Meyer Lemon Tree – For Georgia
Q: I just purchased a Meyer lemon tree and want to plant it in my yard. Do you see any problem with planting it here? I’ve done some Internet searching for this question, but most answers relate to growing them indoors. What fertilizer should I use?
A: I commend you for doing research, but you’re overlooking one simple fact. Meyer lemon is not winter hardy where temperatures fall below 25 degrees. That definitely includes north Fulton county. As your readings indicate, the best way to grow one is to put it in a big pot you can bring inside in winter.
Even in the sunniest spot indoors it will lose lots of leaves. It will usually refoliate outdoors in spring when night temperatures rise above 60 degrees. Watch out for tiny webs between leaves: they indicate spider mites and you’ll have a hard time controlling them if they become numerous.
Meyer lemon is a three way cross between a lemon, an orange and a mandarin. It was introduced in 1908 from China by Frank Meyer, an employee of the USDA. He’s the same guy who discovered Meyer zoysiagrass. The Meyer lemon fruit is less acid than a regular lemon and makes a tasty lemonade. The flowers are pleasantly fragrant and the tree bears fruit readily when young.
The lemon is green in color until it matures. After several weeks of 90 degree temperatures in summer it changes to a yellow orange color. Fertilize every six weeks while outdoors with a general purpose houseplant fertilizer. Do not fertilize in winter.