Lemons are typically thick-skinned, tart, acidic and small, but not the lemons from the Improved Meyer lemon tree. Meyer lemon trees produce thin, deep-yellow to orange skinned fruits that are somewhat sweet with a moderately acidic taste minus the tang of regular lemons and with a discernable orange flavor.
Meyer lemon trees are originally from China and first reached the United States in 1908. Because they are naturally shrub-like the dwarf Meyer lemon tree became popular after initial introduction. However, due to this cultivar’s susceptibility to disease, the United States government quickly banned their propagation.
Soon after, most Meyer lemon trees, including the dwarf Meyer lemon tree, were destroyed as they were determined to be a symptomless carrier of the tristeza virus. This virus is fatal to all citrus trees. The solution was the Improved Meyer Lemon Tree, deemed to be free of any virus strain.
The Meyer lemon trees for sale you can buy from nurseries are usually grafted onto rootstocks and can start producing fruits in two years, unlike seed-grown trees which can only start bearing fruits about 4 to 7 years after planting.
The dwarf Meyer lemon tree can grow up to 8 to 10 feet in height and 12 feet wide when planted in the ground but tend to be smaller when planted in a container. They are cold hardy and can be planted in cold areas. During winter season you can just take your tree indoors and enjoy the fragrant scent the leaves, flowers and fruits provide.
Planting a Meyer Lemon Tree
There are a few things you have to consider when buying a Meyer lemon tree for sale.
- Soil – Meyer Lemon trees can grow in different soil conditions but do better in loamy or sandy loam type of soil. Be sure though that it does not sit in water and that the container you will use has good drainage to ensure the soil is moist but not soggy.
- Water – Proper watering is a major factor in growing your citrus tree. Watering too much or too little will be detrimental to the growth of the Meyer Lemon Tree. You can either use an inexpensive water meter to determine the amount of moisture at the root level, or use an old-fashioned technique, which is to stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If your fingertip gets damp wait to water, however if it feels dry then water the plant until water runs out of the holes at the bottom of the pot.
- Fertilizer – you need to fertilize your Meyer Lemon tree on a regular basis during the growing season. Use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and provides a balanced nutrition to promote growth and correct mineral deficiencies in the soil.
- Pruning – Prune decaying or dead branches to ensure proper ventilation and to allow light to penetrate the tree’s canopy. Doing so also helps in structuring the tree for it to fit in your space. Remove long spindly stems as they develop since they most typically will not produce fruits. Doing this will allow the side branches to fill out and develop properly to hold the fruit.