Lemon Tree – Losing Leaves and Flowers

Q: I have a Meyer Lemon tree in a whiskey barrel planter. Every year when I bring it outdoors it drops its leaves and loses its flowers.

A: I think it’s possible the lemon leaves are getting sunburned. Light levels outdoors are typically more than 10,000 foot-candles. Even in a bright sunroom there are less than 1000 foot-candles available to plants. Acclimating the lemon plant to full sunshine is a two week process. Initially, place it in bright shade, with no direst sun, for one week. Move it then to a spot that gets no more than four hours and no less than two hours of morning sunshine. After a week there you can move it to full sunshine. If you’re not sure it’s ready to be moved from one spot to another, err on the side of caution and leave it there for a day or two longer.