I just love the magical fragrance of citrus blossoms, and there’s nothing that can quite compare to the bloom of a Meyer lemon. Somewhere between a vacation in Hawaii and a picture of Versailles on Pinterest, I fell in love with the idea of having a Meyer lemon tree growing in my very own home. Sure, I’d have to go with a dwarf variety specially developed for growing indoors, but I was certain my green thumb was up to the challenge. How hard could it be? I’d raised plenty of chia pets to maturity, after all, surely an indoor dwarf citrus wasn’t too terribly different.
When Selecting An Indoor Citrus Tree, Look No Further Than The Meyer Lemon
Maybe it’s just more forgiving to the headstrong and bold novice farmer (like myself), but I’ve learned that the sour fruit of the citrus tree is much easier to grow indoors compared to sweet fruit. Some varieties of limes and oranges work great indoors, but I happen to have a special place in my heart for lemon tarts, so naturally I’d lean towards a lemon tree. When selecting the right citrus tree for you, look for a dwarf tree that has been specially grafted to not grow too big, and try to get one that’s around two or three years old so you can enjoy a rapid harvest of delicious fruit.
Treat your Meyer Lemon Tree Well and Reap the Rewards
- Proper Lighting – These trees love bright, natural light like you’d find from a window with southern exposure. A decent compromise can be reached with some indoor lighting, just be careful about too much direct sunlight which can burn the leaves of your precious tree.
- Make it Mobile – Most trees prefer the outdoors, depending on the weather, and many expert gardeners support the idea of growing your tree outdoors and moving it indoors when it’s reached show quality. Of course, this does require some weather hardening and gentle transitioning from indoors to outdoors, and back again to avoid shocking the tree. A set of wheels under your planter pot is also recommended to aide in mobility from one location to the next. Moving the tree outdoors also allows for natural pollination of the blooms. Otherwise, be prepared to pollinate by hand if you plan on keeping your tree indoors all year.
- A Pot to Plant In – This is one of those areas where size matters, even if your tree is going to stay indoors year round a dwarf tree of about three to four feet in height is much easier to manage than something eight feet or taller.
- Food, Glorious Food – A fertilized tree is a happy tree. Since my thumb isn’t nearly as green as I might like to think, I relied on a little help from Miracle Grow (the slow release kind) mixed in with the potting soil. This was the easiest method for me because the Miracle Grow would add just the right amount of nutrients to the soil each time I watered my beloved tree. Short of this, it’s a good idea to get potting soil and plant food specially designed for citrus trees.
- Hydration Station – I learned early that my dwarf tree really thrived in about 50% humidity. Soggy roots were also a problem I faced from over-watering. I tackled both challenges by adding a humidifier during the summer months and more efficient drainage year-round. Too much moisture is a problem, so keep an eye on the humidity levels to keep pests and mold away.
- Temperature and Climate – Ideally, a Meyer lemon tree likes an average temperature of 65 degrees, so make sure your location of choice provides ample sunlight, proper humidity, and an even temperature free of frosty drafts and blazing heat vents.
Enjoying a Bountiful Harvest Requires Patience
It did take a little bit of time for me to settle into the care and maintenance routine to keep my Meyer lemon tree in optimal health, but it was a labor of love that was totally worth the effort. From consulting with experts, watching a fair number of videos on the internet and visiting my local nursery I was able to easily tackle the minor headaches of aphids and dry leaves. I’ve learned a lot about patience, observation and the relative humidity of my home in the process as well. But I’ll tell you, nothing tasted quite so sweet as the lemonade that I made from the first harvest of fruit from my Meyer lemon tree.
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