Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Meyer a Lemon
There seems to be a resurgence of wanting to grow Meyer Lemons lately. I have been asked about them a lot. So, I thought I would give you some information about them.
The Meyer Lemon (Citrus × meyeri) was introduced into the United States from China in 1908 by Frank N. Meyer. The fruit more closely resembles an Orange than a Lemon internally as well as externally. It is a cross between a sweet orange and a Lemon. The plant itself has many of the lemon traits such as lemon-scented foliage, a serrated leaf edge, reddish new growth and purple tinged blossoms.
The fruit, however, has many of the characteristics of the sweet orange. The fruit initially turns yellow but then it continues to change to a deep yellow and sometimes even orange. It is a pale orange color with a decent lemon flavor, only sweeter than typical lemons.
Meyer Lemons tend to be a little more cold tolerant than normal lemons. Again, a sign of the sweet orange ancestry.
Here are some important facts to know:
# Meyer Lemon Trees perform best with full sun (at least 8 hours per day).
# Regular water with well drained soil. It does not like wet feet.
# Hardy to 20 degrees Fahrenheit
# 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 soil.
# Low salt tolerance.
# Rounded growth habit.
# Medium rate of growth.
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.
I personally am not crazy about a Meyer Lemon if it gets too ripe. They are not bad, in my opinion, if they are picked just as they start to turn yellow. But do not go by my tastes, everybody is different. I encourage you to go out and try one. It may just become your favorite Citrus tree.