Indoors or out, there is nothing better than an ornamental tree that is fragrant, bright, and provides a bounty of healthy and refreshing fruit for months. Maybe you’ve already considered the idea of growing a lemon tree, but are concerned that the climate where you live isn’t conducive to citrus. Fortunately, there are options for those that live in a frosty non-tropical region. It doesn’t mean you can’t grow dazzling lemon trees… you just have to know the secret.
Think portability. The Meyer Lemon Tree is a hybrid dwarf and is perfectly suited to container life on a patio, coming indoors only during the colder winter months. Don’t be fooled by the Meyer’s diminutive size, as this beauty can produce as much fruit as other lemon varieties twice as large. Meyer Lemon trees are naturally disease and pest resistant so you won’t need to use any harmful sprays or pesticides, either. Additionally, the Meyer Lemon is considered the best tasting sweet lemon on the market.
Here’s how to successfully grow a tropical lemon tree in a container.
- It’s important to choose the right size container for your tree. For a 2-3 year-old tree, we recommend at least a 5 gallon pot to start with. Make sure the pot has a drain hole in the bottom, and begin with a bottom layer of stones and rocks to ensure proper drainage. Add a good quality peat-moss based growing mix that is sandy and slightly acidic, which is preferred by citrus. Put in just enough soil so the root ball is barely covered and make sure the trunk remains above the soil line to avoid rotting.
- Select an area on your patio that receives full sun; these trees need plenty of light, so a southern exposure is best. If possible, the area should be somewhat protected from fierce winds as well.
- Consistent watering is fundamental to the success of a container-grown lemon tree. Citrus trees require soil that is moist but never soggy. When the surface of the soil becomes dry it’s time to water, but never allow your lemon tree to sit in standing drainage water.
- Feed your tree at regular intervals with a water-soluble fertilizer, specifically suited to container-grown tropical citrus trees.
- Occasional pruning may become necessary to maintain desired size and shape. Well-pruned trees have stronger branches and will produce a more generous crop of lemons.
The Meyer Lemon tree is a self-pollinator, so even if it’s inside the house this tree can still bear fruit (even during those cold winter months). You’ll certainly appreciate the lush and lightly perfumed foliage and flowers this citrus treasure provides whether it’s inside our out.
Meyer is compact enough for city balconies and smaller garden spaces, since dwarf lemon trees can be successfully container-grown in any region of the country. For best results, keep your lemon trees outdoors during the warmer seasons, but when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees at night, it’s time to bring your lemon tree indoors for its winter vacation.