Lemon tree cuttings (Newbie)

pdtiger12344November 28, 2012

So I've had some success rooting cuttings off of my Meyer's Lemon tree. I had previously used the cup with shallow water technique, and this worked, giving me two nice small trees. But this time i tried something different and used a rooting powder and potting soil technique. I placed all the cuttings in a clear container and opened it and sprayed almost daily with a water bottle to keep everything moist. I have the container in a east facing window so they get some morning sun through blinds.

After 3 weeks i checked them and saw 1/2 inch roots developing. Now 4-5 weeks later they all have cluster of flowers growing, but NO leaves?! I have noticed that the cuttings that dropped most/all leaves have the largest/most developed flowers. None have opened yet, and most are about pea sized.

Does anybody have an idea about what could be making them not wanna grow leaves to feed themselves, and instead growing flowers? Also should I remove these flowers to possible encourage some foliage growth? Thanks in advance, I LOVE this site!

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, I would make sure you get as much sun to these cuttings as possible. You're probably better off with bud grafting to an established rootstock seedling. Blossoms with leaf drop can signify that your plant is struggling, and this is its last ditch effort to save itself, by sending out fruit. Removing the blossoms will just encourage more blossoms. Wait until it sets fruit then pull the fruit off, if it doesn't drop on its own. Photos would help please. Are your fertilizing, what is the soil medium, how frequently are you watering, how much sun, temps? More info and photos would be helpful.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:14PM
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This lemon tree is really sentimental to me. My father who has sinced passed away gave it to my mother on Mother's Day. Thats what got me interested in trying to clone some cuttings directly off this plant because I have 3 siblings that really want a cutting off if possible. But sorry for the lack of info, last time I felt I posted wayyy to much info and got few responses. But i'll take and post some pictures either later tonight or early tomorrow morning. Thanks for your help Hoosierquilt.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:11PM
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If you are planting these trees in containers, you are ahead of the game; they are true clones and thus older than "new" trees.. so they will produce quicker.

If you are planting them in the ground, I would advise you to graft some buds onto a known/trusted rootstock, such as sour orange or macrophylla. The Meyer root is generally weak, doesn't grow very fast, and is susceptible to a lot of afflictions.

Note: A grafted tree is still the "same" tree; so it would carry the same sentimental value.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 7:24PM
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cutting thats dropped leaves

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:30AM
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Cutting with leaves still, has slightly smaller and less numerous flowers

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:32AM
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This is all of them in there makeshift greenhouse container i've made for them. I cut a towel that I keep damp and put it around the edges to keep everything moist when the lide is on. I was spraying inside daily, but have cut back with the root development I saw. I used the only potting soil I had, which was Miracle Grow Potting mix. Thought this wouldn't be a problem, and would give the little plants all the nutrients they might need. So being miracle grow soil, no I haven't fertilized them. They where on the back deck getting some inderect sun on a table, but with some colder nights I brought them inside. About a week later is when i saw roots developing, and about 3 wks ago i noticed the flower growth.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:41AM
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Hey thanks for your help as well John. Yes thats what got me excited when i learned that i could grow some cutting and get fruit ALOT sooner than if I just grew a seed. And I have watched many videos and read up on a few books about grafting. Even tried it on a poor little grapefruit tree i've got in a pot. 2 of the grafts never took, and the one that did take and remained green never grew. This picture is of one of my rooted cuttings from last year. I've tried to get the single central leader look that I see in most of my books, or in pictures online. I'm still all new to this, but i really do enjoy learning everything that I can.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:52AM
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The problem with the single leader look is you expose the trunk to sunburn, which will kill the tree. At the least I would paint the trunk until the canopy gets large enough to shade it. Use the cheapest white latex paint and dilute it one to one with water.

Congratulations on your successes.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Hey thats another good idea! Thanks John, I had heard about painting exposed branches to protect them from sunburn. But wasn't sure on which kinda paint to use. I'll keep an eye out for early signs of it, but on my back deck it really got to little sunlight because of a big overhanging oak tree.

Do you have any idea on what might be up with cuttings, from the first couple of pics. I'm worried that if i just let them all flower, what little bit of energy there small nub roots are providing will be sapped away, and none if not any will make it.

Time will only tell I guess, but if anybody has any experience with this, i'm open to ANY suggestion or input. Thanks again for all the help, I'm 21 Y/O and none of my friends are into plants. And after losing my father I don't have anybody else to go to and ask questions, so your input/knowledge is GOLDEN to me!!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Here's a photo of a blooming sprout at 23 days from grafting; look at the top center.

That is just an example of how prolific the Meyers are.

My experience has been that if you cut off the flowers, the plant will just try to make more flowers; so wait until the tiny fruits of BB size are set... if they do set; at that time you can cut the fruits to allow the tree to grow.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:33PM
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John, are all your trees grafted?

How do you do that? Amazing!


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Not only are all my trees grafted/t-bud; but all my trees are genetically identical. My budwood grove of 84 trees was created by yours truly using buds from a single tree... the best of the first 500 trees I brought from California when I was really just learning.
How do I do it? I don't. I know how to do it; but when I do it, I am lucky to get 30% success. My guru at my nursery last year did 4,100 trees and did not lose a single one. That, my friend, is magic.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:40PM
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