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Anyone Growing Lemons in Containers?

 
A. M. Watters
Posts: 21
Location: Central Texas, Edwards Plateau
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I got a Meyer Lemon in March of this year and I am trying unsuccessfully to get it to produce some lemons. I've repotted it, bought citrus-specific potting soil, fertilized it, moved it around the yard, ignored it for a while, and most recently planted a cover crop of peas and oats around it because it seems like it can't get enough nitrogen (leaves that start to yellow at the tip and spread to the trunk.) Oh, yeah, at one point a few months ago, it had some scale insects that attracted ants and I think the ants damaged the root ball.

So...anyone else trying to do this? Any tips? Permission to give up?

Thanks in advance!
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Might help folks if you say where you are
David
 
A. M. Watters
Posts: 21
Location: Central Texas, Edwards Plateau
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Sorry, it's in my side bar, but I should have been more clear. I'm in central Texas, USA zone 8b.
 
leila hamaya
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Location: northern northern california
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it take a few years (3-7+ years) before fruit trees will produce. lemons do tend to be a bit quicker, and it may not take too many years to get fruit. your tree is probably just vegetating and not yet ready to fruit. give it some time. it sheds it leaves and grows new ones from time to time....so i wouldnt fret about the yellow leaves.

and yes.... i am growing lemons, and starting some oranges, in containers in zone 8. i was also growing a big lemon tree in the ground but in an atrium/glass covered porch type area....at my last place on the coast, in a cold (lukewarm actually) zone 9.

the young lemons trees i have are getting too cold right now as winter comes! been wanting to work out some small glass covered area for the tender plants i have including these. but they are inching along somehow, unfortunately though being eaten by deer! this was surprising...i wouldnt think they would go for lemon leaves, but i think they like to try any plant thats new to them.
 
Lina Ackerman
Posts: 9
Location: Michigan
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Age is the most important factor in fruit production in citrus trees. Other than that, make sure you're letting the plant have plenty of time between waterings and give it as much sunlight as possible. I've grown many plants in containers before I got my valencia orange tree over a year ago, and it amazes me how little water it actually wants. Almost like a cactus.
 
John Elliott
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Got any biochar in the container? That might help with nutrient availability if it's looking like something is missing.

I've got three citrus trees that were planted in 2010, and one is bearing this year. I think these 3 blood oranges are the most expensive ever when you factor in all the expense and care that has gone into them. Maybe next year will be the year that the kumquat and the lemon really get going.
 
A. M. Watters
Posts: 21
Location: Central Texas, Edwards Plateau
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It was my understanding when I purchased it that it was already a couple of years old. It had 12+ baby lemons and lots of blossoms when it came home with me. My mom and a neighbor both bought trees from the same place and at the same time as mine and theirs are thriving. Over-watering may be part of the issue currently- we've had lots of rain this fall and the tree is currently not under the roof overhang. NormallyI wait until the leaves begin to droop before watering.
Thanks for the suggestions - I'll pull him back under the roof and move him to a more southern exposure to see if that helps. I've been bio-char curious, so maybe I'll start experimenting with it on this tree.
 
Kelby Taylor
Posts: 47
Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
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I've got an Improved Meyer Lemon that I've been growing in a container for about 8 years here in Zone 6 Pennsylvania. Mine fruits once per year, normally in winter (so I get to play bumblebee). They can skip a year blooming if there is a heavy fruit set (which for a small tree, 12 is heavy). This happened to me this past year, but I finally have some buds developing that hopefully will open by Christmas.

Since you only got it in March, you just need to be patient. New plants can take a year to bloom normally, and citrus can be fickle from my limited experience (it took 5 or 6 years for me to get fruit). Since it sounds like you're digging it up repeatedly, that will prevent it from growing well since it is constantly in a state of transplant shock.

As far as watering, if you see leaves drooping you've waited too long. Drought stress will prevent the development of flower and leaf buds.
 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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A. M. Watters wrote:I got a Meyer Lemon in March of this year and I am trying unsuccessfully to get it to produce some lemons. I've repotted it, bought citrus-specific potting soil, fertilized it, moved it around the yard, ignored it for a while, and most recently planted a cover crop of peas and oats around it because it seems like it can't get enough nitrogen (leaves that start to yellow at the tip and spread to the trunk.) Oh, yeah, at one point a few months ago, it had some scale insects that attracted ants and I think the ants damaged the root ball.

So...anyone else trying to do this? Any tips? Permission to give up?

Thanks in advance!


First, is your Meyer lemon grafted or is it a seedling tree? A grafted tree will fruit much sooner. My Meyer already had fruit on it when I bought it a few years ago and it
blooms and sets fruit once a year or so.
Even if it is a seedling tree though, Meyer lemons are somewhat precocious and will fruit earlier than many if not most citrus varieties.

If you suspect rootball damage, then check it out. Pull the tree out, and check how the roots look and smell.
If anything looks or smells funny, then massage all the dirt out, wash the root ball out completely with a hose and get rid of any dead or diseased
roots. If there is a lot of dead roots, then cut of an equal amount of branches from the top of the tree to balance it out.
Repot the tree in some good citrus soil that drains well.

Don't worry, citrus trees are pretty resilient to being repotted so it won't hurt it to be "naked" for a while.

The average commercial potting soil will have enough nitrogen to keep the leaves from turning yellow, so I suspect something is keeping the
plant from absorbing the nutrients.

I personally grow Meyer lemons, calamondins in pots and have two Satsuma mandarin trees planted in the ground in my greenhouse. I also have numerous
young kumquat trees, some citrangequat trees , unknown mandarins,etc.

 
Julie Anderson
Posts: 65
Location: Zone 9B Santa Rosa, CA
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I have potted Meyer Lemon, Sweet Lime and Buddha's hand. All were about 24" tall when I got them. I've only gotten two fruits off the Buddha's hand, but the lemon and lime have both grown well. The lemon is 4' and the lime is 5 1/2' (I trimmed the lime back because that's as tall as I want it.

I'm getting lemons right now (20+) My friend with an in ground Meyer lemon starts getting fruit in late November. I got limes in March.

My trick for tender leaves and frosty mornings is to string mini outdoor Christmas lights in the trees. We run them at night. They provide just enough heat to keep the leaves from getting frost damaged. We get down into the 20's during Feb.

Julie
 
elle wayne
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A. M. Watters wrote:I got a Meyer Lemon in March of this year and I am trying unsuccessfully to get it to produce some lemons. I've repotted it, bought citrus-specific potting soil, fertilized it, moved it around the yard, ignored it for a while, and most recently planted a cover crop of peas and oats around it because it seems like it can't get enough nitrogen (leaves that start to yellow at the tip and spread to the trunk.) Oh, yeah, at one point a few months ago, it had some scale insects that attracted ants and I think the ants damaged the root ball.

So...anyone else trying to do this? Any tips? Permission to give up?

Thanks in advance!
Hello! A. M. Watters, I just harvested my Meyer Lemons and have started New cuttings that will be healthy trees that take root over the winter outside in containers. if you would like to see more go here -> http://ellewayne.com/how-to-grow-the-juiciest-meyer-lemons/
I would like to tell you more after you see my post if it interests you, just let me know. Good luck to you! Elle
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Meyer Lemons November 2013
 
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