December 26, 2015

Wonderful Meyer Lemon Trees

Meyer Lemons are a wintertime treat for those of us not located in tropical climates. They start arriving in our grocery stores near Thanksgiving and usually are available until about the end of February. I am not a coffee drinker but I drink my weight in hot tea every day! I like my tea with honey and lemon and Meyer lemons especially.

Meyer lemons were a cross between Mandarin Oranges and Lemons so they are sweeter and more juicy than the regular lemons. This year I am going to dry slices so I have them when they are not readily available in the store. Dry them just like the oranges in this blog post. 

I grew this Meyer Lemon from seed
Meyer lemon trees are available in November and December here in Tennessee. Some of the big box stores sell them as little trees in full bloom. If you are tempted, be sure to give it plenty of light, a sunny window - too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves - a grow light or shop lights with one cool and one warm spectrum bulb work well too.  Keep the soil barely moist and a humidifier wouldn't be a bad idea either. I have one that my friend from California gave me. She had really missed picking fresh lemons from trees in her yard so after her move to Tennessee she purchased a Meyer lemon tree at Lowe's. She did have a sunny window but I think she may have over watered and I know her house was too dry for the tree, Also she was distressed that all the blooms dropped so she got no lemons. The blooms dropped because of the stress of moving the plant both to the garden center and again to her house. Once the plant was settled in, it probably would have bloomed again. It got spider mites, probably from the lack of humidity.   She knew I had a greenhouse so I got a free tree! I put it in the cool greenhouse and then outside once the weather warmed up. It grew nicely over the summer and is back in the cool greenhouse for the winter. I intend to watch for blooms and pollinate it with a tiny paint brush when that happens. I understand they bloom in winter.

I have grown quite a few nice little seedlings in my greenhouse over the summer.The one above is one year old. I grew the ones on the right from seed this spring. I am selling them in my EBay Store - free shipping too. These grow pretty fast and are hardy down to 40° of course a sun room with a little added humidity would be good too.

There are pros and cons about seed grown Meyer Lemons. I've read that they are not as hardy as grafted ones but my seed grown trees are doing fine as you can see from the one above. There is always the possibility that the fruit will not be true to variety since the original Meyer lemon is a cross between an orange and lemon.  I will be tickled to have braggin' rights to the fact that I grew a lemon of any kind here in Tennessee! Here is what The Citrus Guy says about Citrus from seed: "Now, to be completely truthful, there is always the possibility that the fruit you will get may or may not be the exact same as the fruit you ate. Bees travel great distances to collect pollen. Most citrus that you get in the store have come from very large groves of the same variety. If the fruit you happen to be eating came from the fringe of the grove and a very busy bee was coming from a different grove, there is a slight chance of cross pollination.  Even thought there is a book out there, circa 1971, that suggests that if you plant a lemon seed you might get a grapefruit, the chances that you get what you want is pretty good. Besides, there are only three possibilities of what the fruit will taste like.....not as good, as good as, or better than.....two out of three ain't bad!"

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