Problems with Meyer Lemon

nfmgirl(10b Cape Coral, FL)March 6, 2009

I bought a Meyer Lemon a few weeks ago. When I bought it, it was full of fruit and bright green with vibrant blooms.

Then I potted it, and it continued fine.

Now after just a few weeks, it is looking peaked and all of the small lemons have turned yellow and fallen off, and the blooms look limp.

Any ideas what is the problem? I've been trying to be very careful about the water. It is watered once or twice per day, and the soil dries out in between. It doesn't seem to be overwatered, but that is sort how it is behaving. I've noticed that the leaves look sort of "dusty", and am wondering whether it may be a sign of mold or something? They aren't black like you see with black sooty mold, but it is a light gray dust, like it is dirty and needs to be wiped down. Could this be a clue as to my problem? Maybe aphids?

Do I have "natural" or organic solutions?

Anyone? Thanks for your suggestions/input.


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Read up on Citrus Greening. Looks like some of your leaves are splotched with yellowing patches. If the yellowing splotches are random across the leaves, instead of symetric along the vascular system of the leaf, you may be a victim as well. I had to dig up my orange and tangerine trees because of it. Although my Key limes and lemons have it...they continue to produce good fruit and dont seem to be as affected by the bacterial disease. Good luck with your Lemon. Nothing like picking your own meyer lemons for cooking and drinks.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 12:19AM
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happy_girl(Z9 st. cloud)

My first thought when I read "It's watered once or twice a day" is...that's way too much water. Citrus does NOT like wet feet. I believe if you take it out of the pot & look at the roots, you will find they are rotting. There may be a problem with a disease but as floridafarmer said, it will not kill the trees right away. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 9:07AM
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Looks like too much water to me too. I have one that looks similar and I'm going to move it to a dryer spot. Mine gets lawn sprinkler water once or twice a week.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 2:52PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Yes I put mine in my flower bed which has rich soil and Im keeping an eye on it as I probably should have put it in a sandier spot. Mine had lemons that fell off once I planted it but it is blooming happily again.I think it just got mad about the moveLOL

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 3:21PM
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nfmgirl(10b Cape Coral, FL)

You know, I thought it looked like too much water, too. Same with my orange tree, which is looking HORRIBLE. This was it two months ago:

And this is it today:

Here is another look at the "dirty" look of my lemon:

But it stays so windy in my area that my potted plants dry out quickly, so we've been being sure to water them everyday. I had read that citrus doesn't like wet roots, so you should water well and let it dry out in between waterings. They've been looking dry when we water, but maybe we need to let them dry out even more?

My orange did beautifully on my condo balcony when I only watered it every few days. Maybe I need to get back to that watering schedule again. Having a house and yard and hose now, maybe I am over-watering because I now have easy access to water and worry about the wind.

I'll try letting them dry out and watering only every few days, and see if there is any improvement.

Thanks for the input!


    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 9:12AM
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florah(z9 Leesburg, Fl)

It looks like it is sitting in a black nursery pot inside the other pot. I guess that's where the water pools at the bottom. Take the black pot out and let it drain.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 9:58PM
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nfmgirl(10b Cape Coral, FL)

No, there isn't any black nursery pot. Both citrus are just in plastic pots (not nursery pots).

I'm letting both of them just have some time without water. There's been days when I've come home from work, and my boyfriend has told me that he watered the plants. I'll tell him that I just watered them that morning, and were they dry. He'll say, "They looked it." I really think that it may be a case of over-watering. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for all of the input!


    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 7:49AM
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Do the pots have good drainage? If there's any water collecting in the bottom of those pots, that's not good.
If they don't, you can always poke a couple more holes in the bottom.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 9:04AM
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I had the same problem. I bought a Meyers lemon and a variegated pink lemon from HD a couple of months ago and kept them side by side in pots. The pink lemon continues to flower and produce fruit while the Meyers lemon flowered -- while it dropped all its leaves. Strangely, the branches look healthy (not dried or shrunken)- just no leaves. I thought something could be eating it but found no evidence and the pink lemon (next to it) was fine. When the cold fronts were coming I moved it to a place where it was shady and while I moved the pink lemon back into the sun, I left the Meyers in the shade. Just looked at it and it is producing small leaaves - even on the tips of branches (so they were'nt dead).

I agree with you, it is so dry that the soil is drying out very quickly. I considered overwatering as the problem, but both trees have filled their pots with roots and should probably be moved up to a larger size pot. So they drain very quickly.

Question: Why would the Meyers lemon and the pink lemon have different cultural requirements?

I was reading on another forum that fingerlimes do much better with less sun than other citrus so maybe it is the same with the Meyers lemon???

So, this is what I know, It started producing leaves when it wasn't watered as much and it is in a shadier location. Other than that, I haven't a clue to what caused the defoliation.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 12:03PM
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Growing citrus in containers is exceptionally challenging and nothing like growing citrus in the ground - as in my grove .
Established trees in the ground can tolerate being without water for 30 days or more .
Meyer Lemon is actually not a true lemon .
They are though very hardy , drought tolerant bushes that produce beautiful , delicious , thin skinned sour fruit .
Start with this link and search for others like it on the same site .
Lots of good citrus advice here .

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus Culture In The Home Landscape

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 5:04PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Meyer Lemon trees are by far, the most PITA citrus I have ever grown.

I currently have nearly 50 varieties of Citrus.

Meyers tend to hate being overwatered, underwatered, fertilized, pruned, fussed over and even being looked at.

They drop leaves at any excuse, wilt, turm yellow, pout whenever pampered.

Plant it in the ground, in full sun, where you will not see it regularly (like in a far corner of your yard). Approach it sideways, pretend it is not there. Do not water it unless everthing else in your yard is dying from a drought. Ignore the "uglies" it exhibits.. Meyers love to torture new owners.

If mistreated, it will grow like a weed and produce so many fruits that the branches will bend to the ground.

Until I gave up on mine, they did poorly. Ask Kat how they fruit when ignored(G).

The spots on the leaves of your tree look like pesticide residue-commonly seen in newly purchased Citrus.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 10:09PM
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floridajane(Bonita Springs z10)

I second the observation about the residue on the leaves. A lot of nursery trees have this on their leaves. It will wash right off.
I have a 4-year-old Meyer Lemon in a pot. For the first three years I gave it all the love it could handle and then some-- I fertilized on time, I gave it the nutritional sprays, I watered it carefully, etc., etc.
This year I shoved it out of the way into the soon-to-be-tossed corner of the yard, and after months of neglect it put out a flushing of leaves and blossoms like you wouldn't believe. PITA indeed, but I'm happy to see that neglect agrees with him. He can stay now... ;)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:05AM
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My tree did the same thing. The leaves turned a pale green not really yellow and curled. I had repotted it into a large maybe 20gal pot with alot of the miracle grow citrus mix. It had green lemons on it when I bought it in the last fall from a local nursery. It was on sale. The fruit turned yellow and then it stayed sort of green during the winter in the house in a south facing window and next to a radiator which was probably not a good thing. I was hopeful when spring arrived and put it out side facing east where it got the hot morning sun. Thats when it fell apart. Here in Massachusetts we had a very cold and rainy May and June. I unpotted it to find that the roots had not even ventured into the new soil. They were confined to the original soil mix which I left on and seemed to be like cat litter and saw dust. I removed that soil and repotted in the original pot and added alot of perlite to a garden soil and cactus mix. At present it has no leaves. I have lost a couple of branches but the rest is still green. It just is doing nothing at the moment. I still have the bad habit of watering too much I think. I might repot again and add more perlite and sand to the mix.
I know I should probably just leave it alone.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 11:24PM
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Since you live in zone 6 , you will probably get more pertinent info over on the GW Citrus Forum . Most of the posters there live in your zone and grow citrus in containers .

We are fortunate to live in zones 8b , 9 & 10 where we can plant a citrus outside any month of the year and watch it grow . Your type of citrus growing is way more challenging ! Good luck and keep us posted about your progress .

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:58PM
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