Why won't my container citrus tree bloom?
I bought a very sad little citrus tree at Lowe's about three years ago. It was basically an eight-inch twig and one green leaf in a drenched, molding paper pot, and I got it for $.99 on the clearance table. It was even missing the tag that said what type it is, but the possibilities were either a Calamondin Orange or Meyer Lemon. I named him Milo and resigned myself to the fact that there was a good chance he wasn't going to make it because I wasn't much of a gardener.
Fast forward almost four years, countless raised eyebrows from my doubting husband, hours of one-sided conversations with Milo, and he's now about three feet high. He lives outside in the summer in a three gallon plastic nursery pot filled with Miracle-Gro citrus mix and mulched with coconut coir. I was mulching with pine needles for awhile to keep the cats out of the pot and because I read somewhere online that the acid might be good, but I removed them early in the spring in case that was the problem. I've pruned him a couple of times around the bottom so he'll look more like a tree than a bush, and I've pinched back a couple of branches that went shooting out way beyond their peers. I let him mostly dry out between waterings, and I water about once a week. He's never shown any sign of wanting to bloom.
Someone told me that I should let him dry completely out, then water well and fertilize with nitrogen to get him to bloom, so I did that using composted manure. He had a little growth spurt, but no flowers. Now it's nearly time to acclimate him to living indoors again.
Any idea what I should do this fall and winter to help him out? Is it possible he'll just never bloom? I know sometimes they take awhile, but the woman at the nursery said that when the twig-trees were healthy, some already had blooms, so presumably, he's old enough.