Growing Meyer Lemon Trees

LAST UPDATED: Mar 25, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Jan 20, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

Learn the ins and outs of caring for a Meyer Lemon Tree indoors. Growing lemon trees is easy with these tips! And the best reward? You’ll charm your friends and family with delicious drinks, dinners and desserts flavored with your very own lemons! 

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

As you likely already know, we are fans of adding vibrant green houseplants to our home. They instantly add warmth and cozy charm to any space!

A little touch of fresh green life throughout your home goes a long way, even if you’re a minimalist like me. {Check out this post for more of my favorite ideas for adding warm and cozy vibes to your home even if you’re a minimalist.}

We especially love adding easy-care plants to our home, like this incredible zz plant. If you’re like me and love plants that you can’t kill, you’ll also have to check out this round up of easy houseplants!

Today I am bringing you another of my favorite plants to grow indoors: the Meyer Lemon Tree! I’ve grown these both in a traditional tree form and shaped topiary lemon trees, and I love them all.

While growing your own lemon trees might take a little more care than other plants, the reward is more than worth the effort.

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

Meyer Lemon Trees

The Meyer Lemon Tree is a hybrid between a citron and mandarin. Their fruit tastes like a cross between the tart lemon and a sweet orange or mandarin.

The fruit is extremely juicy with a thin skin which makes it an easy to peel exterior.

This flowering tree is beautiful and fragrant, making it an excellent potted plant choice.

Mature full sized lemon trees will grow to be 25 feet+ and are usually only grown outdoors. Dwarf citrus trees (often grown indoors in pots) can grow up to 10 feet high in the right conditions.

Don’t be fooled – a miniature lemon tree can yield an abundance of fruit – we’ve had more than 30 from a tiny tree!

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

How to Grow Meyer Lemon Trees Indoors

Yes, you can grow it indoors in a pot! Growing a lemon tree is actually pretty easy, I promise! The surprising ease, along with the vibrant green foliage and sweet scent are the reasons it’s my favorite fruit tree!

  • Light – Indoor citrus trees require 8 to 12 hours of light per day to produce fruit, so place it in an area that receives a lot of sun. Southern exposure is best, but not required. Ours thrives in Northern light. Pick the sunniest spot in your home for the best results.
    • If needed, you can supplement with a professional grow light.
  • Water – Keep soil moist, but not over-saturated. Citrus trees thrive with infrequent watering. Wait until the top 2″ of soil are dry before watering. Water slowly and deeply to fill the container then allow it to drain out. This is known as deep watering.
    • Unsure? Use a moisture meter to prevent over-watering.
    • Yellow Leaves? Chances are you are watering too frequently.
    • Using Rocks – Fill a pot tray with rocks and add water to the tray nearly covering the rocks. Place the potted tree on top of tray (not in water).
  • PollinateCitrus are generally self-fruitful and don’t require a pollinator, even indoors.
    • To Pollinate- Use a soft brush or cotton swab to transfer pollen between blossoms. We have never had to do this, but it does encourage the plant.

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

Lemon Tree Fertilizer

Citrus trees require fertilization throughout the year, whether indoors or out. Our local nursery recommended to taper off fertilizing during the winter months when our lemon tree is indoors, with a higher frequency during the summer months as we will often move them outdoors to our deck.

This brand of citrus fertilizer has worked well for us, and we simply follow the directions on the package. Look for a slow release fertilizer that will feed your plant well over a longer time period.

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

Dwarf Lemon Tree

Dwarf lemon trees can generally grow to around 8 feet tall. They produce the exact same fruit as other lemon trees, just on a smaller scaled tree.

These dwarf lemon trees are perfectly suited for growing indoors! Most of the potted lemon trees you find at your local nursery will be a dwarf variety, but be sure to ask for details.

Growing your own lemon trees will be a long-term investment in time, so you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the correct size for your home and lifestyle.

Generally, dwarf citrus trees are the perfect fit for indoor spaces!

A white room with lots of windows, potted dwarf lemon tree in a basket.

Where to Find a Meyer Lemon Tree for Sale

How to Pot a Meyer Lemon Tree

  1. Select a pot with good drainage.
  2. Combine equal parts peat moss, potting soil and perlite.
  3. Remove the tree from its container cutting dry roots if needed. Fluff roots.
  4. Add the tree to your potting and add potting mixture.
  5. Gently pull the tree upward while watering to eliminate air pockets.

Transplant or re-potting is recommended every two years or when it appears to outgrow its pot.

A white kitchen sink area, with a topiary style potted Meyer lemon tree.

Facts

When to Prune

You can prune any time to maintain the desired shape and size! Never remove more than 1/3 of the overall foliage at a time.

When will it Bear Fruit?

From time of bloom to enjoying edible fruit it typically takes 6-9 months. Patience is key!

Why is my Meyer Lemon Tree Not Producing?

Often, patience is key. Younger (smaller) plants will often need more time to begin bearing fruit. The larger your tree when you purchase, the older it generally is. This means you’re that much closer to growing your own lemons!

Check your drainage – is your tree sitting in too much water? Over-watering is a major culprit when it comes to lack of fruit.

Lack of sun is another issue, and so is over-fertilizing.

A white room with a long farm table, dwarf lemon tree growing in the corner.

Why do the Leaves Drop?

This is often due to rapid changes in light exposure. Before moving outside, gradually increase light exposure over 2-4 weeks. Gradually decrease the light before bringing indoors.

Why are my Leaves Yellow?

This is often due to over-watering your citrus. You’ll need to make sure the tips of your roots aren’t rotting in too much water, resulting in an inability to take in moisture.

Favorite Meyer Lemon Recipes

You can substitute Meyer Lemon in most recipes that call for lemon! They are delicious in cocktails, vinaigrettes and baked goods. Even savory dishes like pasta can benefit from this zesty citrus flavor!

They are less acidic and tart than traditional lemons so they will add a hint of sweetness to your recipes.

A white ceramic dish filled with homemade meyer lemon ice cream, lemons and ice cream scoop to the side.

To substitute, start with half the amount of lemon or zest that the recipe calls for because Meyer lemons are a little more powerful. Adjust according to taste!

Some of my favorites include:

A fluted glass filled with homemade honey lemonade.

Three miniature loaves of lemon bread, meyer lemons to the side.

You can even use it to make a Lemon Sugar Scrub!

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