Are you looking for an easy to maintain and rewarding addition to your garden? Then consider getting a dwarf Meyer lemon tree. This standout citrus is a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon and is prized for its sweet flavor. It was imported to the US from Beijing by Frank Meyer in 1908 and first gained popularity in the 1970s.
Citrus x Meyeri, otherwise known as the Meyer lemon, originates from China. The Meyer lemon tree’s size ranges from 6-10 feet, while dwarf varieties grow to about 5-7 feet. Its leaves are dark green and shiny, while its blossoms are white with a purple base.
One great thing about the Meyer lemon is that it can bear fruit almost all year-round. It’s also quite resilient and can thrive outdoors. It can still do well outdoors during winter so long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meyer lemons are rounder than true lemons. They are also sweeter and less acidic compared to other lemon varieties.
Meyer lemon trees are known to start bearing fruit at around four years old if grown from seed. Trees that are a product of grafting to a dwarf rootstock can start blooming as early as 1 year. Meyer lemon trees are known to bear fruit for as long as 30 years, a period that can be further extended with proper care. Like other citrus, it is also a natural insect repellant.
Improved Meyer Lemon Tree Care
Plant nurseries offer improved Meyer lemon trees for sale. These trees are naturally immune to the citrus tristeza virus which further enhances the tree’s resiliency. Its innate charm, hardiness, and manageable size make it great for growing indoors.
- It thrives in sandy loam soil as long as you provide adequate water during its early years, especially during warm, dry seasons.
- Young trees do not need fertilizers initially. Using compost is a better option for the plant’s nitrogen needs. You can start using acid-based or citrus fertilizer once the tree reaches 2 years. Giving it fertilizer 3 times a year is adequate to keep the tree healthy.
- When growing indoors, make sure to place it in a cool room since indoor heat and dry air can be harmful to the plant. Place it near a source of natural light since it greatly benefits from 8-12 hrs of sunlight per day.
- While Meyer lemon trees are quite pest-resistant, do take note of any citrus thrips which may bother your plant. These are small yellow-orange insects that feed on leaves during spring and summer and may cause scabby scars on the lemon rinds. If grown outdoors, these pests are managed by natural predators such as spiders, lacewings, and pirate bugs so using pesticides should only be a last resort for heavy infestations.
With proper care, this outstanding citrus tree can give you decades of sweet lemons virtually all year round. It’s yield during the summer and spring seasons are particularly note-worthy.