Growing Meyer Lemon for its Foliage

bedtimeMay 5, 2013

I'd like to use this tree just for its leaves. I use them in tea and in cooking. I don't care about fruit. All the lemons have long been pruned.

I've pruned about 1/3 - 1/2 of this tree already and 10 new shoots have popped up and are growing extrememly fast. My guess is that by the end of this month (in about 25 days) these leaves will be perfect for harvesting. They taste best and make the best tea when they are still lush and have not yet hardened.

The question is: In a month could I prune these new branches? That would make it June, and there would be a few more months worth of outside growing before the tree would have to go back indoors.

Or, would this be too much of a shock to the tree? And would it just be better to leave it? I could only harvest half of them but I thought that if I harvested all the new ones that and fully pruned all the new branches then there would be lots growth to replace it.

What do you think? I'm looking for ideas.

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Truth is the Meyer was discovered in China in 1908; it was being grown there as a dooryard ornamental. The Meyer is more a bush than a tree; and can be pruned for espalier, topiary, even bonsai. If you feed it well, every time you prune it, it will produce new growth. The Meyer typically needs an NPK ratio of 3-1-2; because it is a heavy producer; but if what you want are leaves, give it more N and it will make more leaves and less fruit. My budwood grove produces lots of leaves and few fruits; because that is the purpose... for that I give it almost double the N that my producing trees get.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:24AM
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I have miracle-gro all purpose 24-8-16 with micronutrients, so is it safe to just use that? I'm going to crop the fruit as soon as I see it anyway. Also, how much to use? Any idea?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Follow the label instructions... if I were you I would dump the MG and look here and elsewhere for a better product.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:50PM
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I'm growing a key lime tree for leaves too but it's only 9 month old and I don't want to pick its leaves yet. Well, maybe I will start picking its leaves in its 1 year old birthday.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:17PM
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Thanx John, hmmm. Gotta first find something better...


I'm not sure what to say about young trees. Maybe someone will have an answer for you.


I harvested on the 18th of this month. I wanted to get the leaves and the branches while they were still young so it could all be edible. Harvested 107 leaves, oven dried them (including branches), and ground them (including branches). It gave me only about 1-2 ounces of lemon leaf powder but it is very potent. Only needs 1/4 - 1/2 of a teaspoon to make tea with or to mix in soup. So I'll probably get about 30-60 uses out of it, which IMO is a fine harvest and I'm happy with it. Today being about 2 weeks since and I can already see a bunch of new branches growing to take their place. Maybe I'll be able to let these grow for June and July and harvest on the 1st of Augest, which would be just in time for one more growth before the cold weather comes. I'd then not harvest that growth and I'd leave it on the tree to take in sun for the winter.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 4:56PM
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* update *

Wow, I counted 23 new branches forming. Gonna be a nice harvest! If each branch gives about 10 leaves then 230 altogether, which is a great amount for tea (about 60 servings or 2 months worth @ 4 leaves/cup, which would be strong). This is far beyond my, well, unexperianced, expectations. I'll be grafting persian lime to this tree as soon as it produces bud graftable scion buds. Then I'll eventually just crop the lemon branches and let the persian lime take over. It is far superior for tea. Might even graft some orange buds to the tree to allow for dependable foliage throughout winter as orange seems to hold its leaves better in more shaded areas from what I've read.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 6:08PM
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