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Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

Posted by tracey_oh (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 12, 12 at 0:17

Let me preface this by saying that I know zip, zero, nada about gardening so please talk to me like I'm a five year old:) I bought this little lemon tree at Lowe's last year. Kept it outside all summer then moved it in our four seasons room at the first frost. It flowered last year and this year it started producing. It's blazing hot here in west TN so I usually watered it once a day. Not sure if that was correct or not but it seemed to do ok. So here are a few questions I have.

1. We are getting close to the first frost and the lemons still have green on them. Should I go ahead and move the tree inside? Will the lemons continue to ripen? They are a deep yellow but almost all of them still have green on the underside.

2. Should I buy some type of fertilizer? It's still in the same soil/pot as when we first potted it.

3. If I pull a lemon off with green on it, will it ripen any more?

Thanks for any help you can give me. Y'all are THE BEST!
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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

You should let the lemons ripen on the tree - they do not continue to ripen after being picked. You should also feed the plant at least three times a year - or you can just use Miracle Grow once a month or so, especially if you are not going to put it into a larger pot. I have mine in wine barrels, but then I do not move them. The lemons will continue to ripen on the tree after you move it inside, but the more light you can give it, the better.

What kind of lemon is it? I have one that is a standard Meyer and also a dwarf Eureka, which I bought as a back-up for when the Meyer tree does not have lemons. I store excess lemons in the freezer in baggies, and I used two of them this evening to make hummus. I defrosted them before I juiced them by leaving them in the fridge for one day.

Lars


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

Thank you Lars!!! I have no idea what kind of tree it is. We were at Lowe's and I saw lemon trees so I bought one. I don't remember the tag saying Meyer lemon but I could be wrong. They seem to be a deeper shade of yellow than supermarket lemons but that's about the only difference I see. And THANK YOU for telling me about freezing them! I had no idea!

So even though the lemons are green on the underside, you think they will ripen?

Thanks again!
Tracey


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

The lemons will ripen if you leave them on the tree and all the green should go away. The one in your hand will still be usable, but it will be much tarter or more sour than ones that are left on longer.

If it is a Meyer tree, the lemons will turn a sort of orangish yellow when ripe, the rind will be very soft, and they will be almost sweet when ripe. It looks like it could be a Meyer because they also have branches that are somewhat weak and need to be supported, or else they will bend down to the ground, like the one you pictured. When you take it inside, be sure to check it often for pests, and if you find any, you should wash them off with soapy water. I sometimes add a bit of ammonia to the water. I haven't had pests where I am now, but in Venice, we had problems with white flies and spider mites. The yard I have now is a bit more protected because the neighbors aren't growing much other than grass in their back or front yards. The yards in Venice were much more ecclectic, colorful, and interesting. Where I live now looks almost suburban.

Lars


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

I've had my potted dwarf Meyer lemon tree for three and a half years and have gone through the traumas of almost all the leaves dropping off, and the discovery of hundreds of red compost worms in the pot. It has survived both of those events and I've learned a little about it.

We brought our pot in several weeks ago because I have read in several places that temperatures at night lower than the mid forties are detrimental to the tree. Temps in the 40s certainly won't kill the tree but it is happier in a warmer environment. The first year we waited until a frost warning.

My experience with Meyer lemons is that any green areas do turn yellow when the lemons are picked, or have fallen off the tree, and put in a bowl in the house.

I do feed my lemon with a citrus food every few months. I think the most important thing for a potted lemon tree is to not overwater it. Overwatering is a sure way to induce major leaf dropping in a potted plant.

If you search the Gardenweb citrus forum you will find lots of great info on your tree.

Good luck!

Lee


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

Thanks Lars and Lee. I really appreciate it! I looked at the citrus forum briefly but it is information overload! So I guess I need to order some citrus food and make sure I bring it in soon. The only Meyer lemons I've seen were at the grocery store but I do remember their skin being a different shade of yellow. I probably overwatered this summer but it was so blazing hot and I had read on a nursery website to keep it watered. I told you, I am completely clueless with plants.

Thanks again, I will probably pick one or two lemons and bring them in.

Lars, I LOVE California. I used to visit a friend out there in Ventura every year and it was a whole other world to this Ohio girl! I remember most people having very little yard space at all.


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

You're welcome Tracy. LOL, yes it is information overload but you can try using the search box and include pot or potted in your search. Sometimes I have better luck using a Google search and including "Gardenweb" in the search.

Your tree in the photo does not look overwatered. The main sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves that drop. Our lemon lives outside on a deck where it gets automatically sprinkled each morning and it does not develop yellow leaves out there. Of course I am in an extremely dry climate. My overwatering problems have all been when the tree is inside for the winter. I hope I have finally learned not to water it too much in the house.

My tree is in a much too large self watering pot. That's another thing I learned from reading on the net. I should have left it in the two gallon nursery pot for probably the first two years before increasing the pot size.

Another major tip that I got , I think from dcarch, was to use a daylight corrected LARGE CFL bulb for additional light in the house. This is a much cheaper solution than a grow light. I got mine on Amazon and have it in an ordinary clamp light fixture without the reflector. Even though it is covered by shades, it is pretty bright from the outside of our house at night and Max feels it is offensive from the street. I don't think I could get another one for the other side of the tree without a major argument so I rotate the tree, which is on a wheeled stand, every couple of days. Mine is in an East facing window and doesn't get enough natural light.

I'll take a couple of photos later in the day of the tree and the food I have been the most successful with.

Lee


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RE: Citrus Food

Citrus food - I write the dates I fed it on the top and I use about half as much food as is recommended but I feed more often. I know I fed my tree in July but I must not have written the down and I'm going to feed it today. I bought my plant food at a local nursery, I think you could ask for a citrus food with a similar number composition.


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RE: Lemon Tree

My tree has a few yellowing leaves - I think that always happens when we bring it in.


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RE: Lemon

This year I have had large lemons. Let me know if you would like to see my light setup. I really think that the light and the food have been very good for my tree. At this time of the year we have the light on from 3pm until 10pm. Later when the days are shorter we will increase the time from 2pm to 11pm. The CFL bulb (85 watts) uses very little electricity and the light is plugged into a timer.

Lee


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

Lee, those lemons are gorgeous! I will definitely get the citrus food. Do you think I need to completely repot it? It's been in the same soil a little over a year. As for light, I have a four seasons room that has a lot of natural light (windows on three sides). It seemed to do ok in there last winter. Hopefully it will be ok again this year. I'm so excited about my little tree!

Tracey


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RE: Can anyone help me with my little lemon tree?

Thanks Tracy. No, don't repot your tree - that was one of the mistakes I made. I repotted mine as soon as we brought it home. I was told later by a nursery guy that they like to get rootbound. Is it in at least a two gallon nursery pot? If it is, you should be good for another year or two. Your room sounds as though it has plenty of light. You will be amazed at the growth spurt after you feed it.

Good luck!

Lee


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