Lisbon Lemon Trees Potted

wineman73February 28, 2012

Last year I purchased 2 potted Lisbon lemon trees

From duarte nurseries. They were potted in 1 gallon pots.

I transfered them to larger pots and fertilized monthly with Espoma citrus. They flowered, fruit appeared and then all fell off.

I transfered them inside and placed them near a window. I still feed the the Espoma citrus monthly. All the leaves are a nice dark green. It has been growing fast so I trimmed back a few branches. They have also started blooming one has only one flower and the other has three large flowers. How do I get the trees to bloom more? Also, will it fruit this year? Is there any special fertilizers I can add. I occasionally feed it foxes liquid big bloom every other week. I have been thinking of using peter 25-5-15 fertilizer but can't find it any where near me or on the web. I am not sure if the espoma citrus has all the needed minerals and elements, does it? I water my plants every 4 days or so, give them about a liter of water each. The trees are healthy and green, just don't bloom. Any help would be appreciated. Will take a few pictures and post. Also I potted them in a mix I made myself basically mixing organic potting soil, course sand and perlite together. Its a very grimly soil probably made up of 40%the potting soil, 30% sand and 30%perlite perlite

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Patience is a Virtue...unfortunately not one often found in plant growers.
I think you are doing the right things; perhaps you are over fertilizing a bit, especially for a container tree... you could get a salt buildup which would first appear as brown tips on your leaves. Depending what rootstock they are on, Lisbons can take as long as 5 years to produce fruit; if yours are flowering, cut back a little on the Nitrogen, and after that just have patience.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:39PM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

wineman73, I'm confused. Do you live in Massachusetts or Afghanistan (your 'Member Page' info says you live in the latter). To add to my confusion, I couldn't find a Duarte Nursery in MA, but did find one in CA. You'll get the best advise on this forum if we know your geographic location..


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:15PM
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Hello Tim
I am from massachusettes and I purchased the trees from a local nursery. The trees were grown by duarte
out of California.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 6:01AM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Okay, that's what I figured, but I didn't want to make any assumptions...

So, I have several thoughts/concerns regarding your trees and your fertilizing/watering practices. But first off, when did you buy your tree last year - was it earlier or later in the year?

The reason I ask is this: If you bought early last year and have been using the same soil/fertilizer and frequent watering schedule AND your tree has (except for fruit) been otherwise healthy, you may want to continue with your regimen as your tree sounds in fairly good shape. But we really do need a photo to more accurately gauge this. The only thing I would add is that you should use the wooden dowel method to test if you need to water. Basically you stick a wooden dowel or skewer (like wooden BBQ skewers) deep into the soil and feel on the back of your hand if you detect coolness/moisture. If you do, DO NOT water, since citrus do not like to be continually damp and is a recipe for root stress/root rot!

If you bought your tree later in the year, not enough time may have passed for you to see any negative effects of a highly water-retentive potting soil and watering schedule that will eventually translate to decreased tree vigor (due to root stress) resulting in leaf curl, leaf drop, a host of other problems, and eventually death. Therefore, a lot of members living in your climate zone bypass potting mix soils altogether and instead use a 'soil-less' mix that lets water drain freely. For the recipes of two soil-less mixes, do a search on this forum for "gritty mix" and "5-1-1". The latter is easier to make, as it consists of microbark, peat, and perlite that you can easily obtain from a nursery.

The fertilizer that a lot of us use is a product from Dyna-Gro called Foliage Pro (that you can get from Amazon), which contains everything your citrus requires including all the micronutrients like Fe, Zn, Mg, Mn, Ca, Cu, etc.

Finally, don't worry about the absence of fruit on your tree at this point. Besides, it sounds like you have fairly young plants in your 1 gal pots and trees will need to be of a certain age (at least 2-3 years for grafted citrus) before they can hold fruit. The things you need to be concerned about are correct soil environment/watering practices, good light (6-8 hrs of Southern window exposure is best), citrus fertilizer with necessary micronutrients, and vigilence with preventing pests from taking hold on your trees. Couple this with (as John above correctly mentions) a bit of patience, you should have fruit in due time. Best of luck!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 1:32PM
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Tim! Wow, you are getting it, growing container trees that is! Superb.

With hold Nitrogen as stated and you should see an increase of blooms as stated.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 1:56PM
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I actually purchased the lemon trees in April of 2011. They were Planted in 1 gallon containers, I later transferred and replanted them in 14 inch containers.

I do have some follow up questions. I did go ahead and purchase the Foilage pro on amazon and I was wondering how often and how much I should use? Should i follow the recommended feeding listed on the package?
I would like to use it as a soil drench at watering.

Also, The dowel method how deep do i insert the dowel?


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:16AM
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TimSF(CA Z8B/Sunset17)

Those of us that use Foliage Pro generally apply with every watering at the rate of 1/2 tsp per gal of water. For added measure, we also mix 1 capful of white vinegar to the brew which (the thinking goes) helps with the acidity that citrus generally like. FP should be the only fertilizer you need, so do not add additional kinds as there is a risk (others have written) of over-fertilizing.

In regard to the wooden dowel/skewer test, obtain as long a one as you can find with a pointed end (you may have to sharpen yourself), stick it into your soil as far down as the root level (I poke all the way to the bottom of the pot), and then pull out for your determination.

And remember, if your tree starts to have any leaf issues, always think first of root stress (assuming no bug issues) as the primary cause, and address this as soon as possible. Cheers!


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 11:25AM
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