Question: What can you tell me about growing Meyer lemons? I know it is too cold where I live for a lemon tree to survive the winter outside. Can I grow it indoors, in a pot?
Answer: Lemon trees are happy in containers, provided they have enough root room and good drainage. We recommend ‘Improved Meyer’ (USDA Zones 9–11) as one of the best varieties to grow in a pot, because it is naturally dwarfed. It will mature to 3 to 5 feet. Grow it in an all-purpose potting mix, in a 10- or 15-gallon container, in full sun.
You can move the pot outdoors once nighttime temperatures are reliably above 55˚F. Move it out into full sun gradually, setting it in a shaded location for a few days, then partially shaded, then full sun. This way the foliage will not be scorched. Although the tree was placed in full sun indoors, the intensity is lessened by window glass.
Water when the soil begins to dry out, giving it a deep, thorough drink. You may need to water every day when the tree is outside for the summer. In winter, increase humidity by misting around the tree or setting the pot on a tray of moist pebbles.
Your lemon tree will produce fragrant white flowers. Pollinate the tree by dusting a small paint brush or a Q-tip from flower to flower.
Find resources for a green lifestyle
Learn how to grow fruits and vegetables with our Fruits & Veggies CD
Extend your growing season with The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman