How to Care for Meyer Lemon Tree in a Pot: Ultimate Guide for Thriving Citrus

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Meyer lemon trees are an exceptional addition to any home garden, especially for those with limited space. These lemon/mandarin orange hybrids can be grown in pots, making them a perfect choice for apartment dwellers or patio garden enthusiasts. With their fragrant white blossoms and shiny dark green foliage, Meyer lemon trees not only provide delicious citrus fruits but also add aesthetic appeal to your living space.

To ensure the health and productivity of your potted Meyer lemon tree, it’s essential to understand its specific care requirements. Proper pot and soil selection, regular watering and humidity management, as well as the right fertilization routine, can all contribute to the ultimate success of your container-grown lemon tree. Pruning, shaping, and pest control will further guarantee a thriving and fruitful plant for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right pot and soil to ensure a healthy environment for your Meyer lemon tree
  • Regularly water, maintain humidity, and fertilize for optimal growth and fruit production
  • Prune, shape, and manage pests for a thriving and resilient container-grown tree.

Choosing the Right Pot and Soil

Pot Size and Material

When it comes to growing a Meyer lemon tree in a pot, selecting the appropriate pot size and material is crucial for the tree’s overall health and growth. Starting your Meyer lemon tree in a pot that is approximately 12-15 inches in diameter is a good idea. As the tree grows, you’ll need to upgrade the pot to a slightly bigger size, usually every couple of years1.

It’s essential to choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom since Meyer lemon trees don’t like sitting in wet soil2. Additionally, selecting a pot made from materials like terra cotta, ceramic, or high-quality plastic can help maintain proper soil moisture levels and prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged.

Soil Requirements

Meyer lemon trees require well-draining soil that is slightly acidic with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.53. To achieve this, you can use a high-quality potting mix designed specifically for citrus trees or make your own mix by combining equal parts of peat moss, sand, and perlite or vermiculite4.

Remember to add some slow-release fertilizer to the soil for optimal plant nutrition and growth. You can use a citrus-specific fertilizer or an all-purpose formula, but make sure to follow the label instructions to avoid over-fertilization. Proper soil and fertilizer will ensure your Meyer lemon tree in a pot has the nutrients and conditions it needs to thrive and produce delicious lemons.

Watering and Humidity

Watering Frequency

Meyer lemon trees require consistent watering to keep the soil slightly moist but not wet. You should avoid over-watering, as it may lead to root rot. To ensure proper watering, you can use a soil moisture meter to determine when your plant needs water. It’s essential to water your tree more frequently during the active growing season (early spring through late summer).

When watering, make sure that the excess water drains out of your container. It’s crucial to avoid leaving your container in a saucer of standing water.

Humidity Considerations

Meyer lemon trees grow best in a humid environment. If you’re growing your tree indoors, the dry indoor air can be a challenge. To maintain adequate humidity levels around your tree, you can:

  • Place your container on a tray of pebbles with water. As the water evaporates, it will create a humid microclimate around the plant.
  • Mist the leaves of your Meyer lemon tree with water regularly, especially if your home’s indoor air is dry.
  • Use a humidifier to increase the humidity in the room where your lemon tree is located.

Remember to keep your Meyer lemon tree in a spot where it receives plenty of sunlight, as it requires at least 8-12 hours of bright sunlight each day for optimal growth. By providing the right water and humidity conditions, your potted Meyer lemon tree will thrive and produce delicious fruit.

Fertilizing and Feeding

Fertilizer Type and Ratio

Choosing the right fertilizer for your Meyer lemon tree is important for its growth and fruit production. Opt for a slow-release dry fertilizer that blends into the soil and provides nutrients over time. Spread the dry fertilizer evenly over the topsoil, leaving a few inches from the trunk.

A balanced citrus fertilizer with a ratio of 14-14-14 or 10-10-10 is ideal. This means equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, promoting healthy leaf, root, and fruit development.

Key points:

  • Use slow-release dry fertilizer
  • Aim for a balanced citrus fertilizer (14-14-14 or 10-10-10 ratio)

Feeding Frequency

Consistent feeding is essential for the growth and fruit production of your potted Meyer lemon tree. During the active growing and fruiting season, which typically lasts from early spring through late summer, the tree should be fed regularly.

An effective feeding schedule is to apply the fertilizer every six to eight weeks for established trees during the growing season. For young trees, it’s best to apply a half-strength dose monthly to encourage a strong root system and robust growth.

Ensure you follow the instructions on the fertilizer package, as the amount and frequency may vary based on the product.

Feeding schedule:

  • Established trees: every six to eight weeks during growing season
  • Young trees: half-strength dose monthly.

By using the appropriate type and ratio of fertilizer and maintaining a consistent feeding schedule, your Meyer lemon tree will thrive and produce an abundance of lemons.

Pruning and Shaping

When to Prune

For keeping your Meyer lemon tree healthy and productive, it’s essential to know the best time to prune. Usually, the pruning should be done in late winter or early spring before the tree starts producing new growth. This timing allows for better healing of the cuts and promotes vigorous growth in the upcoming growing season.

Proper Pruning Techniques

Pruning a Meyer lemon tree in a pot involves a few crucial steps. Following these techniques will help maintain the tree’s health and fruit production.

  1. Clean and sharp tools: Start with clean, sharp tools to make precise and neat cuts. A sharp hand-saw or pole-saw is recommended for cutting higher branches.
  2. Remove rootstock suckers: First, remove any shoots or small limbs sprouting from the base of the tree as they are suckers from the rootstock and won’t produce desired fruit variety. They can interfere with the tree’s health and development.
  3. Thin out overcrowded branches: To let sunlight and air circulation through the tree, cut off any crossing branches or those growing inward. This encourages a healthy canopy and prevents diseases.
  4. Maintain shape and size: To keep your potted Meyer lemon tree compact, trim overly long branches and remove any damaged or weak limbs. Aim for a balanced shape and even distribution of branches.

By following these tips on pruning and shaping, you’ll provide the best care for your Meyer lemon tree in a pot, ensuring a healthy and productive tree.

Pest and Disease Management

Common Pests

Meyer lemon trees can be susceptible to a variety of pests, but there are a few common invaders you should keep an eye out for:

  • Aphids: Small insects that attach themselves to leaves, twigs, and other soft tissues where they suck sap from the plant’s phloem. You can identify an aphid infestation by manually inspecting your plant for the insects using a magnifying glass ¹.
  • Asian Citrus Psyllid: These small pests cause damage to new growth as they feed, due to their toxic saliva. Frequent oil sprays may help control this pest ².

Disease Prevention

One of the keys to keeping your Meyer lemon tree healthy is disease prevention. Follow these tips to help maintain a disease-free environment:

  1. Proper watering: Overwatering can cause issues like nutrient deficiencies and diseases. Ensure that your lemon tree is in well-drained, slightly-acidic soil and monitor your watering habits ³.
  2. Good air circulation: Avoid crowding your Meyer lemon tree by providing enough space to promote proper air circulation. This can help prevent fungal diseases from taking hold.
  3. Regular pruning: Prune your Meyer lemon tree regularly to remove dead and diseased branches, potentially avoiding further spread of diseases.


Treating diseases in your Meyer lemon tree may vary depending on the specific issue at hand. The first step in successful treatment is correctly identifying the problem. Once diagnosed, consider the following general guidelines:

  • Oil sprays: For pests, such as the Asian citrus psyllid, spraying the tree frequently with oil sprays can be an effective and environmentally friendly treatment .
  • Fungicides: If you detect a fungal disease, apply an appropriate fungicide to your Meyer lemon tree following the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to treat the affected areas and dispose of any fallen leaves or debris to prevent spreading.

By following these pest and disease management tips and regularly monitoring your Meyer lemon tree, you can help ensure a healthy and productive plant.

Temperature and Sunlight Needs

Ideal Temperature Range

Meyer lemon trees are slightly cold tolerant but not cold-hardy. These trees need a period of cooler temperatures around 60°F (15°C) to encourage flowering. They should be protected from freezing temperatures, as they can be damaged by frost. Generally, Meyer lemon trees thrive in temperatures ranging between 50-80°F (10-27°C) during the day and between 40-55°F (4-13°C) at night 1.

Sunlight Requirements

Sunlight plays a crucial role in the growth and fruiting of Meyer lemon trees. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight daily2. The more light the tree receives, the more likely it is to bloom and set fruit. In the hottest summer areas, providing morning sun and afternoon shade is best to ensure optimal growth.

Make sure to give your potted Meyer lemon tree enough sunlight by placing it near a sunny window, or move it outdoors during warmer months. Remember to gradually transition the tree between indoor and outdoor conditions to avoid shock.

Repotting and Root Care

When to Repot

Repotting your Meyer lemon tree is essential to ensure healthy root growth. It’s best to repot every 2-3 years or when you notice that your tree’s growth has slowed down because it has become root-bound. Make sure to repot during the late winter or early spring when the tree is not actively growing1.

Root Trimming and Maintenance

Proper root care is vital for the overall health of your Meyer lemon tree. When you repot the tree, carefully take it out of its current container and inspect the root ball. If you notice any dead or damaged roots, trim them before placing the tree in the new pot. Gently untangle and spread the roots to encourage them to grow outward2.

To repot your Meyer lemon tree, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a new pot that is 2-4 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. Make sure it has drainage holes.
  2. Prepare a well-draining, slightly acidic potting mix with a pH between 5.5 and 6.55.
  3. Place a layer of the potting mix at the bottom of the new pot.
  4. Set the tree atop the soil, making sure the root ball sits a couple of inches beneath the rim of the container6.
  5. Fill in around the roots with more potting mix, maintaining the same depth the tree was in the old pot.
  6. Water the tree thoroughly to settle the soil and remove any air pockets.

Remember, Meyer lemon trees thrive in containers, but it’s essential to provide them with proper potting conditions, root care, and maintenance. By following these simple steps, you’ll have a healthy and productive tree that will flourish for years to come.

Harvesting and Storing Fruit

When to Harvest

Meyer lemon trees can produce fruit throughout the year, but the main harvest season is generally between November and April. To determine if the fruit is ripe and ready for picking, look for:

  • A deep yellow color on the rind
  • Slight softness when gently squeezed
  • A pleasant, citrusy fragrance

It’s important not to rush the harvest, as Meyer lemons do not ripen further once they are picked. Patience ensures you enjoy the best flavor possible.

Storing Methods

After picking your Meyer lemons, you have several options for storing them and preserving their freshness:

  1. Room Temperature – Place the fruit in a cool, dark area with good air circulation. For a short storage period of up to one week, this method works well.
  2. Refrigerator – Store lemons in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Using a plastic bag with small ventilation holes can help preserve moisture while allowing air circulation. Meyer lemons can last up to a month when stored this way.
  3. Freezing – If you want to store lemons for an extended period, freezing is an excellent option. Before freezing, juice the lemons or slice them, then place them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Frozen Meyer lemons can last up to 6 months.

Remember to always check your stored Meyer lemons for signs of spoilage, such as mold or a strong off-putting smell, regardless of the storage method used. Discard any fruit that looks or smells rotten to maintain the best quality and taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size pot is best for a Meyer lemon tree?

A Meyer lemon tree requires a pot that is at least 12-15 inches deep and 18-24 inches wide to accommodate its root system. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent root rot. When your tree grows larger, you may need to upgrade the pot size accordingly.

How often should I water a Meyer lemon tree in a pot?

Keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy. Watering frequency will depend on factors like climate, pot size, and humidity. Check the soil regularly; if the top inch is dry, it’s time to water. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Read more about watering here.

Which fertilizer is ideal for potted Meyer lemon trees?

Use a slow-release citrus fertilizer with a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). Apply the fertilizer every 2-3 months during the growing season, following the package instructions. Keep in mind that over-fertilizing can harm your tree, so it’s better to under-fertilize than over-fertilize.

How can I protect my potted Meyer lemon tree during winter?

Bring your Meyer lemon tree indoors when temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C). Place it near a sunny window or use supplemental grow lights to provide at least 8-10 hours of light per day. Ensure proper humidity levels to avoid leaf drop. You can also winterize your tree by reducing water and fertilizer during colder months.

What temperature range is suitable for a potted Meyer lemon tree?

Meyer lemon trees thrive in temperatures between 50-80°F (10-27°C). Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can lead to leaf drop and possible frost damage. During extremely hot weather, provide your tree with adequate shade to prevent sunburn.

How do I manage common problems in potted Meyer lemon trees?

Inspect your tree regularly for pests like aphids, scale, or spider mites. Treat them with neem oil or insecticidal soap as needed. Prune any damaged or diseased branches to maintain your tree’s health. Proper care, including adequate watering and fertilizing, will help prevent common problems in potted Meyer lemon trees.


  1. How To Grow A Meyer Lemon Tree Indoors That Actually Produces Lemons 2 3
  2. Meyer Lemon Tree: Planting, Care, and Growing Guide 2 3
  3. Eight Steps to Grow Meyer Lemon Trees in Containers
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