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rainbowgardener
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

imafan did warn you that 99% of the blossoms drop without setting fruit. If it produces three lemons, that will be quite a successful accomplishment for its first year producing.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Most of the flowers on citrus trees do drop off and some fruit will also be culled by the plant normally. I usually only get clusters of 3-5 fruit on a branch. If the tree is stressed, which is what seems to be the case with my key lime, it will drop fruit even after it has started to mature.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Yep. We'll see if it's more inclined to produce fruits during the spring-early summer blooming cycle. :roll:

It wasn't all in vain though, I saved and dried two 1/3 C jelly jars of dried blossoms. I made a tea flavor booster blend of the dried Meyer lemon petals and blossoms, lavender buds, pineapple sage blossoms and leaves, lemon grass, and ginger leaves -- to be ADDED to regular loose leaf tea as desired -- and gave some to my SIL. 8)
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

What a wonderful tea blend! I would use it by itself without adding actual tea! :)
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

At least you got 3 fruit! Ours set several fruit and all of them dropped. I'm so sad :cry:

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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Most of my citrus are blooming now. Maybe yours will cycle again soon. The temperature around here is in the low 50's to high 60's at night and this is the rainy season.
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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

My trees are blooming too. We have the same night time lows as you do iamfan.

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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

My climate is close to the description of Sunset zone 23 except a wee bit warmer. We can grow about the same type of plants. Most of the low chill fruits apples, peaches, pears will only grow in the highest elevations and only if low chill cultivars are selected. The ocean tempers the climate so there is usually only a twenty degree difference in day night temperatures. In the summer even less if Kona weather prevails.
There is a difference in soil and daylight so your plants can get a lot bigger since you have a couple of hours more daylight.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Wah :cry: -- I'm down to 1 fruit and the tree lost most of its leaves (maybe to overwatering or lack of humidity -- so finicky during deep winter when all of a sudden they stop drinking but humidity plummets to 30's despite all my efforts)

...good news is it's starting to show new leaf buds.

I'm SO tempted to prune off some of the now gangly looking branches, but. I want to use any cut off as scion wood for grafting. Is this a good time before the buds grow out? Will ANY citrus work as stock? I'm going to sow some trifoliate orange seeds (I have whole fruits in the fridge) to grow cold hardy rootstock, but I don't have any ready yet, but I do have various other citrus.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Mine is doing the same thing. It is blooming now and lost quite a few leaves due to overwatering. Though there is not much I can do about that.

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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Good news is mine is trying to bloom again -- one blossom open and another one getting that pink/mahogany tinge to the flower bud.

Bad news is the ants are all over it and I think maybe they are the ones bringing scale. Ladybugs are occasionally patrolling but nor sure how effective they are with scales.

How soon can I put Meyer lemon outside?

...I'm re-reading this thread from the beginning. So much great info has been posted already! :D
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

...and here we are! Meyer Lemon is blooming again -- the fragrance was delicious just standing there to take this picture :()
image.jpg
...hoping for fruits This time around... :bouncey:


I was also VERY excited to discover THIS single flower bud on one branch of one of my seed-grown citrus -- I believe it's from a store-bought lemon 8)
image.jpg
This is the very first for any of my numerous seed-grown citruses to bear a flower bud. Hoping this is a sign that more will be ready to bloom soon :-()
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

beautiful! Yes, citrus flower fragrance is wonderful. I grew up next to orange trees.... :D
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Good luck Apple.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Thanks rainbowgardener and imafan!
I'm going to figure this out eventually. :flower:

This year, I'm trying something new: in one of my click, skim, and move on random researches, I came across a (no longer remembered :( ) blog or article in which the author claimed that Meyer lemon is self-pollinating and need only be buzzed with an electric toothbrush.

Well, I know this method works very well with tomatoes and peppers because the anthers are stimulated into releasing pollen when the flower pedicel is buzzed, and the same blossom pollen can fertilize the same flower stamen -- I decided to give it a try.
image.jpg
I'm not seeing the satisfying and reassuring puff of pollen like I do with the tomato and pepper blossoms, but I know from previous experience that the Meyer lemon blossoms do make prodigious amounts of pollen, and maybe the buzzing/vibrating do cause them to transfer to the stamen on the same blossom, and maybe they can set fruits this way and don't have to have the pollen transferred to a different blossom.

We shall see. The photo on the right wass the first blossom to open -- if the whole thing doesn't fall off, then there' same chance it has set fruit. Though in the past, my little tree aborted the baby fruits, so we have to wait and see....
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

OK guys, I don't post very often, but I am going to put myself out there because I am a citrus grower and I have a small grove with around 30 trees. I have had citrus in my yard for over 20 years and I hope I can help you out as best I can.

I don't grow indoors because I live in Florida, however I think it should be noted that I am in zone 8 and it gets cold here in the winter, sometimes it gets below 32, but it doesn't last. The ground doesn't freeze. If it got below 32 and stayed that way and didn't wram up in the day and we got a second night below freezing, not only will the plant lose the fruit it had, but it's not going to set fruit anymore (very rarely that it will), if it hard freezes, there is a chance the plants will die. A secret of citrus growers in my area is that we HOPE for a night or two of under 32 degrees where we get "kissed" by the frost after the fruit has set. If you can get those ideal conditions the fruit will be considerably sweeter.

Anyway whatever way you are tempering your plants to take them back out, do it the same as you did last season. While I said that they can take the cold, they are not going to like it if they haven't experienced it before, so just keep going with the same temperature limits that you had last season.

Next... the plants in these pictures are small.....really small.... I would never let a plant that size set fruit myself. I do have the luxury of growing right in the ground, but.. if you have cuttings and they start setting fruit quickly, I strongly recommend pulling the fruit off as soon as it sets and not letting that plant produce fruit for the first 2-3 years (or even the first 5 years) and keep them in the vegetative state of growth so they can get strong and bigger than that to support the fruit. It is possible to get branches of fruit that hang down and will pop back up after harvest but it's not good and doesn't produce that full, meaty, high-quality fruit that you are looking for. By keeping the fruit off it for the first few years, you will have STRONG branches that are capable of bearing GREAT fruit. When the plants is limp holding all that fruit, it is a sign that your plant is not capable of supporting the fruit and could suffer great losses (not just fruit, but death of the plant) if you have a condition with strong winds, or even worse, a pest infestation while you have all that fruit on the tree, you will suffer a great loss.

My next bit of advice scares me when I read it because you are growing in pots, I am not sure if this can be done this way because I grow in the ground. I am going to make a call to a close friend tomorrow to ask him about it, because I am not 100% sure about this next piece of advice. You may need to spread your fertilization out more than 4 times, like 6 r 8 just to be careful about not burning the plant.

Next, when you get to the point that your trees are strong enough to bear fruit, the real secret, above all else is fertilization. A mature Myers can be fertilized with up a total of 3lbs of nitrogen per year spread out over four applications. (The lemons trees in this thread are not mature trees by any stretch of the imagination). The nitrogen is the true secret in setting fruit in citrus. Other varieties of citrus can go all the way up to 5lbs of nitrogen over the course of a year, but Myers lemon requires less. Around 3lbs is the limit, I usually use 2 - 2.5 lbs. This, and pollination are your secret. Since you are indoors you will have to hand pollinate, I have never hand pollinated these, so you have to take the advice of others on that. Outdoors, I rely on wind, and bees. I have a hive on my property, but most experienced citrus growers that have several trees don't have hives and they still do just fine (outdoor).

If you follow my advice, and keep the plant from freezing and properly fertilized, you will be absolutely amazed when you see this plant blooming year round. That's when you know you have it "just right" and you can have lemons all year from this.

Lastly, you shouldn't prune these trees. They are self pruning, what happens in the wild (and on my grove) is that a branch will die when it's ready, it will dry out, and the wind will knock it down (or I'll come remove it by hand at that point). I never prune mine unless the branches are touching the floor (which doesn't always happen with Myers). Some people will top the trees to keep them at a reasonable size so they don't have to pull out a ladder to pick the fruit from the top, but I just use a pole with a little clipper and basket to catch the fruit as it's cut. Don't let them fall, because it will bruise the fruit. If you pick at peak ripeness the fruit will most likely break when it hits the ground depending on it's weight. In my experience the Myers doesn't really canopy like, say a grapefruit would. It is usually pretty erratic in it's growth behaviors. The only time you should ever prune this tree is if the root stock starts shooting off branches, you can cut those if desired so you don't have a "fruit salad" tree. But it's not really necessary, and heck who doesn't like extra fruit!? :lol:

some other notes:
you want really great draining soil, they don't like wet feet at all... make sure your mix drains really well....
another tip is to get your soil analyzed once a year (I don't always do this but I never go longer than 2 years without a proper analysis), once you have an idea of what kind of nutrients exist in your soil, you can then decide how much fertilizer you want to add. If you over fertilize your trees, you can burn them pretty quickly. I don't always put 3lbs every year, sometimes I put less if I analyzed and see that I have a lot of existing nitrogen in my soil from previous applications. This is pretty important especially when you are dealing with small plants like the ones pictured, and you are planting in pots.

I usually use a "citrus blend" which has all the trace elements and micro-nutrients required by Citrus. A general purpose fertilizer simply will not do. I then supplement this fertilizer with additional nitrogen. I typically will use Ammonia Nitrate that I side-band around the tree along the drip line, but you can use an organic source of nitrogen as well. This is my secret to setting TONS of fruit each season. I don't know how to go about this in a different country, but in the United States a local extension office will test your soil for free, and often will help you calculate exactly what to use to get your desired results.

disclaimer: I am not an expert on this, but I have done a lot of research at the University of Florida who is one of the leaders in Citrus Research in the world. I have talked with several professors and other veteran growers on the topic and I have had great success growing citrus. I really hope that I have helped shed some light on this subject and I can give back to the forum that has given me so much!
Robert Leavitt
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Voices30
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

I'm not seeing the satisfying and reassuring puff of pollen like I do with the tomato and pepper blossoms, but I know from previous experience that the Meyer lemon blossoms do make prodigious amounts of pollen, and maybe the buzzing/vibrating do cause them to transfer to the stamen on the same blossom, and maybe they can set fruits this way and don't have to have the pollen transferred to a different blossom.
This is correct. The flower can pollinate itself, it's a "perfect" flower, wind can do it, but it helps if a bee or other insect gets in there and stirs things up a bit.
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applestar
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Wow, voices30, thank you so much for your extensive and informative posts. :clap:

I'm so grateful that you took the trouble to share your expertise on this subject because, as you can see, I'm pretty much on the ground level. :roll: I always feel that it helps so much to learn how plants grow in the ground and what their "natural" growth stages are, and between you and imafan, you' ve given me a lot to think about and work out.

I'm definitely motivated to beef up the fertilizing regimen on the citruses. They are actually very forgiving as far as staying alive and producing a decent green growth -- I think I mostly have that part down, though Meyers is the only one that regularly drops it's leaves vs. the other seed started citruses I have. ...but I really want to achieve the next level which for me will be seeing them fruit.

I think I probably do mange to overwater the Meyers just because it flowers and I fuss more, while the other ones are allowed/neglected to dry out a lot more. But I will heed your advice and won't expect my young tree to bear the fruits,though it looks like it will be enthusiastically blooming for a while again :D

BTW it doesn't look like I mentioned it earlier, but I did uppot the Meyers Lemon into a larger terracotta container this year. (Same as this 16"x13" -as noted on the tag- pot, though the pictured one contains the W. Murcott Afourer mandarin)
image.jpg
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Applestar's lemon tree has flowered before so it is not first fruit. I do have lemon trees in pots. In fact most of them are in pots. The oldest now I think is approaching 18 years in cinder in a 20 inch pot. It is a kaffir lime, and it does produce fruit, but it is grown for its' leaves. I have other trees that are at least four years old from cuttings and grafts. The Meyer lemon has over a dozen fruit and it has three branches and about 4 ft tall. I have a smaller one in a 4 gallon pot with only two branches and two feet tall that is pretty much surrounded by a lot bigger plants and it has a couple of fruit on it. Mine are also grown year round outside in Hawaii zone 12b. Right now the Meyer are very ripe and I am just trying to keep them on the tree until I can make the lemon Meringue pies for Christmas and New Year. Mine always get pollinated and I don't have to do anything for that, but it is good to know that they are self pollinating.

Temperature and light may play a big role in whether they keep their fruit. The one with two fruit that is buried in between the cardamom also does not have a lot of leaves and could use a lot more light and space. the taller one gets overrun with weeds but pretty much gets a lot of sun and warmth. It is not unusual for 90% of the flowers to drop off, but I still get clusters of Meyers in 2-5 fruit.

Citrus trees like good drainage, hence why they are planted in cinder. I do give them citrus food, and mine are watered almost daily because of the cinder. Applestar is a pro at over wintering plants so I don't think she has a problem figuring out how to water.

The toothbrush certainly won't hurt. I would also try to get the trees to the warmest spot with the brightest light. Because of the late Spring in 2014, the cold weather lasted till June, my Satsuma mandarins set fruit late and there are still very ripe fruit on the trees now. My day temps are still 78 degrees and nights around 66 degrees. Chilly for me but still quite warm for you.

We have Meyer lemons less than three feet tall started from cuttings in 1 gallon pots that do fruit. They have only 5-6 fruit on them at that size but they do fine so a tree does not have to be big to fruit, but it should be happy in its pot.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Glad I could help!
Robert Leavitt
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applestar
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

My poor Meyers lemon tree is again not setting fruits, as predicted... but the good news is I collected the clean blossoms as they became ready to fall, and now I have a nice pile of fragrant dried lemon blossoms. 8)

I just put a couple in my tea infuser along with an eclectic mix of tea herbs -- fresh dried tea and coffee leaves, pineapple sage, apple mint, thai basil, dried tea blossoms.... Oh wow what a lovely brew. Image
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

applestar wrote:My poor Meyers lemon tree is again not setting fruits, as predicted... but the good news is I collected the clean blossoms as they became ready to fall, and now I have a nice pile of fragrant dried lemon blossoms. 8)

I just put a couple in my tea infuser along with an eclectic mix of tea herbs -- fresh dried tea and coffee leaves, pineapple sage, apple mint, thai basil, dried tea blossoms.... Oh wow what a lovely brew. Image
Apple,
How old are those trees?
Robert Leavitt
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applestar
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

I've probably had the grafted Meyer Lemon since 2011. I have other various citruses that I just stick seeds in any container of soil available after eating them. This has been going on for YEARS.

In the beginning, I didn't even label them because I had no idea if they would grow. Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when I went on an on- line search and found a couple of websites with detailed description of leaves and growing habits that -maybe- helped to narrow down or ID some of them.

So I couldn't even tell you how old they are except for the most recently started ones. :roll:

I think my problem with the Meyer Lemon is that I was particularly interested in Bonsai styling and citrus pruning at the time, and allowed it to form three major "trunks" -- as small as it is.... It's probabky distributing its resources and energy rather than concentrating up a single trunk, which is stressing and delaying its development. Being infested with scale every winter has been hard on it, too.

Another thing is no matter what I do, it drops all its leaves in the winter -- it's bare again. I can't imagine it supporting blossoms that set without any leaves.... Do you suppose I'm keeping it too cold? Everybody else is fine and even seem to prefer colder temps.
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Re: Meyer Lemon - I need clear step by step advice to fruit!

Yeah my guess would be that it is too cold, but I can't imagine how cold it must be, because my trees never lose their leaves and it does get into the 20's here. But that being said, it's not consistent cold. Do you bring them inside in the winter? what would the average temperature be that they are exposed to? I think that the cold more than the "3 trunks" would play a role in stunting their growth.
Robert Leavitt
Putnam County, Florida (Zone 8b)

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