evtubbergh
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Other plants with lemon in container?

Hi all,

I know a lemon tree has shallow roots and mine is obviously sensitive to things like not enough water, not enough food etc. I once planted pineapple mint in the container with my lemon tree. It got root bound by going round and round in the top of the container. I was sure it was the reason for our tree's poor health and lack of fruit. Since I took it out the tree has actually fruited, although not nearly as much as I want (only one this season). This could be because it is a rough-skin lemon, though, and all the pictures I see are of eureka and meyer lemons.

The container is round, about 55cm in diameter and 45cm height, so about 427 litres or 112 gallons.

It has never really been truly happy but it has improved. I put a parsley in there last year but I just took it out. Should I consider anything else, perhaps something complementary or something that won't hurt it? Or should I simply leave it bare? Which I don't like actually.

imafan26
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Re: Other plants with lemon in container?

How big is the container. I keep my citrus trees in 20 inch pots. Lemons are more agressive, they like very big pots and they will try to escape. The mix must be well drained. I use 100% cinders and my oldest citrus (Kaffir lime) is 18 years old. You could use potting soil or potting soil and cinders in the pot. Potting soil alone will compact and you will have to keep repotting the tree or the water will run around the rootball and the tree will starve. Since I do not like to repot 5 foot trees in 200 lb containers, I plant in cinders, the pot needs to be watered everyday and cinders have no nutrients so they need regular fertilizer, but cinders provide a lot of air space and that is the most important thing for the long term health of the tree.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

evtubbergh
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Re: Other plants with lemon in container?

The container is round, about 55cm in diameter and 45cm height, so about 427 litres or 112 gallons.
That diameter is about 22 inches. A couple of problems; there is no way we can plant it in cinders or pumice as we would call it. You can't really buy it here for one (perhaps in small quantities at high prices) and even if we could there is no way I can water the tree every day and feed it every week and all that jazz. I need a slightly lower maintenance garden than that.

We could try to repot it in something better but the truth is that the pot is very round and it will be difficult to get out. I thought I should take a photo to illustrate but excuse the quality, it's dark now.

Image

The soil is still fairly loose and the water absorbs well in the middle. Perhaps I should check deeper down. If we do repot, how much can we disturb the roots and do we do it in early, mid, late winter? Another time? It might be worth a try but not so much if we kill the tree!

evtubbergh
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Re: Other plants with lemon in container?

Can I plant something like violas in there? I am in 2 minds. I hate to leave available space unplanted but I also want to treat my tree properly.

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applestar
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Re: Other plants with lemon in container?

I've been thinking about this. Initially I thought wow that pot looks like the lemon is going to want all of it.

...but I know what you mean about available space and all that.

The thing is, you have to think about ideal care regimen for the primary plant -- in this case the lemon -- then plant things that won't compete and yet will either thrive or tolerate the care used for the container.


So, what are the primary points?
1) citrus likes to dry out between watering and doesn't like wet feet
2) citrus needs full sun
3) citrus needs aggressive feeding with slightly acid pH and micro/minerals with high N low P and moderate K (planting around the base may interfere with feeding granular or solid fertilizer -- you may have to stick with liquid feed)

I'm thinking it needs to be shallow rooted, so viola would fit in that respect, but I think maybe too much sun and N? Maybe a foliage plant is better? I'm thinking maybe something in the allium family or maybe an herb like thyme or basil? If you keep them trimmed (harvest often) it should help to keep them in check to prevent competing with the tree.

You could stay in theme and plant lemon thyme and lemon basil. :D
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evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Other plants with lemon in container?

Oh basil might be a good idea. I wonder why I never thought of that before. Not sure about their feeding though.

And I have allium flowers. The kind that come up in the lawn. But I like them so I saved them. Would they not compete?

That would be in spring though, lol. I was wanting to plant the violas now and then if they can't handle the lemon's spring feeding then I'll be sad but I can switch to basil. Violas do really well here in winter ;)

I tried thyme there but it died, perhaps I should try again though. It will like sunny, dry(ish) conditions right?

Ooo, good ideas, thanks :)

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