indoor citrus tree has few leaves, losing more now

almagestSeptember 19, 2013

Hi All,

I had 'few leaves' problem for a long time, but now tree started losing half of its leaves. I was reading the forums here, and trying to give it more time but now I am freaking out and asking your help.

Here are more details;

I have a meyer lemon tree for 3 years.
I am watering it once a week, a quart.
I am using this fertilizer, half a stick once a year :
Number of leaves steadily but slowly went down, but recently it accelerated. Now I am losing branches. They are drying out.
I had lemons before and always plenty of flowers.

I am attaching how leaves look. They don't become yellow or dry, but they lose color just before they fall. I don't see any bugs on the leaves.
I think I am losing one of the two major branches.

I would appreciate your help. Please let me know if any more details would be needed.


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Tree is getting 4-5 hours of direct light, and indirect light pretty much whole day.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:20PM
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Under watered, under fed. Get some DynaPro or Bayer Bayfolan forte and start feeding it regularly according to label recommendations.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:39PM
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What kind of mix are you using?

Do you water until the water flows out from the bottom?

When do you water and how do you know when to water?


    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 7:45AM
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I am watering one quart, every Friday. It never flows out from the bottom.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Hi A,

I don't think it's s good idea to stick to such a regimend since your plant could either stay wet longer than you think or dry out faster than you think.

If you are not allowing the water to flow out of the bottom I would not be surprised if it is suffering root damage from accumulated salts in which those roots are either rotting or not taking up moisture improperly.

Too at one time you could of over watered it causing root damage...

Too, you could of under watered it at one time causing rioot damage...

I wondered what kind of mix you used for a reason?

Hopefully if you check to see whether your plant really needs water before you use the watering can, and if you are using a good draining mix allowing the salts to come out from your tap source and fertilizers, it might have a great chance at survival..
You would be surprised at how much root damage can brought on by a mix that holds too much water or accumulated salts.

I have never had success with fertilizer sticks..Can you use a good water soluable and feed in small amounts at every watering or at least twice a month and recommended doses?
Can you give your tree a good flush of fresh water for at least 2 minutes?
Can you check the roots and see if they are healthy and white or just a bit off white?

By the way, is it growing in a plastic or clay pot? Is it exposed to cold? How cold?

Hope this helps you


This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Fri, Sep 20, 13 at 13:48

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:25PM
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I don't remember what the mix was.

It's plastic, it's not exposed to cold.

I will check the roots, and maybe I can post what they look like here. I will also flush.

Your comment about watering is confusing me that I remember seeing plenty of posts for such a watering cycle. Also how should I water? Rarer or more often, less or more?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 1:53PM
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I took out the root. I am not sure if the roots look like ok or not. Attaching a photo.

Soil was very moist. is that expected?

Also if I have to repot it , which soil do I need to use?

Thanks for all the help!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:41PM
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Andrew Scott

Ok, as for soil, you want a soil mix that is more porous, something that when you water, will dry out in 2 days, 3 max, otherwise, your roots will rot. Whitish yellow roots are healthy, but dark yellow is a sign of rot. I would be willing to bet that your root ball there smelled like rot.

Watering should only be done when the soil is almost totally dry. My best lesson when it comes to citrus, actually came from an orchid grower that I met at our local botanical garden's Orchid sale. He taught me years ago, to take a bamboo stake and to push it in until it hits the bottom of the pot. He told me to then pull it out, and press it to my cheek. If I felt any moisture, he said DO NOT WATER! He then said if the stake was almost dry(having very little to no moisture, I should water. The exact same rule applies to citrus.

What I would do first if I were you, is to replace that soil! You may want to try Al's gritty mix, but if that is too complicates for you to make on your own(I had a real hard time finding all the components to make it.), I would go to a garden center or a greenhouse, and ask them what soil mixes do the sell that are god to grow cactus in, and buy that along with perlite. I would mix perlite with the soil mix at about a 50/50 ratio, and that should be much better for you. Also, make sure the pot your using has good drainage in it, and also make sure it doesn't have one of those saucers on it to collect the water that does come out. Now some will have removable saucers, and that is fine, just take it off.

I hope this has helped you and good luck!


    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:53AM
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Some are rotted and some not....Your tree is struggling because half the roots are not working or maybe more..

Andrew gave gave you good advice and along with mine, you should be golden if it is not too late:-)

Hello Andrew:-)


    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 3:18PM
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