My lemon tree has had a strange winter. It’s shot up by a few feet and is about as tall as I am. And it’s lost a lot of its leaves…
Both very good reasons to give it a bigger pot.
This tree has never given me a lemon and perhaps it never will, but I love it anyway.
I planted it from a seed three years ago when I moved to Providence. In a fit of gardening I went to the grocery store and bought every food I thought I could plant. The only remnants are this tree and my prized ugly rosemary bush, grown from a sprig.
I bought a 16″ pot with a false bottom that’s supposed to be self-watering. Citrus trees need a lot of water, so I’m hoping this helps.
First I had to get the tree out of its old pot. I gently turned it on its side. Some loose soil fell out, but but almost all of it was bound up in the root ball.
Cat for scale.
It took some doing to get the root ball out of the pot. I banged on the sides and bottom and yanked gently on the trunk. The trunk is a good centimeter in diameter and very woody, but this was rougher than I wanted to be with it. I was about to get the shears to cut the pot away when the whole thing popped out all at once.
The roots had started to circle around the bottom – not ideal. I loosened them up a little with my fingers, so hopefully they’ll spread out in their new home.
I made a bed of a few inches of potting soil and set the tree on top of it. At some point in the winter it sprouted this new little stalk from the base of its trunk. It’s the healthiest part of the tree and my failsafe – if the main plant gets worse I’ll lop everything off and hope this little guy makes it.
There are some new leaves higher up, though, so I’m hoping for the best.
I filled the pot up too high with potting soil and worked in some kelp meal. I’ll have to research what lemon trees like to eat, but in the meantime I get the impression that you can’t go wrong with kelp.
I filled the pot even more too high with buckwheat hulls to keep the moisture in. My dad has forever put bits and bobs in his potted plants, so I do too. They’re especially helpful for holding the hulls in place and dispersing the watering can’s stream more evenly.
The bits and bobs featured here are oyster and scallop shells, a rusted railroad tie, and some rocks from Iceland.
I’ve put the tree in a dappled shade part of the driveway. I’ll move it to full sun eventually, but this is already a big change from its window inside, and I don’t want it getting scorched.
Hopefully it starts to recover those lost leaves.
Maybe someday I’ll even get a lemon.
2 thoughts on “Lemon Hope”
A lemon tree raised form a seed can take up to 15 years to bear fruit. And by then, it probably will be 3 to 5 times your height and far, far to large to fit into a pot that one can move easily…. 😐
You can trim and train the tree now, while it is still young, and keep it essentially in a bonzai form so it can long term fit into a smaller pot (but it may never give fruit), or if you really want fruit, then consider buying a dwarf lemon tree as the way to go — they can be grow in pots to give fruit.
Hope this helps.
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Ideally my blog will take off so I can retire early to Barbados and plant it in the ground.
Barring that I’m more interested in seeing what this tree becomes than getting any actual fruit. I may very well have to prune it if it gets too tall to fit back inside this fall!