilizer pacifically for citrus trees. Follow the recommendations on the box of how often to fertilize.
What the Meyer Lemon Tree Doesn’t Like:
- Freezing temperatures
- Too much water – (will kill the plant)
- Too much or not enough fertilizer
- Strong winds
- Not enough light – At least six hours a day is needed
- Mulch – Never mulch a citrus tree as it will cause mold to grow on the trunk.
Transferring your tree indoors – If you live in an area with a very cold winter and have enough room, it’s a good idea to bring your tree indoors.
Before bringing it indoors it is best to move your tree to an overhang area such as a pergola or carport for a couple of weeks. This will help the tree to become accustomed to it’s new environment gradually before it comes indoors. (Reverse this process about two weeks before you bring it back outdoors in the spring.)
Once your plant is indoors place it near a window that gets plenty of sun – without excess heat.
Yellowing leaves – Means your tree either needs water (if your plant is not moist) or fertilizer.
Young curled leaves – This could be a sign you have aphids. To remove aphids, you can buy an aphid spray at your local garden store or spray soapy water on both sides of these leaves. Planting lavender or marigolds near your tree can also act as a deterrent for aphids.
Flowering and fruit drops off – It is common for some flowering and fruit drop to occur when trees go through a growth spurt, when it’s particularly warm or when there has been a lot of rain.
Citrus bugs – Spraying your tree with an oil such as Pest Oil can help prevent various citrus bugs such as aphids or scale from ruining your tree.
Suckers or Shoots coming from the bottom of the trunk – If you have a grafted lemon tree there will be a distinct ringlike formation or scar in the bark on the lower trunk.
The bark above the graft scar will have a different appearance and texture from the bark below it. Above the ring/scar is the grafted variety – the part of the tree you keep.
The graft may look like a large lump or swelling on the trunk, about 2-4 centimeters above ground level. Below this graft is the rootstock (the plant your tree was grafted with) – Any shoots/suckers in this area will need to be cut off.
If you don’t cut them off it can overtake your tree, and suckers don’t usually produce good fruit.
Pruning – General pruning should be done in late spring, after the last of the bad frosts.
Recipes – Yummy free recipes using lemons – You can also add your own recipes to.
Article written by Wen Dee
SUBSCRIBE to Zip Zap Insights – Latest Articles