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MEYER LEMON TREE
(Citrus limon "Meyer")

The Meyer Lemon Tree is a hardy variety and the best lemon tree for subtropical climates such as the gulf coast of the United States. The Meyer Lemon is not actually a real lemon but a cross between a lemon, a type of orange and a mandarin. While it retains most of the characteristics of a lemon, it has a bit less acidity, less bitterness, more sweetness and thinner skin. The skin of the Meyer Lemon lacks the typical zest of a real lemon. It has gained favor because it bears a heavy crop and it is a relatively hardy plant.

  • Meyer Lemon Trees perform best with full sun (at least 8 hours per day).
  • Regular water with well drained soil. No wet feet..
  • Hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 degrees centigrade)
  • Preferred hardiness zones (U.S. - 9, 10, 11)
  • Can grow in a pot to restrict size or in areas that can suffer a heavy freeze.
  • Grows to 15 feet tall and wide or larger if planted in the ground.
  • Sandy, well-drained, dry, alkaline soil works best.
  • Tolerates acidic soil if necessary.
  • Low salt tolerance.
  • Rounded growth habit.
  • Medium rate of growth.
  • Used for Patio Tree, Screen, Fruit and as a Specimen Plant

The Meyer Lemon bears heavily when mature. Its crop size increases as the plant matures. It may bear 10 or more lemons even at 3 years old. The fruit is green in color until it matures. When mature on the tree, the Meyer Lemon changes to a yellow-orange color. That will take longer than you expect. The main crop matures in the summer. In a tropical climate, the Meyer Lemon Tree can bear fruit nearly all year long.

Guard against snails that can eat the buds and leaves of the Meyer Lemon tree.

After 3 or 4 years in a pot, you need to replace the soil since it will be exhausted of nutrients. You can either replant into a larger pot or cut away some of the outer roots with a sharp, strong knife and replant in the same pot but with fresh soil.

The Meyer Lemon Tree is named for Frank Meyer. He brought it to the United States from China in 1908 while working for the USDA. The tree became very popular and was widely grown until a virus that attacked Meyer Lemon Trees was discovered in the mid-1940s. Meyer Lemon Trees were banned in the United States in an effort to insure the safety of other lemon varieties from the virus. A new version of the Meyer Lemon Tree was developed that was virus-free and it was reintroduced in 1970. Since that time, the Meyer Lemon has become a favorite for the home grower. This variety is especially sweet and succulent. The Meyer Lemon has a thin skin and does not survive shipping well. As a result, the Meyer Lemon is not widely grown by commercial lemon growers.

This is a tree bought from Lowe's in the spring of 2002.
The picture is June, 2002 shortly after the tree was planted in this pot. The tree needs to be shaped with the lowest branches being removed and the upper branches being pruned 1/2 way to promote more branching.

 

 
 
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