HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure
TELL US

Lemon tree, very pretty...

kattyeyes Apr 21, 2009 01:53 PM

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I know of at least two people who have meyer lemon trees in the Northeast--a man I met in the produce section today and choco_lab (NJ) from here on the boards. If they can have lemon trees, I would like one, too. Is there a preferred source for mail order? Do I just keep it inside till the nice weather comes? How long will it be before I actually have lemons and how much will the tree yield? I would very much like a meyer lemon tree. Please help a wanna-be-left-coast hound who lives in the Land of Steady Habits.

  1. jen kalb Apr 21, 2009 02:43 PM

    Four Winds Growers is my mailorder source for citrus.
    these are on dwarfiing rootstock but they bear quite a lot while staying small.
    which is what you want if you have to bring your tree in and out. I usually wait until it is thoroughtly warm (May here) to take my citrus outside and bring it in end of Sept/early October. (Meyer can take more cold than the Kaffir lime) I am a bad grower (tend to feed and water less than maximally) - others can comment on how many lemons you might get - but the flowers are wonderful and you can buy the lemons periodically at Trader Joes and recently I even bought a container at Costco.

    http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/

    http://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb
      kattyeyes Apr 21, 2009 03:28 PM

      Thank you kindly!
      >>^..^<<

      1. re: jen kalb
        Betty Apr 26, 2009 06:03 PM

        easy for you to say - youall with your Trader Joe's and Costcos!! I've found meyer lemons around here one time - ever. And they were pricey.

        I got hooked on cooking with Meyer lemons when a friend moved to Pasadena and would send me a wine box full every year. But she moved! A visit to Liguria last summer really cinched my desire for a lemon tree of some kind, and dwarf Meyer improved is the obvious choice.

        How much light do they need in the winter? I don't have a sun room, but my art studio has four windows (one east, one sort of west, two south, shaded by a gigantic deciduous tree)

      2. choco_lab38 Apr 22, 2009 01:08 PM

        Go for it!
        My meyer lemon tree is one of my favorite and most rewarding plants--and is always a great conversation piece in NJ!
        I see that White Flower Farm offers Meyer Lemon trees at less than $40 ea. and was tempted to get another, but I have no room left!
        I got my tree years ago (forget how many--over 5, I know) at a Smith and Hawken store, on a clearance table. It had a small, ripening lemon already on it! They sell them on their website, at $49 ea. I don't know if they source them from the same place now, but I've had good luck with mine.
        I've also seen meyers and other citrus at my local Home Depot. I picked up a kumquat for $19 a few years ago, and it did really well and produced a lot of fruits...until I killed it through negligence :(

        As Jen said, I just put my citrus outside once I know the evening temps won't go below 40 (I have some fleece covers that I use if we get a cooler night). I will be putting my trees outside this weekend.
        Likewise, I bring them inside for the winter before the nights go below 40. They winter over in my bright, unheated sunroom quite well. From the time the flowers drop and the fruit sets, it takes about 3-4 months for the fruit to mature. Some of the little baby fruits drop off--that's natural.
        This past year was a bad one for my meyer lemon tree, I'll admit--a bad rain storm and cold, rainy spell (and probably a few birds) knocked off all of the tiny fruits last summer and I had a lemon-less winter :( Better luck this year! Prior to that, I averaged 3-7 fruits a year...more as the plant matured.
        I keep my tree trimmed down to 3-31/2' so that I don't need to plant it in a huge pot that I can't easily move in and out of the house. Also, I re-pot every 2-3 years, since the soil nutrients get depleted, and at that time, I prune back the roots a bit.
        When you pot your tree, make sure the pot is roomy enough, and put a good layer of gravel on the bottom of the pot to provide good drainage--the roots will rot if they are sitting in saturated soil.
        They are pretty forgiving as far as watering--I've forgotten to the point where leaves were curling and dropping, but it still hangs in there. Better to err on the dry side and not over water. I feed with diluted Miracid in early spring and periodically (when I remember) throughout the time they are blooming and setting fruit.

        Good luck! Warning: you may become addicted!
        Every winter my tiny sunroom is crammed with citrus, olive, pomegranate and camelia plants to the point where I can barely maneuver through to water them. I need a conservatory (if only!)

        9 Replies
        1. re: choco_lab38
          kattyeyes Apr 23, 2009 07:09 AM

          Was hoping you would find this post. I really appreciate all the info. Thanks so much!

          These look beautiful!
          http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/4682-p...

          And I've been looking for an excuse to go for a drive in that general direction--White Flower Farms is just an hour away. I can make a day of it, get my lemon tree and stock up on teas at Harney, just over the state line in Millerton, NY. A really beautiful ride should you get to this neck of the woods. And you can add parts of the CT Wine Trail if you are ever here for a weekend. But back to the garden!

          The living room (which opens to the deck) gets plenty of sun. In fact, April (Queenie, the real kattyeyes) loves to sunbathe there, so it will be a perfect spot for the meyer lemon tree until it can go outside.

          By the way, I remember some of those bad rain storms last summer--no doubt they were tough on the little tree!

          I'm sure, as with so many of my favorite things, I'll become addicted. When we get going with the herbs (and maybe tomatoes again) on the deck, I'll post some photos so you won't feel alone in the way your sunroom is crammed. We actually moved the patio table off the deck last year just to make room for all the plants!

          BTW, I've never grown strawberries, but saw them under "May we also suggest"--have you? Very tempting.

          1. re: kattyeyes
            choco_lab38 Apr 24, 2009 12:40 PM

            OH! Lucky you!! I've always wanted to make a trip up to White Flower Farm! It is my absolute favorite mailorder source. Their catalogs make me drool and anything I've ordered from them is top-notch. Your day trip sounds wonderful!

            HaHa!...Strawberries, you ask??
            About 3 years ago I installed a circular, terraced strawberry bed (strawberry pyramid) from Miller Nurseries.
            http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.p...

            (The plants quickly send off runners and hide the unsightly corrugated metal, btw.
            )It's done really well and I get a pretty good crop (unfortunately the slugs like them too...) In fact, sometimes I can't keep up with them and pick them all before they rot.

            But the variety of strawberry that came with the kit (Ozark Beauty, I guess) isn't quite as tasty as whatever they grow on some of the local u-pick farms. I sometimes think about replacing them with something else, but they're so well established, I don't have the heart to pull them all up and start over.
            I don't use pesticides and really the only pests that I have a problem with are slugs. Birds don't even seem to bother them much--they either don't realize what they are yet, or they prefer the black oil sunflower seeds I put out for them.

            I actually took the day off from work yesterday, mainly to move my plants outside in preparation of the great weekend we have in store! It's wonderful to have my sunroom free again!

            1. re: choco_lab38
              jen kalb Apr 24, 2009 12:43 PM

              dont get your hopes up too much about WFF - its in a pretty area for a daytrip and Im sure prettily presented, but they dont actually grow their stuff I dont think. I admit it Ive got jaded over the years!

              1. re: jen kalb
                kattyeyes Apr 24, 2009 01:03 PM

                jen, now that you've said this, I'll tell you my mom's first reaction when I said I wanted to go to WFF was "overrated and overpriced"--but I found their lemon trees were actually LESS expensive than I can get at my local Vinny's (I think they told me $50) and as I've been out to WFF before, I know it will be a pretty ride. If I'm going to haul all the way to NY to Harney's, I can make a nice day of it. If you get up that way and are a tea lover, do find your way to Millerton and Harney's Tea Tasting Room.
                http://www.harney.com/visitus.html

                1. re: kattyeyes
                  jen kalb Apr 24, 2009 01:14 PM

                  Your mom is probably in my generation!

                  like I 've said, said, I recommend going to the source who actually propogates and grafts these trees - fourwinds - you will be sure to have a dwarf tree rather than something that will get huge on you, like the stuff in the black tubs from normal greenhouses, but it will be a lovely outing and you will be able to rely on the quality at WFF. Its been a long time since I have been to Millerton let along Litchfield- many years ago used to cruise for indoor plants - Lauray of Salisbury up in that same area is fantastic along with Logees at the opposite NE corner of the state - they (Logees) also sell Citrus trees and you can see their huge old specimens in their greenhouse. enjoy your trip and report back!

                  1. re: jen kalb
                    kattyeyes Apr 24, 2009 01:29 PM

                    My mom is 73, bet you are younger! But she is very young at heart and doesn't look her age.

                    I appreciate the follow-up. Did you start with a one-year tree or a two-three year tree? I was all set to mail order it, then I thought, well if I can drive somewhere to pick it up (WFF), wouldn't that be easier/better?

                    I see Logee's has dwarf fig trees! I get this way with all my hobbies...it's so easy to get carried away.
                    http://www.logees.com/

                    And here is the 108-year-old lemon tree you mentioned--WOW:
                    http://www.logees.com/Aboutus.asp

                    So, is it just as good to do a road trip to Logees, then, as to mail order from Four Winds? I'm flexible and it's just as nice to take a day trip to the Quiet Corner.

                    1. re: kattyeyes
                      jen kalb Apr 24, 2009 02:04 PM

                      If you want a citrus to grow, I would mailorder from four winds. Like I said, I think its rather likely (from appearance and description ) that WFF is selling fourwinds stock. However, there is no reason not to go over to WFF and buying something on the spot if you like what you see.
                      If I recall, Logee's trees are on the smaller side, and I dont know if they are grafted to be dwarfed which is a consideration if you have to move a plant in and out..But whatever you decide, you can have a nice roadtrip. enjoy!

                      1. re: kattyeyes
                        choco_lab38 Apr 24, 2009 02:18 PM

                        Love that little fig tree! Hmmm...
                        I have fig trees, too--one planted in the ground that we wrap up every winter, and 2 in containers that winter in the garage.

                        Regarding WFF, I would liken them to my favorite mailorder cheese source--I order cheese from them that I can't find locally, trusting that I'll receive a good quality specimen. They don't make the cheese, but are a middle-man, looking for and acquiring the best quality product and caring for it in between its journey from manufacturer to consumer.
                        WFF quality standards are pretty high and if they say they are selling a dwarf lemon tree, it is most probably a dwarf. I've ordered from them numerous times and, unlike several other sources, have never had a single problem. Most importantly, their plants have been true specimens. It would be interesting to know who their source for Meyers is--if it is Four Winds, why not take the drive, have an enjoyable day and support a local business?
                        Smith and Hawken acquires their citrus offerings from Four Winds, or used to. I have a tag from my Moro Blood Orange tree, purchased from S&H, that has the Four Winds name on it. So far, in about 4 years, I've only had one orange. It's more tempermental than the Meyer...but it's currently beginning to bud, so, here's hoping!

                        If you did order directly from Four Winds, I'd get the older specimen if you're in a hurry for lemons :)

                2. re: choco_lab38
                  kattyeyes Apr 24, 2009 01:12 PM

                  I love your strawberry pyramid!!! I will have to show my mom who has a real yard and real gardens. I'm just a container kid with pots on the deck and flowers planted in the ground out front (townhouse). I appreciate the tip on Ozark Beauty--I will try to see what they plant around here and see if I can grow them in strawberry jars. Oh, and glad to read that the birds won't be interested in the berries. Ours get black oil sunflower seeds also, so between that and the cat, it should keep them out of our plants!

                  What a great day to be off from work, btw--good for you! Enjoy!

            2. b
              bakinggirl May 4, 2009 01:18 PM

              We just bought some fruit trees at Logee's - kaffir lime, key lime and Meyer lemon (the last two will be Mother's Day gifts). If you like tropical greenhouses (and aren't really claustrophobic), it's a GREAT time!
              Our little specimens (about 6" tall) have been repotted (@ Logee's) and are doing well. I think they may have fruit next year...can't remember, but the kaffir lime leaves will be ready for vodka this year!

              1. kattyeyes May 7, 2009 10:36 AM

                Thanks, everyone, for your input and advice. I did NOT make it to WFF (no one felt like going for a ride with me, BOOHOO), but did get to a local nursery yesterday that had about a half dozen beautiful semi-dwarf Meyer lemon trees.

                I'm such a nut, I named the tree Limona (naming credit goes to my mom)--HA HA! She must be a 2-3 year-old tree with several bunches of little, green lemon buds all over the tree. I am anxiously awaiting my very first Meyer lemons. Will probably find a nice, large pot (permanent home) for her this weekend.

                 
                15 Replies
                1. re: kattyeyes
                  jen kalb May 7, 2009 10:54 AM

                  thats great! Just remember that a bunch of those little lemons are likely to drop off - natural thinning, especially if you pot up, so dont freak. also squirrels can go after the fruit if you put it outside (maybe not where you are)

                  1. re: jen kalb
                    kattyeyes May 7, 2009 11:00 AM

                    Thank you for both those warnings--especially about the squirrels. We have a frequent visitor who seems to think we put the bird feeder out just for him and he loves to survey (and run all over) the deck. I wish I had a way to keep the squirrel away, but there is a large tree that grows all the way up to the deck and he runs up and down it frequently.

                  2. re: kattyeyes
                    choco_lab38 May 8, 2009 12:24 AM

                    Very pretty indeed!
                    What a cute picture--it looks like someone appreciates the wonderful scent of the flowers!
                    Best of Luck with Limona!
                    Keep us posted on her progress!

                    1. re: choco_lab38
                      kattyeyes May 17, 2009 06:40 PM

                      Hi there! Update on Limona--we moved her to a very beautiful pot and counted *18* little lemons today (they look like baby limes). The original ones are getting bigger--they're about the size of grapes now. The newer small ones look like tiny Christmas tree bulbs.

                      How are your lemon trees doing?

                      Limona's in the house with the tomato plants and the rest of our newly planted herbs. It looks pretty funny in our living room, but we're going to have a couple of cold nights before it warms up again, so there will be a little plant slumber party here the first part of the week.

                      I'll post pics again when it warms up. Would love to know how all the other lemon trees are doing!

                      1. re: kattyeyes
                        choco_lab38 May 18, 2009 08:08 AM

                        How exciting! I'm glad Limona is doing so well for you!
                        I've moved mine back inside, too--this weather is making me crazy! I want my garden planted already!! I hope it's not a shorter-than-usual growing season this year :(

                        I have tons of flower buds on my Meyer at this point, and some are just on the verge of opening...I'll see if i can figure out how to post a picture.
                        I have two blood orange trees and a key lime tree that are blooming and the oranges have tiny fruits developing...fingers crossed!
                        I also just purchased a young variegated pink lemon tree, but am not expecting anything from that this year.
                        Hope this see-saw weather ends this week!

                        1. re: choco_lab38
                          kattyeyes May 18, 2009 10:57 AM

                          Right there with you on the weather...though Wednesday's supposed to be the turning point and Thursday should feel like summer again.

                          Would love to see pictures--just click on "attach photo" and browse for the filename. The most interesting picture of all is going to be your sunroom when ALL your plants go back in for their winter hibernation. And you thought you couldn't walk in that room LAST year! ;)

                          I saw a dwarf grapefruit tree at our local nursery. It had one orange-sized grapefruit on it. I need to quit while I'm ahead, though, since it's easy to get carried away and then I'll be in trouble. Poor Limona will have to be an only citrus child, though I am jealous of your oranges and limes. Your new pink lemon tree sounds like a beauty. Maybe we should just move to California, then our plants can live happily ever after in our backyards!

                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            choco_lab38 May 18, 2009 12:39 PM

                            Here's a picture of my sunroom 3 years ago, Feb. '06--already crammed. I had 5 nice lemons at that time.
                            The olive tree behind it is twice as large now :)

                             
                            1. re: choco_lab38
                              kattyeyes May 18, 2009 01:02 PM

                              HA HA! It's a little bit what my living room looks like now due to the cold weather. I didn't know the tree would continue to bear fruit in the wintertime! I can't wait for the first lemons. How much longer for the ones that are grape-tomato-sized to be ready--any idea?

                              Is it really possible all 18 or so of these baby lemons are going to make it, or am I bound to lose some before they mature?! Fingers crossed! And now I'll leave you alone. It is always fun to chat about our trees, tho'!

                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                choco_lab38 May 18, 2009 02:36 PM

                                They do take awhile to fully ripen--months, in fact. The lemons that I photographed there were ripe in early February, and they had blossomed back in the previous spring.
                                Because it's "everbearing" it's also usual to have fruit on the tree while another flush of blooms appear.
                                You should expect to lose some of the tiny fruits--fruit drop is normal. Also, if the fruit sets in a cluster, I've heard that it's best to limit the cluster to one fruit, to maximize the size of the fruit. If you don't, you'll have 2-3 little lemons, instead of one bigger lemon. I've never had the heart to do this, though.
                                I hope you get a good crop! Post a picture soon!

                                1. re: choco_lab38
                                  kattyeyes May 22, 2009 06:59 PM

                                  Well, you wanted pictures and I wanted to learn to make a video. Hope you enjoy April Katt's adventures in the garden (oh, and in the dishwasher). This was a fun project! How do you like Limona's new pot? I think it suits her. ;)
                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zuxlim...

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    choco_lab38 May 27, 2009 07:42 AM

                                    Love it!! Well done!
                                    Thank you, that really brightened my morning! Give April Katt a belly scratch for me! She's been working so hard on her garden! :)
                                    Look at all of those little lemons! Love the pot, too -- Perfetto!
                                    One can imagine Limona transported to a sunny mediterranean balcony!
                                    (With another week of cool drizzle in store, I'd like to be there myself!)

                                    My tree is loaded with blossoms and I believe a number have set fruit (I've been trying my best to pollinate them all) but I won't count my lemons before they're picked!
                                    I'm impressed with your ability to make such a good video collage! Was it difficult? Love the music, too!

                                    Here's a current picture of my tree, and April's canine counterpart, Lulu!

                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: choco_lab38
                                      kattyeyes May 28, 2009 05:24 PM

                                      Dear choco_lab38,

                                      I tried to reply to you last night, but the site clocked and I lost the whole post, so here I am again. We both thank you so much for your nice feedback!

                                      Please talk to me about pollinating lemons. Am I supposed to be doing something? Uh-oh!

                                      Our trees look a little different, don't they? Or maybe I just can't see the trunk of yours as clearly--yours is definitely blossoming like mad! Mine has more fruits than blossoms, though I do see buds out there. I'm sure Limona is as confused by our recent weather as the rest of us have been, so maybe she'll be a late bloomer, so to speak. So much for Memorial Day being the unofficial start of summer this year!

                                      In your previous post you had said:
                                      << I've heard that it's best to limit the cluster to one fruit, to maximize the size of the fruit. If you don't, you'll have 2-3 little lemons, instead of one bigger lemon. I've never had the heart to do this, though.>>

                                      I don't know if you can tell from the pictures in the video, but there are several clusters just as you mentioned. Seeing as some have already randomly dropped, I figure who am I to play Mother Nature and take away any of the fruit. I'd be afraid if I did any limiting, whatever fruit I left behind would be doomed to fall off. Murphy's law, right? Am I safer to do this once there is a clear "leader" in the cluster that's bigger than the others? I might get brave as they continue to grow and I can choose that way.

                                      This was my first video collage. Having Windows Movie Maker (and using the "automovie" feature) makes it easier--I never even realized it was already loaded on our laptop. I watched a friend create one at his house and thought, "Hey, I can do that, too!" It's fun!

                                      P.S. BTW, I showed my mom Lulu's photo and she couldn't figure out where the dog was because she looks like a stuffed animal in the picture. ;) Is she a Lhasa? Her collar even appears to match your pillows. She's very adorable, and not at all spoiled, I'm sure (just like April Katt). ;) I like to say, "Spoiled, but not rotten."

                                      1. re: kattyeyes
                                        choco_lab38 May 29, 2009 09:21 AM

                                        "Spoiled, but not rotten" is an excellent descriptor! I'll be borrowing that one! Lulu is a 4 year- old shih tzu. My "choco_lab" moniker is in memory of my Lab of 13 years who passed away just before Lulu came into our lives. Quite a transition, let me tell you! (But saving money on dog food big-time!)

                                        Lulu does a much better job than the Lab did in keeping squirrels out of the garden--she's ULTRA vigilant, whereas he was very laissez-faire! LOL

                                        I'm no expert, but I think you're on the right track as far as leaving the cluster alone until they are more established. And for pollinating, I just use a little paintbrush to help things along by picking up some pollen and lightly brushing the stamen. But don't worry about it--it's not at all necessary, since the scented blooms attract numerous insects outside.

                                        I have a larger than average amount of blooms this year, and a key lime tree that never bloomed much before is also blooming like crazy. It may finally bear fruit, I hope!

                                        My Meyer's shape is more sideways growing than yours, with some low branches, and was like that when I got it--must have been pruned or trained differently. It doesn't have a long trunk.

                                        Last weekend I was in my local nursery and saw that they had several citrus trees grown as standards, with a long trunk 3 feet high. I was tempted to get a Dancy tangerine or pink grapefruit, but enough is enough...Maybe they'll go on sale eventually...

                                        I'll now say a little prayer before hitting the "Post my reply" button...this site conks out on me so many times...

                                        1. re: choco_lab38
                                          kattyeyes May 31, 2009 06:51 PM

                                          Please tell me you brought your citrus trees in tonight. The weatherman said it might get to 40 here! Then again, you are south of me and hopefully are warmer. We left the rest of the plants out and I think they can handle it, but Limona is back in the living room!

                                          I have more pictures to download from the weekend as I want to ask you about these kind of dry patches on some of the fruit. I took close-ups so you'll be able to see. I wonder if you know what I mean.

                                          Re the pink grapefruit, I saw a dwarf grapefruit tree at our local nursery and it had a fruit on it! I think you need a greenhouse. ;) I wish we could built something like that on our deck, but don't think it would be too practical.

                                          P.S. I'm sorry about the loss of your handsome chocolate lab, but glad you have Lulu to keep you company and help you keep the squirrels out of the garden.

                                          1. re: kattyeyes
                                            choco_lab38 Jun 1, 2009 02:46 PM

                                            Our low yesterday was a relatively balmy 51. I kept the citrus trees out, but I may bring them in later this week if it looks like we're going to get another rainy spell.
                                            It's been my dream to have a greenhouse or conservatory...perhaps in another life!

                  3. kattyeyes Jun 13, 2009 07:13 AM

                    Hello! Here are some photos to show you how Limona has grown. Smaller cluster of lemons (with fingers to show you size) is from the end of May. The blossoms and larger cluster are from this morning.

                    So, now, the all-important question: to break up the cluster or not? You know I hate to do it!

                    And another--I didn't capture it in any of these photos, but there are one or two lemons with kind of a brownish/grayish dry crack running down the side. What is this?

                    Everyone, please let me know how your citrus trees are doing. Would love to see photos, too.

                     
                     
                     
                    9 Replies
                    1. re: kattyeyes
                      choco_lab38 Jun 18, 2009 05:40 PM

                      Beautiful! Looks very healthy.
                      I'm having real problems with my citrus this spring :(
                      I've been bringing them inside to avoid all of this rain and cool night temps and nearly ALL of the little fruits on my blood oranges and key limes have dropped off. And even though I had a zillion buds on my meyer lemon, almost nothing set! (Even though I saw plenty of bees on it on sunny days, and I tried helping the pollination along myself, nothing! )
                      I'm blaming the fluctuating temps--I don't know what else I'm doing wrong...Just wish this blasted rain and cool weather would end already--it's so frustrating!
                      Good for my lettuce, not too great for anything else...

                      1. re: choco_lab38
                        kattyeyes Jun 18, 2009 07:11 PM

                        Oh, no! Limona is outside right now as we speak--in the rain. I am so bummed for you. I took a picture (to be downloaded yet) of a tree that belongs to folks we know the next town over. I don't even know if it's a meyer lemon or some other lemon, but it is an IMMENSE tree with NO blossoms or fruit whatsoever. When I find out more, I'll post again to see if they know what's going on.

                        I am tired of this weather, too...I can't even say it's good for my lettuce. My lettuce is OK enough, but not bustin' out all over as it is at my friends' house. I'm sending sunshine your way in hopes it comes here, too!

                        1. re: kattyeyes
                          kattyeyes Jun 19, 2009 08:09 AM

                          As promised, here's a pic of our friends' lemon tree--can you believe the size of it? I think it "lives" in their garage in the wintertime. I will post again when I find out more--but no blooms, no fruit on this big guy!

                          Edit: If there's a way to turn a photo here, I don't know what it is, so apologies for the sideways view!

                           
                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            c
                            cakebaker Jun 19, 2009 08:49 PM

                            I read through all your posts and wanted to add a few tips. I grow many types of citrus (i'm in the bay area) but I have many friends on the east coast that are doing just what you are doing and their trees all do well. Unlike some fruit trees, citrus can do well in a smaller pot relative to the size of the tree since they put out tiny thread roots. They are heavy feeders and I only use fish emulsion and organic citrus food. The biggest mistake people make with citrus is not to feed them. Once a month for nine months of the year...excluding nov-jan. You were smart to get a semi dwarf as you can always prune the tree to the size you want it and you'll get much more fruit faster than with a dwarf. Just remember, feed,feed,feed. Be careful with conventional fertilizers as they are always much stronger and it's easy to burn a citrus. Just use organics. hope this helps.

                            1. re: cakebaker
                              kattyeyes Jun 20, 2009 05:22 AM

                              Thank you very much for this info! I will find some organic citrus food ASAP.

                              1. re: cakebaker
                                s
                                Sherri Jun 20, 2009 11:40 AM

                                "The biggest mistake people make with citrus is not to feed them. Once a month for nine months of the year...excluding nov-jan"

                                I'm one of those people making the big mistake! Having moved from having 18 in-ground full-sized citrus trees and feeding three times a year to a place where I now have only three citrus trees in pots, (2 Meyer lemon and a blood orange), I never realized how different the feeding requirements would be. Am off to buy fish emulsion ASAP. Thank you for the "feed feed feed" advice.

                                1. re: cakebaker
                                  kattyeyes Jun 20, 2009 11:50 AM

                                  cakebaker, thanks again. For Sherri and anyone else who might be reading along, I picked up Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer (organic) at my local Agway. cakebaker, I remembered your fish emulsion advice--the Agway guy said the garden club had had great results with the addition of the kelp--that they weren't scientifically able to track what made it better, but that they had better results. I am only waiting till it dries out a little to applyl it since ALL our plants have been drenched with the rain over the past several days (feels like a lifetime at this point!). I do appreciate the tip.

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    c
                                    cakebaker Jun 20, 2009 03:26 PM

                                    You can use any organic sea product...I like dry fish emulsion as it breaks down slowly. Liquid fish emulsion is fine too but it will of course run through a container so must be replenished. The dry sea products like Maxi or fish meal all work and stay with the plant longer. I use these and a dry organic citrus fertilizer and again the numbers are very low compared to conventional fertilizers so it won't harm the plant. you should see a flush of new flowers after about two weeks from feeding, in particular if you haven't been feeding them. You would be surprised how many people grow citrus and don't feed them. I think you'll like it. Another thing that your tree will love is a compost tea. I top the trees with organic compost and then steep compost in a 5 gal bucket and use the water to water all my plants. they love to be fed!

                                    1. re: kattyeyes
                                      c
                                      cakebaker Jun 20, 2009 03:51 PM

                                      a specific comment about the rain and feeding. Rain is full of oxygen so just before a rain is a good time to sprinkle handfuls of dry citrus fertilizer. the rain breaks it down slowly and rainwater is great for the trees. also another note about Four winds mail order. It's great and keep posted on their site as they are working on Italian lemons which are really worth growing. I have a large collection and they grow big fat lemons with many times the oil of lisbon or eureka in the peel.

                          2. kattyeyes Jun 28, 2009 06:10 PM

                            Limona Lemon Tree is doing fabulously. Check out how the lemons have grown! These pictures are from Friday, 6/26/09. I used the fertilizer for the first time this week.

                            Anyone else have recent photos?

                             
                             
                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kattyeyes
                              kattyeyes Oct 22, 2009 06:54 PM

                              It is October 22nd and Limona Lemon Tree is finally starting to look like a lemon tree instead of a lime tree. The fruits are about 1/2 lime-green, 1/2 lemon-yellow. I never imagined the fruits were going to ripen FINALLY in the fall!

                            2. n
                              NJP Oct 29, 2009 06:39 AM

                              You can order Meyer lemon trees from Logee's. Depending on the size, prices are from $11.00 - $25.00.

                              1. kattyeyes Jan 24, 2010 07:54 AM

                                HELP! Is my beautiful little tree in trouble? Limona the Lemon Tree's leaves are yellowing. Is this just the way things are in the winter?

                                Ms. Tree is in my living room near the sliding glass door so she can catch some rays...whenever that is possible here in the Land of Steady Habits at this dismal time of year. I reread this whole post and now am questioning whether I did the right thing to fertilize ("avoid November to January," as cakebaker says below)...I don't want to lose my little tree! Any advice (except to move somewhere more appropriate?!)? Please help!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: kattyeyes
                                  Glencora Jan 24, 2010 10:56 AM

                                  I have no experience growing citrus indoors, but I have a couple thoughts. Could you be over watering? Or could the tree have scale? Check for little bump-like bugs on the stems and the undersides of the leaves. If just the veins of the leaves are yellowing,it could be from lack of iron. Or maybe it's too warm? My potted lemons and lime are outside in pretty lousy weather (for Northern CA) and they're doing okay. Good luck. Maybe other people will have more ideas.

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    jen kalb Jan 25, 2010 08:20 AM

                                    Leaves may be yellowing like Glencora suggests from lack of iron, low acid soil etc. My potted plants are generally underfretilized and have benefited from some light feeding since they came in.

                                    Other possibilitties are white fly or spider mites - My citrus gets scale usually in the spring but these other pests can create leaf yellowing pretty fast if they go unchecked. Look under your leaves and see what you see. Insecticidal soap or oil spray can be pretty effective in combatting this, also keep your moisture level up around the plants.

                                    Finally, citrus is pretty sensitive to lack of water. If you see the leaves starting to curl or look flat and dull, check - its probably high time to water. or investigate whether pest control is needed If you dont, you will lose leaves. Fortunately a citrus plant can come back from a major leaf loss pretty well.

                                    1. re: jen kalb
                                      d
                                      dawnb Feb 8, 2010 05:53 AM

                                      I just found scale on my Meyer Lemon. Can you ever truly get rid of scale or is it merely "controlled"?

                                      1. re: dawnb
                                        jen kalb Feb 8, 2010 08:47 AM

                                        i never rest easy about this until the plants go outside for the summer.
                                        Though infestations can be serious outdoors too, the rain and other outdoor conditions are helpful in getting rid of the problem.

                                        You just have to keep after the scale. You can use a solution of insecticidal soap/horticultrual oil. Totally wet the plant, bottom and top of leaves and stems. You can physically wipe off the scale animals, say with a tissue.(I have found these things can be irritatating) from stems and leaves. Sometimes I will cut off a stem with a major infestation. As the days get longer look over your plants frequently. Look at the stems, both the older woody parts and the new tips - look under the leaves, along the vein. If tyour plants are dropping honeydew, that can be a sign of scale, also ants going up and down the stems for honeydew (my house is not always ant-tight and sometimes also colonies form in spring in the bottom of pots for plants that summer outsides.

                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                          d
                                          dawnb Feb 8, 2010 10:46 AM

                                          Thanks for the advice. Strangely, the scale doesn't seem to be affecting the health of the tree. I have over 50 little lemons. Is that too many for a young tree?

                                          1. re: dawnb
                                            jen kalb Feb 8, 2010 10:58 AM

                                            given time if you let it spread into a disgusting mess it will. Looks like to have a generally healthy plant - there is going to be a natural thinning/drop of some of those little lemons - dont get too discouraged. Just keep your humidity, watering and light feeding up.

                                  Show Hidden Posts