Meyer Lemon from cutting

timrod98(8)May 14, 2011

I thought of this yesterday... How are most Meyer Lemon plants propagated?? Are they grafts??

Just curious since all of mine (there have been 10 or more) came from cuttings of my earlier ones. Most, I think, came from an original my dad had. I would prune and then couldn't bear to just throw away all those beautiful I'd try to root them. Some rooted in soil and some just in a jar of water. Does this allow for more "variation" in fruit because there is definitely variation in the fruit. Some fruit is large & lumpy while others are half the size and smooth and one year I had one plant with ping-pong ball sized cluster of 5 or 6 lemons!

It's been weird. But over the 15+ years they all seem to keep on chugging along and producing. But since I have been applying YOUR knowledge and advice they have never looked better...and are currently LOADED with bud-fruit.



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most are sold as grafted. there's definitely chance for mutations. thats how we got the navel orange, and cara cara, etc.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 7:35AM
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I thought that there was only a chance for mutation from a seed. If you take a cutting it will always be identical to the parent plant. That is why cuttings are used to guarantee you still have the same type of plant. The root stock just gives the plant better properties that you are looking for then the original plants roots would normally have like more vigor or disease resistance or you want a semi or dwarf tree. If you're getting different results from the same cuttings I would think that it is do to some other reasons?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 7:02PM
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seedlings will exhibit traits from both sets of dna(male/female). generally from the dominate traits, sometimes from the recessive genes which will result in a "new" variety or "named" cultivar.

when a new branch grows from a parent tree, such as an orange, it has a very small chance for mutation. such as the original navel orange. one branch on an orange tree was producing what we know as navel oranges. the owner cut that branch off and grafted it to a rootstock. all known navel cultivars originate from this one mutated branch.

the cara cara navel formed as a "mutant" branch from one of the regular navel trees from the Cara Cara ranch (i think in Brazil) or another central/south american country.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:04AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Just to carry this subject further, just about all of our fruit trees and ornamentals are cultivated varieties and are propagated by grafting or cuttings. I don't think that most people know that and would be quite surprised.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 12:07PM
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Plants propagated vegetatively (from cuttings, grafting, from bulbs, etc.) are identical, no mutations, because only single plant is involved and the cells divide by mitosis.
Mutations only happen when two plants are involved (sexual reproduction) because the cells (the gametes) are produced after meiosis takes places, during which a process called crossing over happens, that's when fragments of DNA are exchanged between the chromosomes.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 2:49PM
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Thank you all for GREAT information and dialog. The knowledge base and helpfulness is wonderful.

I will post pics of the different fruit from my Meyers as they mature.

thanks a bunch............htp

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 10:38PM
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Not everything is correct in the answers given above.
The following are definitely true!
1. Citrus grown from seed can be exact clones of the mother plant, or can be variable due to sexual reproduction. This depends on the exact citrus variety.
2. Mutations do occur in mature trees. Branches with different characteristics are called 'sports'.
3. Cuttings are exact clones of the original tree - or of the different branch if the cutting has been taken from a sport.
4. Meyer's Lemon is one of the easiest citrus varieties to root from cuttings.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 11:22AM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

I have three Meyers in the ground. Two were purchased as grafted dwarf trees and one is the sole serendipitous seedling from my neighbor's now-dead Meyer. We had a spirited discussion a while back on this forum as to whether it really was a Meyer, since many sources claim the Meyer won't grow from seed. I think, based on the hundreds of rotting lemons that fell from my neighbor's plant that never produced another seedling (over a period of eight years), the viability of Meyers is simply so low a percentage that it's essentially futile to rely upon seeds instead of grafts.

The seedling plant is now quite a monster shrub and 17 yrs old. The two trees are (assuming they were about 2 yrs old in the container) respectively are 11 and 10 yrs old. I usually harvest between 60-135+ lbs of lemon every year, so I have lugged a lot of buckets into the kitchen and washed and juiced many, many Meyers.

My purchased trees give lemons that are classic "football" shapes about 65% of the time. The others will be round...or oval...or rough-skinned. Some are thin-skinned but some are thick-skinned (irregardless of shape).

Multiple fruit clusters is common in Meyers; I see it all the time. It's more dependent (I think) on water and weather conditions being optimal so that the flowers set multiple fruits instead of dropping off all but one blossom per stem.

I will add another morsel for thought here. I have a friend who had one of the original Meyer trees in her backyard. When all the commercial stock was destroyed in the 1940's, residential plantings were left untouched so around here there are many original Meyers. These are true trees, not shrubs, and as this was before I bought a home and started growing my own, she would kindly bring me a few bags of Meyers throughout the year.

They were always large, perfect, classic-looking lemons. After I started growing my own and seeing the variability in mine, although they both tasted the same, I asked her if she ever noticed any changes in shape on her Meyers. She replied that no, they always looked the same, like regular lemons until you cut into them and saw the more orange flesh.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 12:48PM
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"1. Citrus grown from seed can be exact clones of the mother plant, or can be variable due to sexual reproduction. This depends on the exact citrus variety."
That's not true. Just like two african american people will have an african american baby, or two asian people will have an asian baby, but they will definitely differ from their parents, and only have SOME resemblences, so just like that meyer lemons, even being self-fertile and even if one plant is involved, the new plants from seeds will still be meyer lemon, but different from the mother plant no matter what. And that is because:
Every somatic cell of the plant has a diploid set of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from the female plant and half from the male plant. In the formation of gametes (sperm and egg) special cells divide, that also have diploid sets of chromosomes, then a process called meiosis takes place, during which crossing over takes place - a process during which the chromosomes inherited from the male and the female plant touch and exchange genes, so now the chromosomes become mixed. NOW, the mixed chromosomes are pulled into different poles of the cell completely incidentally, so this makes the set of the chromosomes in the nucleus even broader. After this process - gametogenesis - four cells from one, with haploid (twice less than diploid) are formed.
So always in sexual reproduction new plants will differ from the mother plant, because of meiosis, and because of the diploid chromosome set. And the formation of a seed is sexual reproduction.
And it is a good thing, because from generation to generation the plants can adapt to more extreme conditions, like lower temperatures etc.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Man O Man...I just LOVE this group of GROWERS!!!!!
I am learning more here than in college...and it's more useful!!!!!
One of these days I may actually be able to contribute something...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 3:00PM
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To Evaldes:
Sorry, but you are wrong about citrus from seeds!
Although what you say is perfectly true for most plant species, citrus is unusual in that it can produce multiple seedlings from one seed. Called polyembryony. Some of these seedlings are NOT the result of sexual fertilisation, but are indeed exact clones of the mother plant. Called nucellar embryogenesis.
As I said before, the degree of polyembryony varies with citrus species and cultivars.
Check it out - you will find I am correct!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 4:00PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

evaldas needs to learn that are very few 'Always' and 'Never' situations in nature.

Mutations are just that: spontaneous, and unexpected. Mutations and sports do occur on side shoots and buds of cultivated varieties, including hybrid clones. This occurs quite frequently in some plant families.

And citrus does not follow the typical rules of hybrid seed production.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:32PM
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Mutations occur every millionth to every billionth multiplication.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:50PM
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this is WAAAAAY better than the years in college. If not careful I might actually learn something!!!
This is a great forum and the exchange of information & ideas is fantastic.
thanks to all .... htp

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 2:58PM
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timrod98- i have looking for a meyer lemon tree for almost 2 years now. it seems that everytime i see one for sale, i dont have the money to buy one and when i do have the money i cant find one for sale.
i was wondering, since you said that you have over 10, if you wouldnt mind sending a few cuttings my way. haha
if your interested in a trade, all i have to offer is pear and peach cuttings. variety is unknown because they were already planted when i moved here.

thanks for your time

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 9:38PM
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As a Meyer Lemon grower, it scares me a little that there are still "Original" Meyers existing; virtually 100% of them are silent carriers of Citrus Tristeza... it is the reason they were destroyed. Hopefully the owners of originals understand that and are not propagating them. As for seed -vs- grafted/budded, a number of years ago I planted 500 grafted Improved Meyer Lemon trees alongside 500 trees grown from seed...yes they are true to seed... but the grafted trees produced flowers in 12 months and fruit in 18, while the seedling trees did not produce the first flower for 5 years. Luckily for me my trees (7,000 now) are in Guatemala where we don't have Tristeza and there are NO original Meyers.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 10:53PM
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