Plant Care 101: Meyer Lemon Tree
The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and that means fall is officially here! Now's the time to bring in your fruit trees...and that brings us to the Meyer Lemon. Wonderfully fresh citrus scent to many homes, versatile growth, and sweet, delicious lemons. When it comes to the Meyer Lemon Tree, what's not to love?
The best part? The Meyer couldn't be easier to grow. In fact, with our larger sizes, you can have fruit in the very first year. And whether you're a master gardener or a novice, you'll enjoy harvests of your own. So, check out our care tips and recommendations, and get growing!
Selecting Your Area + Lemon Tree Indoors
First, ensure your Meyer Lemon Tree gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. You can do this by placing your tree by a large, sunny window - Southern-facing areas tend to get more light.
And when your tree is potted and kept indoors, rotate it every three weeks. This way, the entire tree gets a little time in the limelight (ok, we'll see ourselves out).
For ground-planted Meyer Lemons, the rules are basically the same: A good bit of sunlight, preferably from a South-facing area in your landscape.
Maintaining Hydration & Meyer for Cooler Months
The first rule of (green) thumb: The Meyer's soil should be slightly dry in between waterings but should never be completely dry. Generally, we recommend checking on your soil once a week. Use your index finger to monitor dryness in the soil - if it's dry 2 inches below the surface, it’s time to water. Slowly pour water over the surrounding soil or use your garden hose and count to 20.
For indoor watering, wait until you see water running out of the bottom of the pot.
FGT Tip: If your Meyer's leaves are drooping, your tree is getting too much water. If your leaves are crispy and dry or curl upwards, your Meyer needs more water.
However, don't overcorrect when it comes to a dried-out Meyer. Gradually add more water to your tree over a few weeks.
Planting & Bringing Indoors for the Winter
When you're potting or planting your Meyer, it’s beneficial to mix in citrus planting mix with your natural soil.
And if you're looking to give your tree an extra boost, use citrus fertilizer! Give your tree two tablespoons of fertilizer three to four times per year: Once in the early spring, once in early summer, and finally in the late summer and in the fall. We recommend spacing out your fertilizing by about four to six weeks.
FGT Tip: An all-in-one citrus fertilizer is perfect for beginners!
The Meyer Lemon Tree can withstand temperatures down to about 20 degrees, but if your area gets colder, container-plant your Meyer and bring it inside.
When your Meyer is inside or when you bring it indoors for the winter, be careful not to place it under or on top of a vent. And for optimal growth, mist your tree daily with a spray bottle for extra humidity.
Once it warms back up, don’t immediately move it back outdoors - it will need time to adjust! Move your Meyer outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the number of hours it spends outside.
Pollination and Fruiting for Meyer Lemon Tree
Once the blooms open on your Meyer, they’ll need to be pollinated. Outside, the Meyer is self-fertile and will fruit on its own (though more trees = bigger harvests).
Inside, you can pollinate your tree by hand. Simply take a small, dry paintbrush, and run it over each bloom as if you’re painting it. Do this once daily, and don’t wash the paintbrush until all the blooms have been pollinated.
From there, the blooms will drop and Meyer Lemons will grow in their place!
Pruning Your Meyer Lemon Tree
When you decide to prune your trees in the early fall or early spring, look for branches that are growing straight up from the tree - usually, these aren’t fruit-producing branches. Remove any damaged or crossing branches, and make your cuts at 45-degree angles, facing upwards, to promote new growth.
Also, look for branches that block sunlight from reaching the center of the tree. Removing these branches will increase air circulation and sunlight.
Finally, look at the number of lemons you have growing. To encourage your Meyer's fruiting potential, you’ll want to remove a few lemons in large clusters when they’re pea-sized. This ensures the lemons that remain will grow to their large, mature potential.
FGT Tip: Once your lemons start to grow, be patient...they can take around six months to mature since your Meyer needs time to acclimate. When your sweet Meyer Lemons are ready to pick, their skin will be a yolk-like shade of yellow.
When it comes to caring for the Meyer, however, it's simple. A bit of sun, water, and attention go a long way. Check out more of our favorite fruit here, and start a mini-orchard of your own today!