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Growing Sweet Lemons.

azith28azith28 Registered User regular

So...I've been having this itch to have some kind of fruit bearing plant, but I live in a rented townhouse in an apartment complex, so I don't really have the option to go full garden. I went to a greenhouse this past monday and found something interesting enough to try. A Meyers Lemon shrub/tree. This is a Lemon/Orange hybrid thats known to grow very well but it does not ship or keep well so you dont see them in stores. It's a small plant right now but my choice was a lemon or a Lime and the Limes they had at the greenhouse already had fruit budding and I've read these plants can produce year round So i went with the Lemon to see what I could do with it as an Indoor plant.

It came in a one gallon pot that was placed in a metal bucket. This seems like a good place for it for now so I intended to leave it there until I see if i can keep it alive and healthy. It's not endanger of filling the pot by far yet. I've read up that I should not overwater it, and how to help it self-pollinate whenever I get flowers. I do have a few other questions tho.

I went to a different greenhouse looking for some citrus fertilizer. I wanted the stake kind for ease of use, but when i got the box home I didnt notice the part that said not to put the stakes closer then 3 feet from the tree. This is not a tree, and 3 feet away is outside the pot. Will too much fertilizer kill the plant? Should I just crush a small part of it and mix it into the soil instead of using the entire (or half) the stick in the small pot, or just find some other alternative?

As for Sunlight. My apartment faces North, so no Southward direct sunshine. I do have a large window that I keep the blinds open for my Kitties to watch the birds from, and I get enough light from it to brighten my room. Is there a difference between direct sunlight and non-direct sunlight? Would putting it in front of that window be enough or do I need to take it outside every now and then?

The overwatering aspect...the pot has holes in the bottom and the bucket catches extra water but I'm still a bit worried about overwatering. I got a moisture thermonitor and stuck it in the pot, and its basically giving me a reading inbetween 0 and 4. Should i keep it at a 1-2? The plant does well in drought conditions so I'm thinking maybe even a 0-2 is a better range to keep it at, adding some water only when it goes to zero.


Thanks plant guys and gals.

Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum

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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    edited July 2016
    So citrus have a lot of potential problems due to insect transmission diseases. Depending on where you live you may be combating those on a seasonal basis if there is access by fruit flies and other critters to them.

    Are you in the southeastern US or further south? If so, you need to keep the plant either indoors or in a screened porch to keep it from realistically gaining all the lovely diseases Florida and Caribbean citrus cropping have developed. A single diseased citrus tree can transmit via fruit flies for a radius of 10 miles or more (there was a time in central florida where the state would identify trees and just chop them down to try and protect the crops, but the battle was lost decades ago). If you are north of the freeze line and actually get snow (killing off the flies) you should be fine from these.

    Enc on
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    beecgbeecg Registered User regular
    Citrus trees need about 8-12 hours of direct sunlight. You could get some special grow lights to help out, but it probably won't produce much fruit.

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    I'm in Ohio. The plant will remain indoors, so I'm not worried about fruit flies at this time.

    @beecg Yeah I know the numbers but my question is is there a difference between "Direct Sunlight" (putting it outside under a cloudless sky) or "Putting it by a window that gets reflected sunlight coming into it all day"

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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    EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    If by reflected you mean putting a mirror or something outside, that will probably turn out poorly and just bleach out the leaves getting direct light rather than providing needed ambient light. If it's in like a screened in porch, you'd probably be fine. 100% Indoors will be a challenge. It probably won't die like that but you probably won't bear much in the way of lemons.

    My house (in Florida) had two orange trees, a lime tree, and a grapefruit tree all growing (along with a few japanese plum trees but those arent really edible IMO). The ones standing along with plenty of light and water and room bore more fruit than I was willing to pick or clean up after. The ones in partial shade (beside a larger, but thin, oak tree) just didn't produce much at all.

    It's a small plant, and you aren't needing it to survive, so only a handful of lemons a season is probably plenty. A full on tree would produce somewhere like 200-300 lemons a season, with how many seasons it could provide being dependent on your region and temperature.

    In the end I had to remove all but the Japanese Plums and one Orange tree due to the diseases that are rampant down here as fighting them was costing me hundreds of dollars a season. I miss my limes. :(

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    azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Update:

    So I've got some budding fruit! this type of plant is pretty prolific apparently. It must have gotten fertilized by being in the greenhouse next to other plans cause when i brought it home it had no flowers on it yet but I've got at least 6 growing blobs of green. (I assume they will turn yellow when ripe unless the greenhouse sold me a mismarked lime tree). I've just got it sitting next to my window inside and it seems to be getting all the sun it needs which is good...

    Kinda makes me want to install a planter or shelf or something outside my window so i would have a spot to put it out occasionally without worrying about it falling or getting too much rain.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
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