When should I bring my Meyers lemon indoors?

tamela_star(Zone 7)September 20, 2013

I have a Meyer lemon tree that is doing great outside, it's very healthy and happy. However, fall is here and I live in MD the lows have been in the low 60's to upper 50's on the cooler nights. When do you guys that live in zone 7 bring in your citrus trees?

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johnmerr(11)

I would start now to move it from full sun to partial sun; after at least 2 weeks in partial sun, move it to full shade (roughly equivalent to a sunny window indoors); after that I would leave it outside until the night temps get close to freezing; and then move it to indoors.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:40PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

John, the sun thing and adjusting to light is perfect!

But with regards to temps in my case, if I was too wait until temps were that cold and then bring them into my home, all the leaves would drop. Also my then my trees would be suffering and to weak to adjust indoors unless they are brought into an unheated room.

I would bring them in as soon as night start dropping into the 40's on a regular basis..I mean more than 5 days in a row...They will be use to warmer temps before they are brought inside into a warm home, assuming your house and warm and then heated.

Temp changes are just as important as light changes in my case...

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 8:48PM
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johnmerr(11)

At least for the Meyer, I don't agree that temperature is just as important as light. For Meyers, the real sensitivity is to light.

We have moved trees from sea level and HOT to 8,000 feet and quite cold at night with no leaf loss at all, as long as they go from full sun to full sun.

The problem in the northern climates if you wait too long to move them indoors, the light change is even more pronounced.

At any rate, I was not suggesting to leave them outside until freezing; only until we get somewhere near that. IMHO outside is almost always superior to inside.

I defer to the greater knowledge of experienced container growers in cold climates.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

I have moved all my trees from the roof to ground level where they get part sun. The days shorten very fast do to large trees to the south. I will keep them outside as long as possible before bringing them in. When the temperature drop below 45 I'll bring them in for the night to keep the soil warm and place them back out side the next morning. The change in temps didn't hurt. My trees were under CFL's by 3rd week of november. Under the light the meiwa tree grew the most.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 11:11PM
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Andrew Scott

In a way, I see John's point BUT, with that being said, my thermostat is set at 70 degrees all winter. What cab I say? I HATE BEING COLD!!!! I also agree that all my citrus do better when they can grow outdoors.

Now with that being said, I brought in my largest Meyer that I have now had for 2 years, along with a rooted cutting that I have had equally as long. I also had one of my new Meyers indoors and a Ponderosa lemon tree that iis a few years old. They all were under my 600 watt HPS light for about a week. The only 2 trees without flower buds when I brought them in were the new Meyer and the rooted cutting. Tonight I found flower buds on the rooted Meyer cutting.

I know that the 600 watt HPS light was not on for 8-12 hours each day, in fact there were at least 2 days where the light was NEVER on!

I also think for us growers that have to move our trees in every winter, there are more factors that come into play with what make them really thrive. I can honestly say that none of my Meyer lemon trees grow in the gritty mix. All of them except for my Oro Blanco, and my new Tango are in the same soil they were in when I bought them. Now I have observed how fast the mix drains and dries out, and that is the only reason I have not messed with the soil mixes there in.

My success really did not come into play until I bought supplemental lighting. Unfortunately for me, my apartment is surrounded by a lot of shade(with the exception of 2 kitchen windows but I can only put my small citrus there and during the cold, short winter days, it still isn't enough to keep them happy enough to bloom and fruit. This year, I plan on scoping out my local Home Depot so I can hopefully find some cheaper alternatives to buying the HPS light set up.

I still have to say that all you guys and gals have helped me a lot, and if it wasn't for everything I have learned, I wouldn't be nearly as success full!

Thanks again and happy growing everyone!
Andrew

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:09AM
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Andrew Scott

In a way, I see John's point BUT, with that being said, my thermostat is set at 70 degrees all winter. What cab I say? I HATE BEING COLD!!!! I also agree that all my citrus do better when they can grow outdoors.

Now with that being said, I brought in my largest Meyer that I have now had for 2 years, along with a rooted cutting that I have had equally as long. I also had one of my new Meyers indoors and a Ponderosa lemon tree that iis a few years old. They all were under my 600 watt HPS light for about a week. The only 2 trees without flower buds when I brought them in were the new Meyer and the rooted cutting. Tonight I found flower buds on the rooted Meyer cutting.

I know that the 600 watt HPS light was not on for 8-12 hours each day, in fact there were at least 2 days where the light was NEVER on!

I also think for us growers that have to move our trees in every winter, there are more factors that come into play with what make them really thrive. I can honestly say that none of my Meyer lemon trees grow in the gritty mix. All of them except for my Oro Blanco, and my new Tango are in the same soil they were in when I bought them. Now I have observed how fast the mix drains and dries out, and that is the only reason I have not messed with the soil mixes there in.

My success really did not come into play until I bought supplemental lighting. Unfortunately for me, my apartment is surrounded by a lot of shade(with the exception of 2 kitchen windows but I can only put my small citrus there and during the cold, short winter days, it still isn't enough to keep them happy enough to bloom and fruit. This year, I plan on scoping out my local Home Depot so I can hopefully find some cheaper alternatives to buying the HPS light set up.

I still have to say that all you guys and gals have helped me a lot, and if it wasn't for everything I have learned, I wouldn't be nearly as success full!

Thanks again and happy growing everyone!
Andrew

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:38AM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

Thank you all for the tips! I never would've thought about adjusting the light. I will do that, and I guess to start brining them in would be the end of October for me. MD weather can be quite tricky in the fall and spring. One day it's warm and the next day could be sweater weather. I really despise the cold as well, so my home is warm in the winter. I grow other tropical plants like orchids and bromeliads so I like to keep things comfortable for my plants and my family including my chihuahua. Lol I am very new to growing citrus and so far so good. I plan on making my special mothers day gift live for many years.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:21AM
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Andrew Scott

Hi Tamela. Once you have had some experience, growing Meyer lemons really isn't that difficult. I have only been growing them for about 3 or 4 years, and even though my 1st tree was my biggest loss, I have now made up for it. My replacement tree for the 1st tree I lost, has just about doubled in size!

Sorry for the double post everyone! It seems to happen more when I post from my Nook!

Andrew

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 2:19PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

There was no disagreement with you John.

Like I said....

In MY case, temp acclimation are just as important as light...If I waited until temps were into the 30's at night on a regular basis, and then brought them into a heated home. all the leaves would drop...That is what happens in my case...
And once temps start dropping below the 50's on a regular basis, you can kiss consistent healthy growth good bye, in pots that is.

If anyone wants to try waiting that long, I have no problem with it....All I am saying is 'beware.

MIke

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:10PM
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tamela_star(Zone 7)

My house is around 75-78 degrees in the winter time. So should I bring it in when the temperature drops downin the 40's or 50's?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 6:57PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

I am bringing them in under 50 if it is for more than 2 night and they will be in under 45 anytime. They will come in the next 3 night then they can stay out for 7 nights. Unless october is very warm I will have them in permanently by the 15th. With 4 trees in 5 gallon buckets I will not move them to much. Both my kumquat trees are in small bucket I'll move them much more before bringing them in for good.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:20PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

In my case. my citrus stop and go grow once temps drop below 55 on a regular basis..
Sometimes I don't care and for certain ones, I do..

For the ones that I do care about, I bring them inside to at night to keep them above the 40's by night and put them back out to enjoy warmer temps by day.

For my Meyer Lemon trees in pots especially, I always make sure to bring them in for good once I get tired of doing this dance of bringing them in at night at such cold temps, because if I leave then exposed to temps below the 50's on a regular basis, they suffer outside as well as indoors if I wait too long to bring them in a heated home.

It has been mentioned many times here that Meyer Lemons do not like cold roots and function poorly if grown in clay...Just a heads up.

Based on my experience, you can decide what to do...

Growing in the northern hemisphere in containers is much more of challenge than just worrying about sunlight, especially since my trees are exposed to shade, shadows,weak sunlight and very cold nights at this time of the year..

Mike:-)

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 21:45

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

I will agree with mike the the solar angle is quite low. This causes a cold plus sunlight double whammy. Miike live close to the arctic circle where as I am much farther south. tamela, you live closer to mike than me and would should sway towards mikes methods.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Saorise_2013

I am now VERY worried. :-( I can't bring my trees in till next weekend and the temperature has been colder than usual so it has been getting in the 40's at night and has been very windy and rainy. I would bring them in sooner but they are so heavy I need help to move them. Do you all think they will be okay till then? I would hate them to lose their leaves (or fruit). If they do start losing their leaves is there anything I can do to stop it? Any help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:51AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

They will survive as long as you don't have a frost and have planted in a heavy mix that stays wet for days on end...:-)

40's is fine, but as I said if you see yellowing or slowed growth, even a lighter coloring or less than ideal vivid green on the leaves, don't worry if you don't mind the looks of them....

Once you get them into warmer consistent temps, they should start growing and or greening up again..

By the way, why not leave your trees out until into next week or so...I am seeing 80's in your area and above normal temps. 50's at night for the next ten days there..
Rejoice because I sure am and by the way, mine are all back outside again until at least next Monday depending on the temps...

I have to ask...How many hours of sun do they get and are they in full sun, or under a tree, dabbled light? Curious..

The less time spent indoors the better...

So relax, the temps will be fine for now..

Mike:-)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:03AM
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Saorise_2013

Thanks for replying meyermike. :-)
I moved them under the north facing front porch so they wouldn't get so saturated with rain but they are not getting any direct light at all. They have only been there for 4 days. I did this because I knew I was going to be bringing them in I read on this forum that keeping them in the shade for awhile makes it easier for them to adjust to the lower light levels inside. I wish I was able to bring them in when it gets cold and take them out again when the weather is nicer but two of them are in 17" terra cotta pots and are so heavy now that they are so full of rain even my fiance who is a pretty big guy had a hard time moving them for me when he came over to help me put them on the porch.

I am not sure what zone/area my profile has on it but we are getting rainy weather here that has been causing flooding. :-/ It also is going to be in the 40's at night and late 50's during the day. It will get in the early 60's during the day friday though but it will start getting rainy and cold again after that. I SOO wish we would be getting weather in the 80's. I would definitely leave them outside so they could dry out more. Even though they are in the 511 mix it has been so cool that the water hasn't evaporated and it doesn't seem that the trees are absorbing much of it. I am very paranoid about my trees getting root rot! lol!

My trees will be going in front of a southeast window when I bring them in. I do have 2 floor lamps that each have three lights so each of my trees will have two light bulbs that are 40watt CFLs that are 6500k shining on them during the evenings till 9pm. I am hoping that will be enough to keep them alive through the winter. Thank you so much for all of your help. :-)

This post was edited by Saorise_2013 on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 22:20

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Asrar

I read your post about winter care for citrus and you brought plants in and used 40 watt cfl 65000. And i wondering how was the experience and guide me little bit? And how was it with other people ?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 5:59PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Asrar, you're better off starting a brand new thread about caring for indoor citrus and lighting suggestions.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Asrar

Ok. Thx Patty.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 2:02PM
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