Caring for Meyer Lemon Trees is pretty simple when you know what you are doing. Meyer Lemons are a sweet, fragrant variety that can be grown indoors or out. They are excellent houseplants and, with the right care, they will reward you with fragrant blossoms and juicy fruit all year round!
Meyer Lemon Trees can only be grown outdoors in the South, in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11. However, they can be grown indoors in a container in any area. When you purchase a Meyer Lemon Tree, make sure to do so from a reputable retailer. The plant should be 2-3 years old. They will grow to be about 3-5 feet tall, so keep this in mind when choosing a space for your tree. Trees need plenty of light to grow, so the area you choose should ideally be near a sunny, southern window. If there isn’t an area in your home that receives 8-12 hours of light a day, consider supplementing with a 40-watt fluorescent shop light.
Fruit trees need frequent watering, at least 203 times per week during spring, winter and fall. In the heat of the summer, plants in containers usually will require watering every day. However, soggy soil will not do your plant any favors. Consider buying a moisture meter at a garden center, to help you keep track of when your plant needs more water. If your plant is in the ground, water deeply 2-3 times per week. Infrequent, deep waterings are best for Meyer Lemons.
A high-quality, peat-based growing mix is the ideal medium in which to grow Meyer Lemons. They grow well in this acidic and sandy soil. In spring and summer, fertilize your Meyer Lemon Tree to keep it healthy. Citrus trees need plenty of nitrogen in the soil, so use a product with at least a 2-1-1 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio. Granular or pelleted slow-release fertilizers need only be applied once per season and will evenly release nutrients into the soil.
When your tree is about 3-4 feet tall, you will want to consider pruning it to get rid of diseased or weak branches and to shape it. After most of your fruit has ripened, usually in the winter, pick all of the fruit off. Start by pruning any of the weaker stems, as these will not hold fruit well. Airflow helps a plant stay healthy, so if any part looks overcrowded with branches, prune some of these. After this functional pruning is done, stand back and look at the plant. If it needs to be balanced out, prune as necessary to the shape you desire. Also, be mindful of suckers, which are small offshoots from the bottom of the plant near the base. These can rob the plant of essential nutrients and should be removed immediately.
When the tree begins to set fruit in the spring, thin the clusters of fruit down to one. This should be done when the fruits are no larger than a golf ball and will help ensure that the fruits that are allowed to mature are of the best quality. Harvesting should take place when the fruit has a tight rind and there is no trace of light green left. It will have a rich yellow color and a sweet, juicy flavor. Harvest from the bottom of the tree first as these fruits ripen first. Enjoy your juicy, homegrown Meyer Lemons!