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Dwarf Meyer Lemon Trees – The Little Tree that Could

The most popular indoor-outdoor citrus tree is the dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. We now have two, that Coleman got me for birthday and Christmas presents… favorites! ? 

But at first we wondered if they’d really produce fruit. You know when those wonderful catalogs roll into the mailbox in winter and you’re looking longingly at those dazzling photos of luscious plants? Well, we were drooling over the vivid pages and stopped at the dwarf Meyer lemon tree (pictured here on Amazon). We wanted to get one, but wondered, do those dwarf citrus trees really produce fruit…? Are those pictures of tiny trees loaded with lemons real?

We now know that it’s TRUE! They’re great little producers of the BEST TASTING LEMONS EVER!!

The lemon flowers smell like a mix between Gardenia with a hint of Honeysuckle.
The lemon flowers smell like a mix between Gardenia with a hint of Honeysuckle.

As of this writing, one of our lemon trees has 14 lemons on it. The other one, none right now. It had a hard summer when, after transplanting it to a larger pot, Coleman didn’t realize there were no drain holes in it, so the poor little lemon tree nearly drowned.

Fortunately, it bravely bore to ripeness the two lemons that already on it and well on the way to maturing, and they were delicious!

meyer lemon tree, dwarf lemon t
Our little Meyer’s lemon tree on the left with 14 lemons. The one on the right is recovering from near drowning!

We start our mornings with a wedge of lemon squeezed into a full glass of fresh water. But organic lemons are expensive. Heck… even regular lemons are expensive these day! Back when we were drooling over those beautiful photos of dwarf meyer lemon trees and wondering if any of the photos were real, or close to real, we asked the GardensAll community if they had direct experience with growing Meyer’s lemon trees.

We Asked the GardensAll Community:

“Anyone growing dwarf Meyers lemon trees or other dwarf citrus trees?”

A ready to enjoy Lemon off the Meyers Lemon Tree!
A ready to enjoy Lemon off the Meyers Lemon Tree!

Here’s What They Said:

Wisdom from the Gardens All Facebook community:

Linda:They are indeed real. However when my lemons come in there are a lot ready at one time.

Jason Wilkins' Meyer Lemon Tree
Jason Wilkins’ Meyer Lemon Tree

Jason: Shower & mist them. They take a while to get healthy enough to produce. You need to feed regularly and water often if they are in the sun. They like there leafs misted as well. Once they get going, it doesn’t take too much [effort]. I just water and feed them when they are outside during the summer months. It’s the winter, I guess I give them more care. I get fruit most of the season though.

I have four different types of them. They do better outside, during the summer. I feed mine often and keep them moist. I throw them in the shower, once a month to wash the leaves. Make sure the water is warm and not on full blast with water pressure.

They need a lot of sun.

Tanya: Meyer Lemon I am growing from seed in my greenhouse here on the Oregon Coast. Have other citrus trees as well. Found out best thing is humidity & misting frequently.

Jan's dwarf orange tree
Jan’s 7 year old dwarf orange tree

Jan Michalak Elliot: This is my dwarf orange tree. I bought it almost 7 years ago. It was about 6 inches tall. It has produced oranges once. There was 40 of them. They were bitter and pretty small. That was two summers ago. They didn’t produce last year but it was caught outside in a hailstorm. Hoping to get some blooms this year and some good fruit from it.

Elizabeth advises Jan: You must prune it and feed it. Prune for dwarf fruiting trees. Get to know the difference of fruiting and mere vegetative buds ? Oh and feed.

Louise: Yes, we’ve grown them in big pots for 3 years but we only get 1 lemon a year. We put outside as soon as it gets above freezing.

Alicia: Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree outdoors, and then we have ruby red grapefruit, and navel oranges but they aren’t dwarf. All in sunny Arizona!

Ashleigh: I am! I’m in CT. I have a 3-in-1 dwarf citrus tree. So far, only limes. Last summer was the most fruit it ever put out, around a dozen+ limes. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s only a foot and a half tall and in a 5 gallon pot.

     Jason replies: Nice! I am in Massachusetts. It will produce more as it gets bigger.      Make sure to feed it when it’s producing.

Julie: I got about 13 lemons from my small indoor dwarf Meyer lemon tree this winter, but I find keeping the trees healthy indoors is very challenging. My tree is about 3ft tall, so very small. It was much happier outside over the summer. My orange tree only produced 1 orange last year, but just had about 20 blossoms…so I am hopeful for this year. I do find them to be difficult inside though.

Julie's lemon tree. Lovely!
Julie’s lemon tree. Lovely!

Gardens AllThat’s been our experience in the past too, Julie. The citrus just love the     outdoor… regular rain, fresh air and direct sun.

Ivy: My neighbor is having success with a dwarf Meyer lemon. I’m looking forward to getting one soon too. She got it just this last year, and it was pretty tiny. She got only 3-4 lemons off it. It is growing and looks healthy, so I am sure this year will be better for her.

Christina: Only my second year … We just got a few off each tree so far. But we’ve moved them to a better location this year, so hopefully it will be better.

Julie: This was mine this fall.

Erika: My cousin grows a lemon tree in her house. While it doesn’t produce like the photos posted on here it does make enough she can make pies and all sorts of stuff.

Kirstin: My inlaws grow them in pots. Both the lemon and orange trees get lots of fruit but I find them quite bitter. We are in Southeast Pennsylvania so they bring them in throughout the winter. You would know better than I would if it’s a soil issue. But definitely get lots of fruit.

[See tips for sweetening citrus below].

Linda: They are indeed real. However when my lemons come in there are a lot ready at one time. You might be drinking a lot of water. Love my lemon tree!! It was a gift so I have no idea what kind it is. I keep it in the greenhouse in winter and outside in the summer. I love it dearly. The lemons are wonderful and very big.

Cynthia: Bought a Meyer lemon at Lowe’s last year (NOrth Central PA) and it was beauteous and covered with blossoms and produced like crazy, 6 lemons, then….it….DIED….????

Kristi's Meyer Lemon Tree
Kristi’s Meyer Lemon Tree

Kristi: We have a dwarf lemon and a dwarf lime. During the summer months, we move them outside and bring them back in for the cold months. This year between the two trees we harvested almost 4 dozen fruit. The lemons were larger than my fist. My neighbor thought they were small grapefruit. We’ve found them both to be slightly sweeter than store bought varieties.

Buford: Meyer lemon did great in my passive greenhouse to cold for my banana but the lemon has fruit on it now.

THANK SO MUCH to all the Gardens All Facebook folks who chimed in. Please post your updates. And if you haven’t visited our Facebook community yet, we’d love to see you there too, so come on over!

How to Sweeten Citrus Fruit

On sweetening citrus, we looked into it and it sounds like they need some of this.

  • Hot summers
  • Potash and Epsom salts.

Directions: Sprinkle approximately 6 handfuls of sulphate of potash around the base of each citrus tree. Dissolve 2 tsp. of Epsom salts into 2 1/2 gallons of water. Use this mix to water in the sulphate of potash.

AND… some organic fertilizer, because we have to feed food to our food!

Our take on the dwarf Meyer Lemon? It’s The little tree that could!

Meyer’s Lemon Blossoms

The cover image (same as the one here below) are the flowers on our dwarf Meyer’s Lemon tree… loving the wet spring outdoors.

Meyer’s lemon flowers have a wonderfully sweetly fragrance.

And see the tiny little green fruit on the second photo?

GA Meyer Lemon Flower 1
Lovely and exceptionally fragrant blossoms on the GardensAll Meyer Lemon tree, in spring – May, 2016. We had a dozen or so flowers but only two fruit this year.
GA Meyer Lemon Fruit
Tiny new fruit (see that green oval shaped pod?) on the GardensAll Meyer Lemon tree, in spring – May, 2016.
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
Our Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree, two fruits in first year, July, 2016
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
Our Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree July 2016, with two fruits
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
Our Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree, with three fruits, on September 22, 2016. Not sure if that 3rd fruit was hiding previously, or if it grew in just a couple months.
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree,
Our Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree, with three fruits, on September 22, 2016. We kept it in the pot heeled in mulch all summer.

Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree – Flowers vs. Fruit

So our little dwarf Meyer lemon tree, in its first season with us, had over a dozen of flowers altogether, and now has five lemons, on it, that have come in at very different times. Not sure why some of the blossoms just fell off without turning into lemons, but we’re excited to see this tiny tree fruiting in its first season home with us.

Now that it’s back indoors, we’re being careful to keep it moist and in the sunniest window, as they do need some extra TLC in the dry indoors of a northeastern winter climate. We’re keeping a humidifier going under it, plus weekly showers as Jason recommended.

Meanwhile, one in our audience asked, “Why aren’t my lemons turning yellow?” So we looked into this and it seems there are three possible causes.

Humidifier keeping our young dwarf Meyer’s Lemon Tree moist. It has one yellow lemon on it, one turning yellow, one green and two tiny baby lemons on it in its first season with us. Image by
dwarf meyers lemon tree
Tiny baby lemon growing next to larger one. Image by
Meyer Lemon blossoms –
Baby Meyer Lemons and Blossoms –
Meyer Lemon blossoms –
Dwarf Meyer Lemon Trees –

Meyer Lemon Problems

Why Lemons Don’t Turn Yellow

  1. Not enough food (give regular 18-18-18 plant food)
  2. Not matured yet (it can take up to 9 months to ripen)
  3. Not enough sunlight (this is often the culprit)

Lemon Tree Leaves Curling

If the leaves curl, it’s your tree is likely too dry. The humidifier took care of our leaf-curling. If you’re citrus tree, leaves or fruit are having other problems, here’s a very helpful PDF guide put out by UC Davis.

For more on lemon tree problems, see the PDF Guide linked at page bottom, or in this footnote.1)

Harvesting Dwarf Meyer’s Lemons

And… here’s our latest harvest! I got 7 lemons off on the same morning. To harvest, just give a tiny twist and if they fall off, they’re ready. If they resist, leave them on for another few days.

Notice the humidifier in the lower right corner of our photo. The Meyer lemon trees really like humidity, and ours started producing fruit after we added a humidifier nearby for the dry indoor winter climate.

meyer lemon tree
To harvest meyer lemons, give the fruit a slight twist. It will let go if it’s ripe.

So yes! Meyer’s lemon trees are awesome!

Meyer’s lemon trees can take up 5 years to produce fruit when grown from seed.

Since the dwarf citrus can take so long to grow from seed though, we highly recommend that you buy a couple plants that’s already a few years old so that you can have fresh lemons much sooner. If you buy lemons regularly like we do, to buy a more mature lemon tree will save you money in fruit in the long run.

Once your own trees are bearing fruit, then you may want to start saving and planting seeds. That’s what we’re doing now… starting to save and plant the seeds from our best lemons, and we can be more patient now that we have two producing trees. However, we plan to also buy another couple more mature trees. It’s on my birthday wish list! ?

Our Meyer lemon trees are doing great!
We have two and are ready for more!

Happy Planting!

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