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by Doug
(Toronto, ON Canada)


But it looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It has huge thorns, the leaf turn yellow and fall, and split in the middle…..I do not know what to do….tried letting dry out….was not happy, watered more often, was not happy, just treated it again with a greenhouse/indoor garden spray.

It sits in a North West window in a condo, but all the other plants are doing great including the pineapples and bananas…

I am not certain what to do, I keep getting answers.

Hi Doug, I think what you’re experiencing is fairly typical – these are not the most beautiful plants, especially growing indoors. I guess the only thing to do is keep coddling it, because that’s about as good as it will ever get. At least it’s giving you some fruit! I’ve had citrus trees that look that bad and never bear a single lemon.

Some things you can try; as these plants are from warmer climates, they need more than just a north window; they need as much sun as you can possibly give them, and if they can’t have it, they’ll pout.

Consider getting a grow light to supplement what natural light it gets from the window; this might entail a bit more than what I normally recommend (fluorescent tubes), both because of the size of the tree, and because of the genus.

Alternatively, you can keep it pruned back (and remove the thorns!) and even though it’s kept smaller, it will still produce lemons.

If this is actually an old fashioned Meyer, it’s possible that it was propagated (grafted) onto the old type of stock, which unfortunately was infected with a virus, which of course, was also propagated with each new plant.

If it’s got a virus, sorry, there is not much hope for it. Toss it, and start fresh with something that is a bit smaller for one thing, and also doesn’t require the maintenance of this one.

I checked in a book that has information about citrus, and there is a variety called ‘Improved Meyer’ which is available grafted onto a dwarf rootstock so it will stay smaller.

They also suggest that the container should be at least 18″ across; in the picture, your pot is much less than that, so that might be part of the issue. They need to be watered fairly often, although they also need good aeration in the soil.

Dave’s Garden Website has more about Meyer Lemons here, with lots of varying information in the comments below.

Good luck with your Meyer!