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.
Happy Growing!


  1. Wow...your Meyers look beautiful! Mine is in the ground and is blooming like crazy right now, even after the long winter Florida has experienced! The fruit is wonderful!

  2. Two extra points about Meyer lemons, Darren. Here in Oz they're regarded as probably the best lemon to grow in pots. That's a good bonus point for people who want that 'potted lemon look'!

    But on the down-side the outermost skin of the Meyer lemon has very little lemon oil in it, and as lemon 'zest' (finely grated lemon skin) is a valuable ingredient in all sort of recipes, the Meyer isn't really a chef's best friend. Bit of a letdown, really.

    They're a fine, decorative plant and very nice looking, but they're a bit wimpy when it comes to real lemon flavour.

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  4. My "improved" Meyer lemon tree is in a container on my north facing balcony in coolish San Mateo about 10 mi south of San Francisco. I serve small frequent doses of fish emulsion during water can watering, feed commercial citrus fertilizer most of the times recommended, and have many small large egg sized lemons on tree now in early August.
    Problem I don't know how to solve the current scarcity of leaves on the plant, with no indication of additional leaf growth evident. I think it indicates some mineral deficiency, although the small number of leaves are a healthy green, but don't know what to use now during fruit development. Anyone have good advice for me?

  5. Anonymous,
    First, please send me an e-mail so I can contact you directly. There are a few things wrong with your tree and I can absolutely help.
    My e-mail is TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com.
    One of the first things we need to do is move the plant out of the North and into more sun. We can move on from there.
    Please contact me.

  6. If you admire Goldenrod, you might really like Agalinis. Not just a pretty pink, it is the host for Buckeye nutterflies. There is a great crop of it here this year, and very little Rabbit Tobacco.

  7. I live in N. Charleston also and am wondering where I can purchase a Meyer Lemon Tree to put in a container. Would I purchase a "dwarf" variety? Someone told me that Abide a While nursery had them last year, but that it was illegal to bring it from Charleston County into Dorchester County???

  8. Hello Sparkleekat,
    If you can get a dwarf variety, that would be good. If not, there is no problem. A standard will also work.
    Yes, Abide A While does sell them and you are correct, it is illegal to take them out of Charleston County. Being that you are in Dorchester County. Check Stacks Nursery on Dorchester Rd. You can also go online to http://mckenzie-farms.com/photo.htm
    He is a friend of mine up near Florance. He can ship you one.
    Hope that helps!

  9. Meyer Lemons love bone meal- seems to help in fruit production, lear, etc. With only a light cover put over them mine has withstood 19ºF here where it is slightly under the edge of a big oak for additional shelter - make marvelous lemon meringue pies, lemon chicken, etc. referred to Eureka lemons..

  10. I had a Meyers lemon that was rocking and rolling in a patio pot in full sun. Probably had 30 or so lemons. I picked all of them on the same day, and shortly after the bush died. Died in less than a month after harvest. It lost all of its leaves and the green in the branches turned to hard wood. Could removal of all the fruit at once been the cause of a flourishing plant to die? I would like another Meyers but they are expensive and I don't want this to happen again. The lime in the pot right next to this lemon is still doing great.

    1. Hey Ricky,
      VERY interesting question!
      I am not aware of picking all of the fruit killing a tree.
      When you picked all of the fruit, did you clip it off, rip it off, or ???
      As strange as it may sound, it could have been a coincidence. Some kind of disease could have entered the branches where the fruit was picked from. How long had you had the plant?
      Where did it come from?
      Is it possible that you hurt the trunk when picking them?
      Very odd indeed.